Filipino supporters pose for a group photo with Gov. GHavin Newsom during the pre-election rally held on Sept. 12 at the Riderback Ranch in Historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles.
By Val G. Abelgas
LOS ANGELES — Filipino elected officials and groups hailed the defeat of the recall effort against California Gov. Gavin Newsom, which they said ensures that Californians will continue to benefit from the numerous social and economic programs of the governor.
Artesia Mayor Pro Tem Melissa Ramoso, former chair of the California Democratic Party Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Caucus, said the fight in this recall was “to ensure our elders, our loved ones and our youth live in a California that our parents dreamed of with affordable healthcare, housing, an inclusive economy and a science-based society accessible to all for our many generations to come.”
“I truly believe it was the hard work of many Democrats across the state and most especially Filipino Americans who were able to defeat the recall, Ramoso said. She added that the Filipino American community was the first AAPI group to organize and rally behind Newsom following the appointment of Attorney General Rob Bonta.
“Governor Newsom has recognized the importance of our community, especially when he worked closely with our political matriarch, Tita Alice Bulos from the Bay Area,” Ramoso added.
Jessica Caloza, Los Angeles public works commissioner and immediate past president of the Pilipino American Los Angeles Democrats (PALAD), said with the Newsom victory, the voters sent a clear message on Election Day.
Caloza, who emceed the Filipino community rally against recall at the Historic Filipinotown on Sept. 12, said that message was: “We resoundingly reject the Republican recall and stand with Governor Newsom. He has provided critical lifelines to people and communities who need it most through stimulus checks, billions in grants for small businesses, and rent coverage for low-income families like those who live in Historic Filipinotown.”
“PALAD stands ready to support the Governor’s bold agenda especially when it comes to protecting vulnerable communities impacted by COVID-19 like our Filipino healthcare and homecare workers. He has our back and we have his,” Caloza added.
Bianca Nepales-Gervacio, current president of PALAD, said, “Our community showed up at the ballot and made our voice clear.”
“We stand by Governor Gavin Newsom, who has proven himself to be a staunch ally of the Filipino and Asian American communities during a time of crisis as we start to recover from the deadly impacts of COVID-19 and combat the rise of anti-Asian violence,” Gervacio added.
“For weeks, the Pilipino American Los Angeles Democrats joined phone banks, rallied in the community by hosting the Governor in Historic Filipinotown, and raised awareness around how so much was at stake with this election. We are proud to have won this battle so that Governor Newsom can remain in office to continue the work of building an inclusive California for all,” Gervacio said.
The Filipino Democratic Caucus of the California Democratic Party, through its chairman Nathaniel Epstein, also welcomed the defeat of the recall efforts against the governor.
“The valiant victory across the state is a testament to Governor Newsom’s leadership and the Filipino Americans’ will to continue a Democratic California,” the Fil-Am caucus said in a statement.
The statement continued:
“In March 2021, when the first notions of a recall campaign would land on the ballot, a statewide coalition of Filipino Americans started meeting to strategize on how to help support Governor Newsom,” the statement said.
“It was from that day moving forward that Filipino Americans Against the Recall was born. It has been nearly six months since that first meeting in which we came together on a united front to help defeat the Republican recall of Governor Newsom.
“We continued the fight with many of our ally organizations with the realization that our collective effort was needed. In that time, we organized, created a social media campaign, phone-banked, held online rallies, even with special guests such as Attorney General Rob Bonta and Governor Newsom himself at a rally in Historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles. We then continued the fight until election night. All the hard work was for this moment, and we defeated the Recall together.
“It was truly this collaborative effort that made a difference in which Filipinos and the AAPI vote helped maintain the margin of victory and made a difference against the continuation of the Trump Republican agenda. Once again, we proved that California is truly a glorious Blue State.”
Filipino Democrats organized a rally just two days before election day on Sept. 12 at the Riderback Ranch on Beverly Blvd. in Los Angeles. Among the organizers who joined Newsom on stage were Caloza, Epstein, and community leader and former PALAD president Jocelyn Geaga-Rosenthal.
“This is a profoundly significant moment in California’s history that will have repercussions all across the United States unless we turn out and vote no on this recall,” Newsom told the Filipinos.
“I don’t want to be hyperbolic…but the forces of hate are behind this recall. Anti-Asian hate is on the pro recall website and they haven’t taken it down,” Newsom later told Filipino newsmen. “We’ve got to send a message that [hate] has no place in California or anywhere. It’s a point of deep pride. There’s no other state in America with more Asians than the state of California, not just in terms of raw numbers, but also population. I’m proud of that.”