SAN FRANCISCO, California— The San Francisco Immigrant Commission, along with the Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs, held its annual immigrant leadership awards this month, honoring a Fil-Am scientist and rapper for youth leadership.
The event helped kick off immigrant heritage month this June.
Ruby Ibarra, a Fil-Am rapper and biotech scientist whose company worked on COVID-19 tests kits and vaccines, was given the Youth Leadership award.
Born and raised in Tacloban City, Philippines, Ibarra's music unapologetically sheds light on the pressing issues facing the immigrant community while also celebrating Pinoy culture.
“When I think of the word ‘immigrant’ I think of the people who undeniably built this country but I also recognize that a lot of work needs to be done from continuing to dismantle systemic racism to address the growing violence and attacks on the Asian American community to protecting children who continue to be separated from their families because of certain systems in place,” said Ibarra.
As she continues to be a voice for the marginalized through her words and music, Ibarra hopes immigrant communities will be more united and empowered.
“Progress is not made through barriers or walls. Progress is done by uplifting each other and ensuring that people are able to fulfill their potential. This is for the immigrants in our community. This is for the dreamers. This is for us. No one is illegal. We belong here and we’ve been here. Thank you very much,” said Ibarra.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed and US Senator Alex Padilla thanked all immigrants for their sacrifices and contributions during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Immigrants were on the frontlines of this pandemic serving as essential workers in health care, food, service, and as teachers and educators risking their lives to keep our city running throughout this past year. But they are also more importantly on the frontlines of our recovery,” said Breed.
Padilla said, "from supporting workers and families throughout the pandemic to stopping Asian hate, these individuals and organizations have come together to serve, educate, and strengthen our community.”
The Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs is celebrating immigrant heritage month by also conducting bystander intervention training to stop Asian hate and helping eligible immigrants become naturalized citizens.
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