‘An immigrant who is qualified to lead and to serve’

It’s been almost two years since President Barack Obama left the Oval Office but his famous quote is still an inspiration to me whenever I tackle hard and challenging tasks.  “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.We are the change that we seek,” said the former president of the United States.

But after President Obama’s eight years in office, when many thought that everything is moving in the right direction towards effective reform and transformation in government and society (particularly in welcoming immigrants, people of color, women and LGBTQ, and culturally and economically disadvantaged people in the political arena)the U.S. political climate turned 360 degrees with the election of Donald Trump.

The inclusiveness promoted and championed by the Obama administration is nowunder attack.  The gains and liberal-progressive policies of past administrations (even those policies byRepublican presidents) are now being taken away and diminished as well.

This is the reason why the election next month is very important.

I encourage my fellow U.S. citizens to vote and to give their active support to candidates who embody the “we are the change that we seek” mantra of President Obama and who recognize that this“land flourished because it was fed from so many sources— because it was nourished by so many cultures and traditions and peoples”(as stated by the late president Lyndon B. Johnson).


Flor Nicolas, an immigrant from the Philippines, is one such candidate who embodies the “we are the change that we seek” mantra.  I first met Flor as a leader in my own church in South San Francisco (All Souls Catholic Church) many years ago and she is now running for City Council in South San Francisco.

Flor exemplifiesnot only the dreams of many immigrants but the dreams of many working American families as well.  I asked her three questions— When did she decide to run for an elected position? Why at this time?  Who inspired her to run?— as I was intrigued at first why apolitical neophytelike her would run for elected office when she can just enjoy life and spend time with her family and grandchildren.

Flor’s response was sincere and to the point: “When the current Mayor Liza Normandy decided not to run for re-election, the current Mayor Pro Tempore approached me and encouraged me to run.  Initially, I turned her down twice.  While having dinner with the family, I looked at my grandchildren and felt that I need to do something to protect them and make them proud.  My grandchildren are natural born Americans and would not know any other country but this but they still look like immigrants. In the current environment, where immigrants are maligned as people who steal jobs or wards of the state, I want to be a role model of an immigrant who is willing to lead and serve.”

Flor Nicolas has a 30-year plus residence in the U.S.  She has a rich record of volunteerism and has gained the respect and admiration of the people and the leaders of South San Francisco for her contributions in many city commissions and committees.  She is undeniablycarrying the torch for many working American families who want to serve their respective communities.

“In the many years I knew the late Alice Bulos, she was all about Filipino political empowerment.  Hopefully, I could stimulate our fellow Pinoys’ interest in participating in the democratic process.  In South San Francisco, there are approximately 5,000 registered Filipino voters but only around 10% vote; therefore, we are not regarded as a voting block and being passed over when policy input is required.  If given a chance, I would like to continue what Alice had started and mobilize our fellow Filipinos to claim a seat on the table,”added Flor.

Flor Nicolas has my vote.  To my fellow South San Francisco residents, please join me in voting Flor Nicolas tothe South San Francisco City Council!

Jojo Liangco is an attorney with the Law Offices of Amancio M. Liangco Jr. in San Francisco, California.  His practice is in the areas of immigration, family law, personal injury, civil litigation, business law, bankruptcy, DUI cases, criminal defense and traffic court cases.  Please send your comments to Jojo Liangco, c/o Law Offices of Amancio “Jojo” Liangco, 605 Market Street, Suite 605, San Francisco, CA94105 or you can call him (415) 974-5336.