A message from Kapisanan's Executive Director:
On Thursday, July 23, 2015, Kapisanan was featured in an article in the Metro News. We are thrilled that an article in a paper that reaches thousands of Toronto readers is able to bring visibility to the work that our organization is doing.
However, this article has also elicited negative responses from our community, and these feelings and opinions are justified and need to be brought to light.
I was initially excited by the coverage, because a small organization like ours often goes unnoticed. In my excitement, however, I overlooked misquotes that have been misconstrued to fulfill a journalist’s angle.
In my conversation with Metro, I spoke from a very personal and vulnerable place in which Filipinos working as caregivers and nurses were not relatable to my own interests as a teenager. My mother worked as a caregiver for many years; I chose a different path and I had the privilege to do so because of the work my mother did. I’m troubled and upset that my experience has been used to describe the Filipino community as a whole, which is unfair and insulting.
The headline in particular (“Filipino centre helps youth reach higher”) is incredibly condescending to careers that are complex, important and so connected to the Filipino-Canadian community. To imply that being a nurse or a caregiver is less than other career options is disrespectful and ignorant.
My words were twisted and taken out of context, and being a representative of our community, I need to correct this, as that implication above is not representative of Kapisanan, an organization that is open to everyone's diverse interests and perspectives.
Through our programming, including Clutch and Navigation, youth are not told to “reach higher”, but rather, are encouraged to explore the possibilities that our community has to offer and open new doors that may not be immediately visible. And ultimately, it boils down to inspiring youth to feel empowered to take their lives in their own hands with confidence and become leaders in their own right.
I am disappointed that this article is overshadowed by a divisive headline and angle that dismisses members of the Filipino-Canadian community that are truly champions. It also distracts from the meaningful work that the youth at our centre are doing. Moving forward, I hope that the broader community at large recognizes the value of nurses and nannies and that our own community members will continue to support each other in all and anything we aspire to be.