Oral Histories

Interview of Jaime Geaga

Filipino American activist. Member of the National Coalition for the Restoration of Civil Liberties in the Philippines (NCRCLP) and Union of Democratic Filipinos (KDP), a political party. Member of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum and Filippino Task Force on AIDS.
Making Waves: Filipino-American Activists in Los Angeles during the 1970s
Asian American History
Biographical Note:
Filipino American activist. Member of the National Coalition for the Restoration of Civil Liberties in the Philippines (NCRCLP) and Union of Democratic Filipinos (KDP), a political party. Member of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum and Filippino Task Force on AIDS.
Singson, Precious
Geaga, Jaime
Persons Present:
Geaga and Singson.
Place Conducted:
Geaga’s home in Los Angeles, 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 recious Grace Singson is a 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.Precious Singson prepared for the interviews 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. Geaga was then given an opportunity to review the transcript but made no corrections or additions.
6.75 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.
Father’s escape from the Bataan Death March—how his parents met—his perception of social class from mother’s side of the family—religion and education from father’s side of the family—family’s settlement and laundry business—memories of visiting American Military Base—early childhood education in a Catholic school—language spoken at home—Father’s employment in Korea—Baguio’s diversity and tourist industry—family’s plan to migrate to Los Angeles—his views about mother role in the family—Father’s experience in Los Angeles—how family migrated—pull factors in migrating—passage to United States—finding his Filipino identity—impressions of Hawaii—settlement in Los Angeles—mother’s difficulty adjusting to life in the US—helper from the Philippines—distinction made between Filipino and Filipino-American—initial culture shock—racial composition of neighborhood in Echo Park—mother’s interaction with Korean American neighbor—visiting Grand Central Market—memories of consul general’s home—becoming an altar boy, joining choir and Boy’s Scouts—making friends with non-Filipino children—elementary school experience—relationship with uncle
Early childhood schools—early religious background—siblings' influence—Filipinos in Los Angeles area—Sampaguita Women’s Circle—queen contests—racial composition of Larchmont Village—more on queen contests—mother’s initial involvement with FACLA (Filipino American Community in Los Angeles) --FACLA’s membership—significance of FACLA’s building—Filipino cultural school under Filipino Christian Church—his exploration of Filipino identity—early recognition of civil rights movement—attending Camp Oak Grove led by Japanese Americans—influence of camp on his identity affirmation—differences between Asian identity and Filipino identity—feelings about race in high school—making distinctions between Fil-Ams in SIPA (Search to Involve Pilipino Americans)—SIPA as a Filipino network—Barkada Band—SIPA activities—Asian dance circuit—Asian youth culture—how SIPA affected his political activism.
Vietnam War Draft—brother’s experience at University of California, Berkeley—his own experience with Vietnam War draft—his mother’s views of anti-war movement—political conversations in the family—turmoil from politics and anti-war protests in the media—influences of Filipino identity movement and anti-war movement—his work at Los Angeles Neighborhood Youth Core Program—views about Esther Soriano—forming Filipino study group—experiences at University of California—description of early Asian American studies courses—meeting Kalayaan International Collective in San Francisco—Filipino activist retreat at University of California, Santa Cruz—establishing National Coalition for the Restoration of Civil Liberties in the Philippines (NCRCLP)—first protest against martial law—reactions of Filipino community upon the declaration of martial law—organizing to support national democratic movement—differences between the KDP (Union of Democratic Filipinos) and NCRCLP—KDP’s initial establishment in Los Angeles—leaving NCRCLP—Activities within anti-martial law movement.
Joining KDP—participating in planning committee for Far West Convention—KDP’s community intervention—KDP’s dual program—Far West Convention format—his view about the tensions among activists—KDP’s difference with NCRCLP—KDP’s role for exiles from Marcos dictatorship—other anti-Marcos groups—KDP’s educational activities for community—attacks against KDP as a “communist group”—mother’s friendship with anti-Marcos exiles—FACLA’s activities and position about Marcos—KDP’s attempt to reform FACLA—Compuso and Philippine Independence Day—community’s position on Marcos administration—Philippine consulate's strategies for supporting Marcos—strategy to reform FACLA—manong’s views about KDP’s youth—KDP’s work to support Filipino nurses—Bakke and Alona case—his position on KDP’s National Executive Board—KDP’s vision for FACLA reform—activism within KDP.