Oral Histories

Interview of Roselyn Ibanez

Filipino American activist. First co-chair of Kababayan at University of California, Irvine and member of the Union of Democratic Filipinos (KDP), a political party.
Making Waves: Filipino-American Activists in Los Angeles during the 1970s
Asian American History
Biographical Note:
Filipino American activist. First co-chair of Kababayan at University of California, Irvine and member of the Union of Democratic Filipinos (KDP), a political party.
Singson, Precious
Ibanez, Roselyn
Persons Present:
Ibanez, Florante Ibanez, and Singson.
Place Conducted:
Ibanez’s home in Carson, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Precious Grace Singson; Ph.D. candidate at UCLA’s Department of History. She has done extensive studies on Asian-American and Filipino-American history. Her research focuses on Filipino-American activists in the West Coast and her dissertation touches upon their history during the 1970s to the 1980s.Singson prepared for the interview by reviewing secondary sources that relate to Filipino-Americans in Los Angeles and Asian American activists along the West Coast. To list a few, she looked at Linda Maram’s Creating Masculinity in Los Angeles Little Manila: Working-Class Filipinos and Popular Culture, 1920’s-1950’s; Estella Habal’s San Francisco's International Hotel: Mobilizing the Filipino American Community in the Anti-Eviction Movement, and Fred Ho , Carolyn Antonio, Diane Fujino, and Steve’s Yip’s Legacy to Liberation: Politics and Culture of Revolutionary Asian Pacific America. Because of the dearth of studies on the anti-martial law movement, she also examined some primary sources on this subject. Mainly, she reviewed some articles from the Ang Kalayaan/Ang Katipunan newspaper published in the 1970s.
Processing of Interview:
The transcript is a verbatim transcription of the recording. It was transcribed by a professional transcribing agency using a list of proper names and specialized terminology supplied by the interviewer. Ibanez was then given an opportunity to review the transcript and made a number of corrections and additions. Those corrections were entered into the text without further editing or review on the part of the Center for Oral History Research staff.
6 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
These interviews document the lives and contributions of Filipino-American activists in Los Angeles in the Filipino-American identity movement of the 1960s and ‘70s. This project was generously supported by Arcadia funds.
Ibanez’ childhood with the US Navy—parents’ background—family migration to the US—childhood in the Philippines—childhood and racial awareness in Oregon—transition to San Diego’s US Navy housing—moving with other Filipinos to National City—prominent Filipino families in San Diego—race relations in San Diego—language and pride from Filipinos in the US navy—geography of Filipinos in the San Diego area—race relations in National City—her memory of racial discrimination during high school—third world student club—race relations in high school—Filipino youth community gatherings—community dances—her participation in the Filipino organizations—purpose of beauty contests and dances—second generation youth—cousin’s migration and pro-Marcos position—awareness of Filipino identity—college experience with student group Samahan—women’s group Matapang in San Diego State—young women’s social issues—Matapang opposition to beauty contests—her own feelings about beauty contests—Filipinas’ fashion and cultural influences—college experience as a Filipina—Samahan activities—sister’s influence—1973 Far West Convention—influence of Filipino-US relations course—discussion groups—reaction of the community to anti-martial law activities—impact of discussion groups--Third Far West Convention in San Jose—meeting Florante Ibanez—parents’ reaction to her community involvement—comparing Los Angeles and San Diego Filipino communities—“people’s wedding”—parents’ reaction to the wedding—families reaction to and support of her activism.
Lack of involvement in larger Asian American movement—network of anti-martial law activists—comparison of Los Angeles and San Diego Filipino communities—third Far West Convention at UCLA—description of Far West program—community split in the conference—her opinion about why the faction emerged—politics of Union of Democratic Filipinos (KDP)—her opinion about how Filipino-Americans became concerned with dictatorship—how immigration became an issue for the community—changes in California State Los Angeles Far West—duties as an organizer of the Far West—recruitment to KDP—KDP’s radical leanings—her feelings about being radical—her family’s reaction to joining—description of travel and living situation—description of anti-martial law picketing—activities for fundraising—controversy over Philippine National Day—tracing her movement from one city to another—organizational structure of KDP—description of Philippine program in Boston—her exposure to progressive movements in Boston—relationship with Silme and Cindy Domingo—response of KDP in Los Angeles to deaths—return to San Diego to teach course on US imperialism—evaluating KDP’s success in the 1970s—interaction with conservative part of the community—attempt to reform Filipino American Community in Los Angeles (FACLA)—description of KDP’s operation.
Tracing the chronology of her movement from city to city—opinion about political transfers—reforming San Diego’s KDP—comparing Los Angeles and San Diego activism—resentment from activists—anti-KDP faction in San Diego—opinion about her political transfer back to Los Angeles—operation and structure of KDP—KDP cookbook—fundraising work for KDP—coalitions with other Asian American groups—KDP’s political differences with other Los Angeles activists—KDP Christmas caroling—selling newspapers at churches—reflections on the KDP’s successful activities—anti-martial law activities after Benigno Aquino’s death—demonstrations at Philippine consulate offices—community support of Aquino—beginnings of Line of March—debate on the Philippines’ ‘alternate society’—leaving KDP San Diego and rejoining KDP in Los Angeles—criticism/self-criticism—activists network after the decline of KDP—Line of March founding and philosophy—her reasons for joining Line of March—her opinion about Maoism—Filipino-trained nurses and immigrant rights issues—differences with Asian activists based on Maoist ideology—ideologies of Line of March—particular issues advocated by Line of March—challenges from the Filipino Nurses association—work to oppose Simpson-Mazzoli Immigration Bill—joining and speaking for March down Broadway—leaving Line of March.
Women’s leadership in KDP—designating roles for women in membership—her feelings about activism and motherhood—her daughter’s experience growing up with activist parents—West Coast Student Confederation—political advocacy through students’ sport competition—Jesse Jackson campaign—Filipino community response to campaigns—Filipino participation in Democratic Party—Line of March’s view in supporting Jesse Jackson—reasons for community’s political involvement in the 1980s—initial recruitment to Gloria Molina's staff—project to push Historic Filipino Town—her conflicts with Filipinos as staff worker—work challenges and clean-up campaigns—concerns and issues in FACLA—KDP’s run as progressive slate in FACLA—Filipino gangs—challenges in the campaign for Historic Filipino town—Mrs. Geaga’s contributions to the community—development of today’s Historic Filipino Town.
Roy Morales’ influence on her activism—Roy Morales’ work in community politics—Filipino Christian Church—how she met Helen Brown—Helen Brown’s civic issues and activism—joining the board of PARRAL—Helen Brown’s work at Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)—Ibanez’ advocacy in LAUSD—issues of Filipino students in Belmont High School—movement and activities of PARRAL—why she joined the board—activities as a board member—why the library moved—challenges of the library—why the library became important for the community—work with Gloria Molina in the LA County Supervisor office—issues of Asian Americans in San Gabriel Valley—comparison of activism during the 1970s and 1980s—observations of today’s youth and their activism—her opinion about how activism develops—activism within political institutions—her community work in Carson.