Filipinos are active community members – and that doesn’t change whether they’re in the country or some other place in the world.
A great example of this is Fil-American educator and activist Dr. Melissa Borja, who was included in USA Today’s Women of the Year honorees for her work and dedication in shedding light on racism towards Asians in her home state of Indiana.

Through the Virulent Hate Project, which was founded in 2020, Borja helped spread awareness on the issues plaguing the Asian community in the US, specifically how the recent surge of anti-Asian racism and violence affected the lives of many. 

The research initiative aims “to identify and understand broad trends in how Asian and Asian American people are experiencing and combatting racism. In addition, by focusing on incidents reported in news media, we go beyond the big numbers to showcase thousands of stories of how individuals and communities are impacted by and responding to the recent surge in anti-Asian racism and violence.”

“I do the work of addressing injustice as an Asian-American woman as an academic, as a community organizer and activist. But I do so also as a mom,” Borja, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies Program, told the Indianapolis Star and USA Today.

Borja said she wants to set an example for her fellow community members and inspire them to continue the work that she and many others did before her. 

“I hope that the example I’m setting sets them up for doing and continuing this work in the future,” she said.

“As much as I can, I try to center my work on loving other people…But I do approach my work as a scholar, as a community organizer with the commitment that everything I should do should affirm the worth and dignity of other people,” Borja explained further. 

USA Today officially released the 2022 Women of the Year list on March 14, closely following its successful Women of the Century project, which highlighted the achievements of women trailblazers in the 100 years since they won the right to suffrage. 

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Image credit: USA Today’s Official Website; University of Michigan’s Official Website