Fil-Ams Commemorate Decade of Organizing Against Domestic Violence

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SAN FRANCISCO -- In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October, San Francisco newspaper Philippine News reports on the events that led a group of Filipino Americans to create their own organization to address domestic violence in their community.

In October 2002, a team of Filipino American professionals realized that the individuals who urgently need the resources are the least likely to know about it.

The eye-opener was the killing of Claire Joyce Tempongko, a Filipina immigrant, who was tortured and stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend in front of her two young children in October 2000. But while many attended the 2002 rally for justice led by Claire Joyce's mother Clara Tempongko in San Francisco, only a handful were Filipino Americans.

The jarring reality spurred journalist Cherie Querol Moreno, marketing manager Bettina Santos Yap, media director Nerissa Fernandez, community advocate Teresa Guingona Ferrer, public safety dispatcher Yumi Querubin and lawyer Jojo Liangco to shift the equation.

Then in hiatus from Philippine News, Querol Moreno in 2002 had joined CORA, a private domestic violence agency. She formed its Filipino American volunteer team five months later in 2003 and staged their inaugural presentation in 2005 at the Philippine consulate in San Francisco.

By 2009, the Kumares and Kumpares, as the volunteer community educators called themselves, had quadrupled as more FilAms of diverse backgrounds joined in. They adopted a new name: ALLICE, Alliance for Community Empowerment, in honor of their seniormost member Alice Bulos, a proponent of "educational empowerment."

The Alliance for Community Empowerment celebrated its first decade of service this month with a tribute to the violence survivors who have given testimony at and allies who have sponsored its events.