Hey everyone! I hope your week has been going well with midterms and all, but to de-stress you should read this week's APA Leader interview! Our 7th APA Leader is Anthony Garciano! Anthony is heavily involved in Troy Phi as the Community and Culture Chair as well as the greater Filipino community through his work in the Kaya Collaborative, where he went to the Philippines and worked with local education and social entrepreneurship organizations. Find out more about Anthony in the interview below: Name: Anthony Garciano Major: History & Social Science Education Year: Junior

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What does being APA mean to you?

To me, being APA means the willingness to learn and unlearn, to talk and listen, and to maintain a level of conviction in the gray area. Approaching my identity in this way allows me to appreciate all the complexities and nuances afforded by my circumstances.

Explain in detail your involvement in the Asian Pacific American community on and off campus.

I’ve been a part of USC Troy Philippines (TP) since freshman year. For the past two years, I’ve taken on the role of Community and Culture Chair for TP, and, in so doing, I’ve actively exposed myself to the Filipino and Filipino American community in Los Angeles. Also, I’m involved with Kaya Collaborative (Kaya Co.), which connects Filipino diaspora college students back to the Philippines. I was a fellow for Kaya Co. last year in which I interned for an education social entrepreneurship in the Philippines, lived with community-driven, motivated, smart, (albeit ratchet) college students in the heart of Manila, and took a crash course on social change making. Throughout all of this, I’ve internalized the lessons that I’ve learned as a 1.5 generation Filipino American (as well as further defined these lessons through programs such as CIRCLE and Gateway and my own individual research on APA identity and the Filipino/ Filipino American experience), in order to better connect and humanize both identities to the members of TP.

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What advice do you have for aspiring APA leaders?

Definitely be open to different ideas, which at times conflict with each other, as well as being constantly critical to those ideas. But, at the end of the day, when you’re tired and hungry, give yourself time to eat a banana and sleep.

Why is it significant to learn about our heritage?

If we aren’t connected to our roots, how can we possibly grow? Our heritage offers us context; It offers us self-understanding. It allows us to be closer to our past; it allows us to be closer to our present communities. It acts as an agent of individuality, as well as an agent of unity. And that’s the beauty of it all.

Tell us how you got here. How did you first get involved with the APA community?

I was born in a chicken coop. Also, I lived in the island of sweet potatoes. (All of these are true. I was born in my grandmother’s chicken coop in the island of Camotes, Philippines, which translates to “sweet potatoes” in English.) So that’s how I came into this world, surrounded by chickens and sweet potatoes. But, I only got involved with the APA community once I joined Troy Philippines. And I never looked back. So I blame TP for exposing me to the greater APA community and I blame myself for sticking around.

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What motivates and inspires you?

My parents definitely act as my source of inspiration and motivation. My dad has been working 16 hours a day for nearly 20 years as a janitor, while my mom stays at home to take care of 6 kids. They are my role models; to whom I could never compare.

If you could meet anyone from the past, the present, or the future, who would you want to meet and why?

I would want to meet the first Filipino hero, Lapu Lapu. There is some controversy to where the Battle of Mactan was actually fought, which was either in the island of Cebu or Camotes (my island!!). If I could meet him, I would have the opportunity to solve one of the greatest mysteries in Filipino history, and perhaps even meet my great, great, great, great… grandfather. That would be pretty cool.

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Anyone you’d like to thank or give a shoutout to?

First and foremost, thank you to those who nominated me and APASA for this recognition.

I’d also like to thank my family for tolerating me.

My TP fam for your love and support.

The professors who’ve helped me with my research and self exploration (Dr. Kurashige, Dr. Sanchez, and Dr. Parreñas).

My best friends at USC, Krystian, Kyle, and Rachel for always being down.

My BEST friend, Aina, for knowing things about me that no one else does and for being the only person who is able harmonize with me.

AND, lastly, I’d like to thank Kobe Bryant. My hero, imaginary mentor, and god. #Neverforget.

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Thanks to Anthony for the interview and all the hard work you put in for our community! Look forward to our last APA Leader coming up later this week!