For Vision Vancouver Park Board Nomination
Sammie Jo Rumbaua is a young and dynamic community organizer who is passionate about ensuring Vancouver is an inclusive and welcoming city for all.
She first came into the Filipino-Canadian community/political scene via her work with several non-profit Filipino-Canadian organizations. As an immigrant, she personally knows the challenges and hardships young people and many others face in the city.
Q: Can you tell us about yourself? What is your educational background and work experience?
I am a 31 year old proud Filipino-Canadian young woman, initially born in Winnipeg I lived out my formative years in Vancouver. I have always had a passion for my culture, something my parents bestowed on me at a very young age. My family grew up speaking Tagalog at home and were always active in the community being a part of various cultural celebrations and sports leagues.
As a young girl I had a passion for serving others. As a part of a young dancers collective, we would perform at community centres and at Filipino Independence day events. Growing up in East Vancouver, I found a passion for helping new and especially young immigrants to Canada. I looked to surround myself with like-minded people who had similar hopes, ambitions and drive to see the welfare of our kababayan increased.
I am a part of many different non-profit groups whose missions are to help new immigrants, and particularly the Filipino community connect with Canadian culture while still staying true to their cultural roots. I currently sit as a board member of SEACHS (South-East Asia Cultural Heritage Society) a group dedicated to celebrating and cultivating the culture of South-East Asian culture. I am also a board member of Tulayan, a group which seeks to work through community networks to empower and be a bridge of Filipino-Canadian culture.
I currently work at Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House wearing two hats as a youth settlement workers and program assistant for Work BC- Specializing Services Survivors of Abuse and Violence. I have received a diploma from Langara College in Sales and Marketing where I served in student government as the Business Administration Representative.
Some of my accolades include the Vancouver-Kensington Community Leadership Award 2010 from MLA Mable Elmore and the Maharlika Award for Community Service—Youth from the Filipino Canadian Cultural Heritage Society of BC (FCCHS).
Q: What is your immigrant story?
Both my parents immigrated to Canada as young adults. Motivated to cultivate a better life for themselves and their families, they both juggled multiple jobs to keep their families afloat. They met and married in Winnipeg, Manitoba where they had me and my two younger sisters. They decided to move to Vancouver in 1991 where they continued to do their best to provide for me and my sisters. However, coming from a family who has faced adversity has taught me growing up in Vancouver.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish when you are elected?
If elected, I have much I would like to see done. As a Park Board Commissioner, one issue I would like to address is the lack of accessibility to Park Board facilities given to vulnerable communities. Through my experience in working with elderly groups and young people, I know firsthand the troubles these groups face in trying to find safe and affordable public spaces to meet and host events. I believe that access to these spaces is pivotal to having a vibrant and well-organized society.
Q: Why are you going into politics? Tell us about this elective post that you are running for? Why this position?
I am running for public office because I believe our parks, community centres, and public spaces play an integral role in creating and reflecting who we are. I have been challenged by leaders in my community to take a step into public life, and I believe that being surrounded by a positive, strong and diverse team with integrity and experience is what it takes to keep Vancouver moving forward.
The City of Vancouver is a very unique place; it is the only municipality which elects its Park Board. The reasoning behind this is because the city believes that citizens should have a direct say in how their public spaces are created and maintained. Park Board Commissioners are responsible for all public spaces in the city. This includes parks, beaches, stop signs and community centres, to name a few.
I am running for Park Board because I believe that with my background in working in neighborhood houses with the youth, mine will be a valuable voice at City Hall.
Q: Can you tell us what you have done to further the rights/improve the welfare of Filipinos in Canada?
I have always had a passion to help those in my community and particularly the Filipino Community. As a member of the FILCAN (Filipino Canadian Advocy Network), we seek to bring together individuals so that they may discuss and articulate a strong progressive position on Filipino-Canadian issues. FILCAN has had workshops and information sessions to encourage the community to engage and help develop the full leadership potential of progressive Filipino-Canadians; especially the most marginalized (e.g., migrant workers, caregivers).
Q: If elected, are you planning to focus on Filipino matters and interests? Will you help Filipinos? What’s your political platform?
If elected in November 2014, I will be the first Filipina in municipal government for the City of Vancouver. However, I do need to seek nomination within Vision Vancouver in June first. My plans are to increase youth involvement and participation in our city, promote the access of the Park Board facilities and program to newcomers and immigrant groups and advocate for healthy families and safe spaces. Of course when our fellow kababayans can see a person that they can approach in a political position, I will ensure that their voices will be heard.
You can support Sammie Jo by nominating her in Vision Vancouver by June 3, 2014. To become a member of Vision Vancouver, please contact 604-318-6196 | email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.facebook.com/votesammiejo. Eligibility: At least 15 years old and a Vancouver resident. Advance voting is on June 18 from 2pm-9pm (location to be confirmed) and nomination election day is June 22, from 9am-6pm at Gradview Elementary- 2055 Woodland Drive.