Temple and Beverly Blvd. is a cross street that fully represents of Historic Filipinotown’s ambiance: traffic that congeals into puddings of irritability, food aroma that alone can elevate your cholesterol level and people filling streets and sidewalks, as they set out each day to their daily grind — they are simple and happy with a healthy capacity for astonishment.
Last Saturday, August 8, the sun was blasting down ferociously on the pavement in the hottest day of the month, brimming with heat. Historic Filipinotown was melting, heaving and breathing like a tired beast.
It was the day the Filipino American Service Group, Inc (FASGI)’s Park View house opened in a glorious celebration of Community Day. In an unbridled gaiety of sights, sounds and scenes, it was a fun-filled gift giving of (oneself) in singing, dancing and games for the young and the not so young. The galore of nourishment was provided by the Kalayaan Incorporated headed by President Zeny Sabocor, as they were equipped to feed an army of famished guests.
The timeless culture celebration’s goal was to bind together the expertise and service of all participating organizations (in the spirit of Bayanihan) to serve the Historic Filipino Community and beyond. In tandem, Bernie and Rey Ganon choreographed the musical extravaganza as participants simply threw themselves in dance numbers like unrestricted magical creatures whirling in the wind in an almost magical fun even their hearts danced.
It was a respite from the noisy confusion and pressure of today’s world, against the great canvas of economics and politics and far-reaching world affairs, make us long for warmth, tenderness, understanding and joyful camaraderie. The duo also revived the youth cultural club, involving youth in cultural activities — from folk dancing, to disco and rock that with magnet scholars and young athletes. It will be known as FASGI Youth Cultural Club.
FASGI was conceived in 1981 as a shelter where people, who have no work and place to stay can stay for a definite period of time until they can find a place to settle and work that can sustain them. Today, it is a haven, even for the misbegotten, with 100 percent occupancy.
As a community-based 501 (c)(3) non-profit, the organization’s mission is to improve the quality of lives for residents of Historic Filipinotown and the Greater Los Angeles community through housing, health education, research and advocacy. With five public programs – Transitional Housing at the Park View House, Rider Relief Transportation Program, Naturalization Assistance, FILVOTE and Covered California — FASGI focuses on the importance of community service to empower the communities it serves. The organization features a board of professionals and community advocates, led by board chair Cris B. Liban.
FASGI’s Executive Director, Ms. Yey Coronel is a powerful personage you can revile or praise; at first glance, one can not help but admire and respect her for her ideology, social radiance and gentle modesty. She seemed concerned only to make everyone around her feel at ease; from a lady whose power, influence real or imagined, it was a soothing gesture.
Ms. Yey calls a spade a spade and can not be compelled compromises. It is about how personal relations and social actions have, in the end, unanticipated consequence, and how they have, at the beginning, unacknowledged goals. The reality principle is incarnate.
Yey was an assistant Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan as well as Mayor James K. Hahn’s Director of Community Development and Liaison of for the Asian Pacific Islander Community. She had also been the assistant Chief Grants Administrator at the Los Angeles Community Development Department. Ms. Coronel’s experiences span oversight responsibilities on grants management, housing and urban development, homelessness reduction, public housing and community development, human and social services, as well as people with AIDS, her extensive community involvement provides her with a unique and multi- and intercultural experience that can enhance FASGI’s community base.
She has mastered the delicate art of making a point without preaching, surpassed only by her heart and generosity of spirit. How social nurturing can overcome human nature, with everyone just helping the others, not just trying to count them. She spoke before the crowd, with a warm and vibrant voice and jovial expressions. As her audience listened attentively, hanging on to her every word on the plight of WWII veterans and their widows and families, the carnival atmosphere and jubilation suddenly changed into a very somber mood. Her poignant words sent tears and a deafening silence. Her appeal made the garden stand still.
All around, everything seems so new and amazing. It could be wonderful to change things…or heartbreaking.