“NEVER say ‘never,’” says Filipino-American Alex De Ocampo.
The 33-year-old lifelong Democrat and Historic Filipinotown resident De Ocampo ran an unsuccessful city council campaign to become Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s heir in Council District 13.
De Ocampo missed the run-off placing fourth against a tough field of competitors. Garcetti’s former chief of staff, Mitch O’Farrell won the city council seat.
But despite his defeat, De Ocampo had this to say: “It was such an amazing experience. We were close but lost at the end. I learned so much about the community and myself. It opened my eyes to the different ethnic communities and how important it is to organize and build with them.”
De Ocampo says he may have lost the political battle but not the war. Though his political aspirations have been set aside, he said, he’ll “continue to be, an unrelenting fighter for opportunity, fairness and equality for all Angelenos.”
De Ocampo now goes back as Managing Director of the Saban Family Foundation where he manages a $200 million endowment that focuses on large scale non-profit projects in Los Angeles. He’s been with the Saban Foundation for the past 11 years and is looking forward to continuing his work.
“The Sabans are so passionate in supporting the welfare of women and children and all those who don’t have access to healthcare,” he said.
In March, Dr. Cheryl and Haim Saban, along with philanthropist Marion Anderson, were honored by the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for jointly funding the $10 million construction of an important pedestrian bridge over Sunset Boulevard in front of the hospital.
This is the kind of work De Ocampo helps the Sabans do.
“The completion of this bridge is an exciting milestone for my family,” said Dr. Saban in a statement. “This bridge literally unites the functionality of children’s hospital – research, clinical care and teaching.”
“Symbolically, the bridge bears witness to the impact of this collaboration and the promise of a better tomorrow for our children,” Dr. Saban added.
From humble beginnings to empowerment
De Ocampo has come a long way from his humble beginnings, growing up mostly in a single-parent household in Historic Filipinotown after his father passed away due to cancer.
He received a scholarship to attend California State University, Northridge, where he worked as an apprentice for an entertainment company and served as President of the California College and Young Democrats.
Always active in the community, he’s a former member of the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council and sat on the boards of the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment and Grand Performances.
In 2012, De Ocampo was one of the ten Filipino American Youth Leadership Program awardees hand chosen by Ambassador Jose Cuisia last summer to visit and learn about how they could contribute to the Philippines.
Although De Ocampo lost his bid for a city council seat, he hasn’t lost hope in his mission.
He said he feels more empowered now more than ever before and has a greater understanding of the communities needs, and how he can help.
“Now I’m determined to helping lift up the build all of the communities around us. For Filipinos, we need to register to vote and vote when we can. It’s important for us to have a voice in the community,” he said.
(LA Weekend June 1-4, 2013 Sec. A pg.10)