Skokie People Speak: The Village's Filipino-Americans
By Alfred S. Nathan
This article is about the 2800 FILIPINO-AMERICANS IN SKOKIE who are not only active in Skokie but also reach out to other Filipinos and Filipino Americans throughout the United States and the Philippines.
Angeles R. Carandang, better known in the community by her nick name, Jelly, was appointed to the Skokie Human Relations Commission by Mayor George VanDusen in 1999 and to the Skokie Plan Commission in 2005. She is an active member of the Skokie Festival of Cultures, a volunteer writer for the Skokie Net at the Skokie Public Library, and the elected Treasurer of the Skokie Caucus Party.
In addition to her involvement in the Village, she was elected Chairperson of the Illinois Chapter of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NFFAA), a nationwide advocacy group which provides a unified voice for Filipinos and Filipino Americans across the United States. Her planned activities in Skokie include educating the public about the importance of Census 2010 and the job opportunities it offers; promoting awareness of domestic abuse and violence to women, children, and the elderly; encouraging volunteers for programs and projects which benefit the Asian-American communities including the New American Initiative, the H1N1 vaccination, and education/registration for voters.
Her involvement is not limited to just Village activities: she serves her church, volunteering during holiday festivities and other religious functions; helps organizations that feed the homeless and entertain nursing home residents during the holiday season. She coordinates a biennial humanitarian mission to the Philippines providing free medical and dental services to the needy and medicines, supplies, and equipment to remote areas of the Philippines. Recently she initiated a fund raising drive for the victims of the recent flood from the typhoon that devastated a major part of the Philippines. Proceeds were divided equally between the Red Cross and a private foundation. She also shared the good news that a resolution was passed in the Senate and Congress designating October as Filipino American History Month. She plans to present a cultural program every October. Jelly has always believed in leading by example.
Looking back from the time she started her community involvement in 1998, she can probably say that the Filipino American community has come a long way.
Community leader Jerry Clarito was elected to the Board of Directors of the Skokie Park District in 2005. Prior to that he served for six years as a Commissioner of the Skokie Human Relations Commission appointed by the Mayor in 1999. Support for his Park Board election came from every culture, race, and religion. His many, volunteer accomplishments include the following: he organized a social service and advocacy center for the Filipino veterans of World War II and Seniors; produced community forums on hate crimes, promoted intergenerational relationships and cultural identity appreciation; organized and implemented the National Endowment For Humanities Project “Who Are We In America”. He was a strong advocate for the World War II Filipino Veterans Equity Bill which was passed by Congress this year, recognizing and appreciating Filipinos for their service in the Armed Forces of the United States. He has conducted several university workshops for Filipino American students.
His wife, Flor, is very active in the Skokie Festival of Cultures. They moved to Skokie with their two young children in 1997. Prior to his current position as Systems & Finance Supervisor at Lutheran General Hospital day care center, he worked for many years in international banking management positions and as a business analyst. Following his college Bachelor’s Degree in business economics, he has taken several courses in specialized computer training, MBA courses, and a graduate certificate in health care management from North Park University. He attended the leadership Academy for Asian Pacific American elected officials in Washington DC and leadership training at the leadership center for Asian Pacific Americans in Chicago. He is a graduate of the Skokie Citizens Police Academy.
Other Filipino leaders on Skokie Boards and Commissions include Paul Luke, Plan Commission; Francis Mon, Traffic Commission; Cesar Borja, Human Relations Commission; Mariano Santos, member, and Ferdinand Soco, Chairman, Beautification Commission. Sylvia Luke is Deputy Clerk of te Village of. Skokie. Nora Turcuato is a volunteer who teaches children cultural dances for multi-cultural performances. Vic Ricolcol of Adeline’s Ctering donates food for volunteers and services at various community events.
The Nicolasin family participate in the Parade of Flags at the annual Festival of Cultures and the July 4th parade. The Filipino community is a very important part of Skokie, with many volunteer members of government, service, community, and religious organizations.
You can contact Al Nathan at alfrednathan@sbcglobalnet. Your comments are welcome.