August 15, 2019
Contact: Angelo Dalmacio, Communications Director
Tel. 202-803-1353

Largest Coalition of Filipino American Organizations Gathers Hundreds of Community Leaders and Advocates for Conference in Los Angeles Region

13th National Empowerment Conference Begins in Carson, California, featuring three days of presentations from NaFFAA leaders, workshops with elected officials, and Gala reception

Carson, CA — Today, the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) kicked off the 13th National Empowerment Conference (NEC), its biennial gathering of national and local Filipino American leaders, elected officials, and community advocates. Through this year’s theme, “Make It Count: Transforming Mindsets for 2020 and Beyond,” NaFFAA hopes to raise awareness around key issues impacting the community, lay out a clear plan of action for the 2020 Census and presidential elections, and to build a unified vision for the community for years to come.

“The NEC is NaFFAA’s way of fully and actively embodying the spirit of bayanihan—or community,” says NaFFAA National Chairman Brendan Flores. “It is no accident that the word empowerment is embedded in the name of this conference. We have gathered elected representatives, community advocates and activists, and celebrated thought leaders in one place, for one purpose: to equip attendees with the knowledge, connections, and tools that put empowerment at their own fingertips.”

Bolstered by such high-profile sponsors as TFC, AARP, Comcast NBCUniversal, and Verizon, among others, activities at the NEC include plenaries and workshops on topics such as intergenerational cooperation, the importance of the 2020 Census, and paths to elected leadership. In addition, the NEC will feature Filipino-centric entertainment, including a performance from rising singer, songwriter, and actor Iñigo Pascual, a performance from Los Angeles-based acapella sensations The Filharmonic, and an exclusive screening of the poignant and timely immigration drama Yellow Rose, starring celebrated Broadway icons Lea Salonga and Eva Noblezada.

NaFFAA will also honor several individuals with their highest honor, the NaFFAA Trailblazer Award. The award recognizes individuals or organizations who have made a positive, dynamic, and groundbreaking impact in their professional field, reflecting the ingenuity, dogged determination, and excellence of the Filipino and Filipino American community. Prior to the Yellow Rose screening on Thursday, pioneering rapper, singer, producer, and member of the Grammy-winning recording group Black Eyed Peas,, will be presented with his Trailblazer Award. During the Saturday evening gala, Trailblazer Awards will be bestowed upon  Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO), the first and only Filipino symphony orchestra outside of the Philippines; and prolific media executive Raffy Lopez, former Chief Operating Officer and current Executive Advisor to the CEO of ABS-CBN.

“I’m a firm believer that we have the power to make real change if we open our minds and hearts, transform our old ways of thinking, and unite towards a common goal,’ says newly appointed Executive Director Carissa Villacorta. “One of the reasons I am so excited to be a servant-leader of this organization is because I get to meet and talk to so many Filipino American community leaders and find out what drives them. With the NEC, we have a unique opportunity to have these conversations about the concerns of our community, come up with strategies to address them, and put them into action.”

For more information on the 2019 National Empowerment Conference, visit

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About NaFFAA
The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization. Established in 1997, NaFFAA has been the standard bearer for promoting the welfare and well-being of the 4 million Filipinos and Filipino Americans throughout the United States. NaFFAA’s vision is to serve as the voice of all Filipinos and Filipino Americans by uniting, engaging, and empowering diverse individuals and community organizations through leadership development, civic engagement, and national advocacy.