top of page

AFIRE CHICAGO to Partner on Oral History Project Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities

August 25, 2023

(CHICAGO, IL) - The Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE) is pleased to announce that it is a lead partner with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in an oral history project supported by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). On August 15, NEH issued a press release declaring that it had awarded $41.3 million in funding for 280 humanities projects across the United States as part of its latest grant cycle. “These 280 new grant awards underscore the wide range of exemplary, fascinating, and impactful humanities work that scholars, practitioners, and institutions are conducting in all corners of the country,” said NEH Chair Shelly C. Lowe. Among the grantees is UIUC’s “Transnational Disinformation Networks and Asian Diasporic Politics” project, directed by Dr. Rachel Kuo, Assistant Professor of Media & Cinema Studies at UIUC, and Mark Calaguas, AFIRE Board Chair and Executive Vice President of the Filipino Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO). “We are excited for the support of community collaboration, knowledge exchange, and storytelling as well as the opportunity to foster shared learning about the specific ways history and power shape our communities’ relationships to technology and democracy,” remarked Dr. Kuo, a scholar who writes, teaches, and researches race, social movements, and technology. “A 2021 report by Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) found that while Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders made up roughly 7% of the U.S. population, only 0.2 percent of domestic grantmaking by foundations was designated to serve those communities. We thank NEH for their much welcomed investment in our work and hope this serves as a positive example for other decision-makers in the wider funding ecosystem,“ added Calaguas, co-founder and legal counsel for FYLPRO’s data innovation hub and media literacy initiative, Tayo. UIUC is one of 16 NEH awardees under the “Dangers and Opportunities of Technology: Perspectives from the Humanities” grant and this funding will support the collection of intergenerational and multilingual testimonials to examine memory, political histories, and information networks across Asia and Asian American diasporas. Through their robust local and national networks, AFIRE and FYLPRO’s Tayo will facilitate collaborative storytelling workshops designed to better understand the experiences of the Filipino diaspora with respect to government, migration, survival, and political upheaval in connection with individual reflections on different media and information environments. “We have an important opportunity to explore the unspoken moments of truth and experience faced by those in the diaspora, including triumphs and traumas that deserve to be told. Storytelling can be a tool of empowerment, honor, kapwa (togetherness), and care because of the courage to be vulnerable and to share our stories," said Ryan Viloria, AFIRE Executive Director. “This is a prime moment to tell our stories that normally get overlooked and overshadowed,” said Leezel Tanglao, FYLPRO President and Tayo Co-Founder/Project Director. “As a multigenerational diasporic community, there is no shortage of narratives that weave together a larger story of trauma, survival, and resilience while adapting and innovating to every situation that comes our way.” The project will commence in early 2024 and is scheduled to last through the end of 2025. In light of the various challenges in communicating about politics across generations and languages, the collaborators plan for the storytelling sessions to generate a number of resources for public education and civic reflection, such as community convenings, history and media guides, and a book length manuscript. In doing so, we hope to bring together the diverse histories and contexts of Asian American diasporic experiences which are key to understanding how our communities engage with today’s ever-shifting media and tech landscape.


Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:


Filipino Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO) is a network of high performing, next-generation leaders who advance the Philippines and the Filipino people through their advocacy and expertise in various industries.

We continually expand the pipeline of Filipino young leaders in the diaspora. By connecting them to the motherland, we foster collaborative multinational relationships that create innovations and support the socio-economic progress of the global Filipino community.

For more information, visit


Tayo, a project of the Filipino Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO), is an innovative data hub that empowers Filipinx/a/o communities by collecting data, fostering partnerships, publishing culturally relevant insights, and developing leaders to create an equitable and sustainable future.

For more information, visit


The Alliance of ​​Filipinos ​for I​mmigrant ​R​ights & ​​Empowerment​ (AFIRE) is a grassroots community organization that builds the capacity of Filipinx/a/os*​ ​to​ ​organize on issues of social, racial, and economic justice that affect undocumented​ ​immigrants, domestic workers, seniors, and youth.

* We use Filipinx/a/o as shorthand for Filipinx/Filipina/Filipino to honor all gender identities.


bottom of page