Carlos Bulosan was a migrant worker, labor activist and writer. His America is in the Heart continues to be an important piece of activist-scholarship, while a fictionalized account, America is in the Heart is an important chronicle of the real-life the struggles of the earliest cohorts of low-wage Filipino workers. Bulosan’s writing in and beyond America is the Heart, moreover, served to galvanize those workers, as well as the Filipino community more broadly, to organize themselves to fight against exploitation.
The Bulosan Center for Filipinos Studies aims to continue Bulosan’s legacy by uplifting the voices of the most marginalized in the Filipino community in the United States and the diaspora through community-engaged research and broadly disseminating knowledge about Filipinos for the purpose of advancing their rights and welfare. In short, the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies, once established, would support research, education and advocacy.
This Initiative would establish the first-ever University of California-linked Center for Filipino Studies. Indeed, it would the first-ever university-linked center devoted to the study of Filipinos in the U.S. and the diaspora in the nation. Though Filipinos have one of the longest histories of settlement in the state of California and continues to be one of its largest Asian ethnic groups, we fail to be adequately represented as students and faculty in the University of California, one of the most prestigious public research university systems in the entire country, if not the world. Knowledge production and education on the Filipino diasporic experience, particularly from a community-engaged perspective, while expanding is still insufficient for addressing our needs. For instance, though there are statistics that indicate that among undocumented Asian immigrants, Filipinos constitute the largest share of the population, we have little research on their experiences. Similarly, though news reports and campaigns by Filipino organizations indicate that labor trafficking is an issue plaguing our community, we still do not know much about the mechanisms that lead to their trafficking. If knowledge is power then the Filipino community is severely disempowered. The Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies Initiative aims to change that.