The executive director of a long-time non-profit corporation in Northern California became the first Filipina to be recognized by the San Francisco Immigrant Rights Commission.
Carla Laurel was honored with the Emerging Leader Award for her work as part of the West Bay Pilipino Multi-Service Center, which has been serving the Filipino community in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood since 1968.
“For us, the organization, this means a lot,” Laurel said.
“And for the families, for them to know they have the support when they have some of their family members left behind in the Philippines, through all the struggles they are going through growing up in the South of Market that they have a community who support them.”
For the past 22 years, the San Francisco commission has been helping to protect and improve the quality of life for all immigrants that come to the city.
Laurel also recognized one of her immigrant staff members, Janice Madriaga who came to West Bay as a young girl and is now giving back to her community as a recent San Francisco State University graduate without student loans.
“I’m humbled. I’m proud,” Laurel said
“But it’s also a moment of recognizing that even though we’re the largest immigrant community in San Francisco, we have a 100-year history in San Francisco and this is the first time, there’s a feeling too of we have to make sure people know we are here, that we are seen and that we matter.”
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San Francisco immigrant Rights Commission, West Bay Pilipino Multi-Service Center, Balitang America, US immigrants