UniPro Summit issues challenge for FilAms to recognize other communities

The 2014 Summit featured a small group workshop by Andre Dimapilis. UniPro Photo

The 2014 Summit featured a small group workshop by theatre teaching artist Andre Dimapilis. UniPro Photo

UniPro Summit 2015, a conference hosted by the organization Pilipino American Unity for Progress (UniPro), will return to New York City on June 6 with the theme “Recognize.”

This year, the Summit will challenge young Filipino Americans to recognize other communities by addressing the issues they all face as underrepresented communities in the United States.

The Summit has centered previously around issues and current events specific to the Filipino American community, having tackled a variety of topics including Filipinos in business, migration fraud, and relief for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. This year, for the first time in UniPro Summit history, other underrepresented communities and communities of color are invited to join the discussion. Speakers and delegates alike will address questions such as: What issues do Filipino Americans face that other communities can relate to? How do their experiences differ? How can these communities work together to resolve these issues?

Delegates will be encouraged to use their strengths, skills, and networks to create social impact in solidarity with other communities. The inspiration for “Recognize” stems from the #BlackLivesMatter movement, when members of UniPro wondered how they could best contribute to the movement as Filipino Americans.

“We can accomplish only so much as a community if we continue talking to the same people about the same issues year after year,” states UniPro NY’s President Iris Zalun. “As an organization, we recognize the need to discuss the broader issue of racism, which many Filipino Americans may unknowingly face every day. Engaging in dialogue with others is crucial to the progress of our own community, and we’re looking forward to doing so at ‘Recognize,’ while keeping the Filipino American perspective in mind.”

Filipino American speakers who will share their experiences at this year’s Summit include Kalaya’an Mendoza, Field Director for Amnesty International USA; Alexandra Thomas, Co-President of Filipino American National Historical Society-Metro NY (FANHS); and Edward Carrasco, Deputy Inspector for the NYPD.

Speakers representing other communities include Fahd Ahmed, Acting Executive Director for DRUM – South Asian Organizing Center; Zeba Blay, Host of the podcast Two Brown Girls; Geoffery Mullings, Editor-in-Chief of The Blinker; and Meejin Richart of the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV).

The Closing Keynote Speaker will be Darnell Moore, Senior Editor of MicNews, Co-Managing Editor of The Feminist Wire, and a prominent leader in the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

In years prior, delegates have engaged with such trailblazers as Gawad Kalinga founder Tony Meloto; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and immigration activist Jose Antonio Vargas; motivational speaker Jessica Cox; Co-Founder and CEO of Advancement for Rural Kids (ARK) Ayesha Vera-Yu; filmmaker and actress Georgina Tolentino; and Retired Major General of the U.S. Army Antonio Taguba.

Registration is now open for the Summit, which will take place on Saturday, June 6, 2015 at Hotel Penn in New York City. The Summit is UniPro’s largest annual event, attracting 200-300 Filipino American young professionals and students from across the country who come together for a full day of dialogue, professional and leadership development, and networking. Regular admission to the conference is $30 for students and $40 for general attendees.

This year, the Summit is co-chaired by Patti Dayleg and Dominique De Leon.

Among the speakers are NYPD’s Edward Carrasco and Kalaya’an Mendoza of Amnesty International.

Among the speakers are NYPD’s Edward Carrasco and Kalaya’an Mendoza of Amnesty International.

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