Kilusan Pilipino’s 6th Annual ‘Isang P.U.S.O’: Moving to support the Filipino community

Kilusan Pilipino’s 6th Annual ‘Isang P.U.S.O’: Moving to support the Filipino community

This year’s benefit goes to helping Little Manila of Stockton

University of the Pacific-Stockton’s cultural club Kilusan Pilipino will be hosting their annual benefit concert, “Isang P.U.S.O.,” this Saturday, January 20, at the DeRosa University Center Ballroom.

An ongoing benefit event for the last six years, Kilusan Pilipino translates to “Filipino Movement” in English, while “isang puso” means “one heart.”  P.U.S.O. also stands for “Pilipinos United to Serve Others.”

True to its mission to support the Filipino community, its heritage and culture, Kilusan Pilipino is proud to announce that proceeds from this year’s benefit concert will go to Little Manila of Stockton.

“This is Little Manila’s fourth year partnering with Kilusan Pilipino for this particular benefit concert event and we are humbled by the student’s support for our work especially for our youth,” said Brian Batugo, who is a teacher and arts director with the Little Manila Foundation.

Supporting Little Manila and its programs

Unknown to some, Little Manila was home to the largest population of Filipinos in the world outside of the Philippines from the 1920’s to the 1960’s.  Like many other communities of color in America, decision makers built a freeway through it in the late 1960’s.

In 1999, local officials destroyed one of the last remaining blocks of Little Manila due to a sprawling development in Stockton — only to build a McDonald’s and a gas station.  In spite of the city’s designation of the Little Manila Historic Site, city leaders secretly worked with a developer to destroy what remained of the LIttle Manila neighborhood. Homeowners and businesses were threatened with eminent domain. Affordable housing was illegally destroyed. Prior to Detroit, Stockton was the largest municipality to go bankrupt in America. The Little Manila Foundation was founded in response to social injustice. Today, Little Manila still stands as a symbol of municipal neglect, disenfranchisement, injustice, inequity and hope.

Among the programs Little Manila has include arts and culture, which is creating a revival in Filipino folk and indigenous dance and music in San Joaquin County through the Little Manila Dance Collective (LMDC) and Kulintang Academy.  These two groups have become an educational and cultural resource to students and community members interested in cultural dance, music and attire of the Philippines.  In fact, they are supported by cultural artists and resources in the Bay Area including Parangal Dance Company and the American Center of Philippine Arts.

LMDC also has been instrumental in connecting San Joaquin County’s elementary, high school, and university students to proper practices in traditional Philippine music, attire, and dance. It offers dance programs between March and June culminating in a showcase that brings together our local community.

Another program that Little Manila has built is the Ethnic Studies Program.  Established at Edison High School by Little Manila co-founder Dillon Delvo and former Little Manila After School Program (LMASP) teacher Alma Riego, LMASP extends Little Manila’s mission to provide education to the community. Now in its eighth year, the program operates at Edison High School and has served students from Edison, SECA, St. Mary’s, Stockton Collegiate, and Langston Hughes Academy. The program has helped numerous students attend prestigious universities, appreciate their history, and develop ways to help the communities they love so dearly.

Expanding on the success of LMASP, they also began “Us History,” an ethnic studies after school program teaching Mexican American and African American history to high school students in Stockton.

“We believe that the inclusion of multi-ethnic histories is essential to the empowerment of our young people,” said Batugo then added, “These facts provide the context for who we are as a people in our modern day society. Laying the foundation, by understanding the experiences of our ancestors, helps us find our future and create a better tomorrow.”

“Isang P.U.S.O.” will take place on Saturday, January 20, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. (doors opend at 6:30 p.m.) at DeRosa University Center Ballroom at 901 President’s Dr., Stockton, CA 95211.  Tickets are at $7 (pre-sale) or $5 (with student ID), $10 (at the door) or $8 (with student ID).  They accept cash or Venmo at @Kdelacr3.

To know more about Little Manila Foundation in Stockton, visit their website at www. littlemanila.org.

*Special thanks to Brian Batugo of Little Manila and Andrea Cliscagne of Kilusan Pilipino.

*Photos on cover by Kevin John Hernando

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