Filipina leaders named to U.S. President’s advisory commission to combat racism

Filipina leaders combat racism
Filipino-Americans Amy Agbayani, Teresita Batayola, and Luisa Blue. Photos from U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website.

Three Filipina leaders are set to be officially appointed to be members of United States President Joe Biden’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) to combat anti-Asian hate and violence in the United States.

The three Americans of Filipino descent, Dr. Amy Agbayani, Teresita Batayola, and Luisa Blue are among the 23 civic leaders tapped as commissioners by the U.S. government.

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The Commission will work with the President “on ways the public, private, and non-profit sectors can work together to advance equity and opportunity” for every AANHPI community across the country.

The group’s duties also include advising the President on policies to address anti-Asian xenophobia and violence, ways to build capacity in AANHPI communities through federal grantmaking and policies to address the intersectional barriers that AANHPI women, LGBTQ+ people, and people with disabilities face, according to the White House statement on December 20, 2021.

Amy Agbayani

Dr. Amefil “Amy” Agbayani is an Emeritus Assistant Vice Chancellor for student diversity and equity at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

Agbayani was born in the Philippines and received her education from the University of the Philippines, East West Center, and the University of Hawai’i.

She is a former chair of the Hawai’i Civil Rights Commission, conducts research on AANHPI in higher education, member of the Patsy T.Mink PAC and The Legal Clinic for immigrant justice Hawai’i.

Teresita Batayola

Teresita Batayola is the President and Chief Executive Officer of International Community Health Services, Washington state’s largest Asian and Pacific Islander non-profit health center providing comprehensive health care to all those who need affordable care, especially immigrants and refugees.

Batayola is an advocate for health care access, equity, and addressing social determinants of health. ICHS has received awards for its high quality of care and Batayola has been recognized in the Puget Sound Business Journal’s Award for Outstanding Business & Philanthropic Contributions, Woman of Courage Undaunted from the University of Washington Women’s Center, and the Filipino Women’s Network’s Most Influential Filipino Woman in the World.

Luisa Blue

Luisa Blue retired from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in August 2020 after serving as an Executive Vice President for four years, one of the highest-ranking AAPI officials in the labor movement.

During her term was responsible for the SEIU Asian Pacific Islanders Civic Engagement and Leadership program, a member of the Racial Justice Task Force, chair of the Environmental and Climate Justice Committee, and chair of the Ethical Culture Committee. She served on the SEIU Executive Board prior to her election as Executive Vice President.

Luisa continues to be active in the community and serves on the Asian Health Services Community Board, a Trustee on Alameda County Health Systems Board of Trustees, and Vice President of the AAPI Victory Alliance Board. Luisa is the proud grandmother of seven grandchildren.

Earlier this year, Filipinas Gloria Steele, Camille Calimlim Touton, and Veronica Valdez were named to top U.S. government posts as an affirmation of the government’s track towards diversity in America’s leadership.

Filipino-American Jason Tengco was also named the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s White House Liaison.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to the three Filipina leaders who will be appointed to United States President Joe Biden’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) to combat anti-Asian hate and violence in the United States.

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Margo is a voracious reader - some might even say she reads too much for her own good. She majored in BS Psychology and hopes to become a forensic psychologist one day. She’s also an aspiring writer, mental health advocate, and a staunch believer of equality.