The Filipino Voter Empowerment Project (FVEP), as part of its efforts to increase Census 2020 participation in the Filipino American community, has released a series of short videos produced as a send-up of teleseryes (the popular Filipino soap opera format, similar to telenovelas).
The videos feature well known Filipino American actors including Dante Basco (Hook, Debut), Princess Punzalan (Yellow Rose), Carlin James (American Crime Story), Francisco “Pepe” San Martin (Jane the Virgin), and Sean Michael Afable (Akeelah and the Bee) in typical teleserye storylines that have been changed to focus on the 2020 Census.
The Filipino American population is one of the most undercounted within the state, as well as nationally. With over 1.6 million Filipino Americans in California, we are home to roughly half of the nation’s Filipino American community, and in fact, Filipinos are the largest Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) group in the state. Even so, there are enormous barriers to getting an accurate count of the community. Because so many Filipino Americans have Spanish surnames (a remnant of the Spanish colonization of the Philippine Islands), many Filipino Americans are identified as “Latino” in voter or consumer data.
The 2020 Census is a once in a decade opportunity to get a full accounting of the Filipino American population through self-identification, and these new videos are only one part of FVEP’s multi-faceted approach to increasing the community’s participation in the Census.
FVEP has also been in the midst of a year-long canvassing/phone banking operation, as well as incorporating digital strategies to target Filipino Americans where they are.