Highway in Daly City closer to being named after Pinay trailblazer

A PORTION of State Route 35 in Daly City, California may soon be named after a Bay Area Filipina trailblazer.

The state Assembly Transportation Committee on Monday, May 4 approved ACR 165, a resolution by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) that designates the Daly City portion of the highway as the Alice Peña Bulos Memorial Highway.

“Tita” Alice Bulos

“In recognition of Alice Peña Bulos’ four decades of dedicated public service to residents of the City of Daly City and throughout the County of San Mateo and across the world, it is fitting to designate a portion of State Route 35 in her honor,” a part of the resolution reads.

Born on March 31, 1930 in the Nueva Ecija, Philippines, Bulos received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social and behavioral science from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, where she later served as professor and chair of the Department of Sociology. In 1972, she and her family moved to San Francisco and later to Sacramento.

“Every May, we celebrate Asian Pacific Heritage Month to commemorate the important contributions Asian and Pacific Islander Americans have provided our country,” said Ting in a statement. “With this in mind, it is my honor to recognize Alice Peña Bulos, who is considered the Godmother of Filipino American politics and empowerment. Her career in community organizing epitomizes leadership not just in the Filipino community, but also throughout the state of California. I am proud to represent the district where Bulos’ activism was rooted and her legacy lives on.”

Over the span of four decades, Bulos — known by many as “Tita Alice” — dedicated herself to empowering generations of Filipino Americans to amplify their voices through civic participation. Her influence includes forming the Filipino American Grassroots Movement, and co-founding the state Filipino American Democratic Caucus and the Fil-Am Democratic Club of San Mateo County. She also served on the National Filipino Women’s Network and the National Asian Pacific Democratic Council.

She became the first Fil-Am appointed by a sitting U.S. president to a federal council when then President Bill Clinton picked her to be part of the National Council on Aging in 1993. Two years later, Clinton called upon Bulos to serve as a delegate for the White House Conference on Aging.

Bulos spent many years as a San Mateo resident, before she died of heart failure on October 21, 2016 at the age of 86.

“Throughout her life, ‘Tita Alice’ was committed to opening doors for young Fil-Ams who wanted to enter public service and politics but did not see themselves represented in those places of power. While she is no longer with us, her memory lives on in her family and the numerous friends, supporters, and pupils she inspired over her decades of service,” said the Filipino American Democratic Club of San Mateo County, whose members include Daly City and South San Francisco Council members, as well as other prominent San Mateo County Filipino American leaders.

ACR 165, which was introduced in the Assembly in February, has a few more stops in the legislative process, Ting’s office said. If the resolution is signed into law, supporters may raise money for the cost of signage. Non-state funds are required for the creation of all memorial highway signs.

In addition to the highway proposal, last year the Daly City Council approved the Serra station townhouse project community room to be named in honor of Bulos.

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