DALY CITY, Calif. – They dub themselves “Kumares and Kumares,” members of an all-volunteer nonprofit organization dedicated to abuse prevention education named ALLICE, the acronym for Alliance for Community Empowerment.
Twice a year, they stage free events to shine the light on the dynamics of healthy and abusive behaviors, how to distinguish between the two and prevent the latter. In the spring, they highlight interaction with elders; in the fall, they focus on intimate partnerships.
Next month, October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, they are mounting their 14th annual Free from Violence Presentation and Resource Fair 5-7:30 pm, Oct. 12, at Colma Community Center with the Philippine Consulate General and Asian American Recovery Services – Healthright 360 as primary sponsors.
Consul General Henry Bensurto Jr., San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa and Colma Mayor Rae Gonzalez will call the community to action by learning about the issue and taking responsibility for the safety of their neighborhoods. Public and private resource providers will consult about their free services.
Media icons Lloyd LaCuesta and Frances Dinglasan, Anastacio “Junior” Flores and Asian American Recovery Services – Healthright 360 will receive commendation for outstanding contribution to the ALLICE mission.
Highlighting the program is the testimony of Clara and Julia Tempongko, who lost a daughter and a sister when Claire Joyce Tempongko was repeatedly stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend on Oct. 22, 2000 at her home in San Francisco.
Their journey of grief, healing and hope is the heart of the event and the story behind ALLICE.
EDUCATION AS PREVENTION
In the winter of 2003, Cherie Querol Moreno took a sabbatical from journalism to join CORA, a private nonprofit agency in San Mateo County serving domestic violence survivors and their families. As community outreach coordinator, she attended a rally on the steps of San Francisco City Hall seeking justice for Claire Joyce Tempongko. While many attended the morning rally, only a handful Filipino Americans were present.
To the journalist in Cherie, the absence of Filipinos spoke to the urgency of raising awareness about domestic violence – that it can happen to anyone who happens to enter a relationship with a person who abuses, and in fact has taken the life of a Filipina. To her inner activist, the experience fueled Cherie’s desire to organize to spread the word about how to help rather than hinder healing of those in troubled relationships.
She reached out to friends who share her ideals led by marketing executive Bettina Santos Yap, forming a team to educate on dating and domestic violence: why it happens, how it looks like, and how to help those in abusive situations. Together they staged the first FilAm public event spotlighting the dynamics intimate partner abuse, when actor Giovannie Espiritu shared her experience as a young wife and mother, debunking the perception that domestic violence does not happen in the Filipino community. They baptized themselves ALLICE in honor of their honorary chair, pioneer leader Alice Bulos.
Fifteen years later their commitment to the cause endures.
This year Allen Capalla, Junior Flores, Edna Murray, Elsa Agasid, Dr. Jei Africa, Jennifer Jimenez Wong, Colma Vice Mayor Joanne Del Rosario, Jose Antonio, Rev. Leonard Oakes, Malou Aclan, Rev. Mark Reburiano, Nan Santiago, Nellie Hizon, Ofie Albrecht, Paulita Lasola Malay, Sarah Jane Ilumin, and Teresa Ferrer complete the current team.
Leading the celebration are longtime and new donor allies Philippine News, Philippines Today, Positively Filipino, Inquirer.net, Holy Child & St. Martin Episcopal Church, Lucky Chances, Moonstar, Cafe Savini, Noah’s Bagels, Hapag Filipino, Kuya’s Asian Cuisine, Guy Guerrero, Ray Satorre, Francis Espiritu, Kumare Elsa Agasid, Boy & Baby’s Pastries, Kumare Ofie Albrecht, Bernard Simon Jr. & Becca Schatz, Joaquin & Matias Moreno.
ALLICE 14th annual Free from Violence Presentation and Resource Fair is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.allicekumares.com.