In Loving Memory of Joe Navidad
It is with a heavy heart that we must announce the passing of an exceptional person, our Executive Director, Joe Navidad, who has tirelessly served the Asian and Pacific Islander community in Los Angeles for over 20 years.
Joe Navidad was born on February 2, 1948, the seventh of eight children, in the Philippines. Growing up, Joe befriended many from all walks of life and from different backgrounds.
During the turbulent 1960s where student protests were part of the political climate around the world, his passion for the people’s aspirations for national and social liberation and dedication to working on human rights issues began to grow during this time. Joe was a student activist upholding the belief that “to learn by reading is good, to learn by practice is better.” He eventually became involved in community organizing. He conducted community organizing work with youth, farmers and indigenous people. As the political climate heightened during the 1970s and martial law was declared by the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines, he was captured and became a political prisoner. After two years of imprisonment, the heavy torture he experienced did not steer him away from his commitment to continuing to advocate for the people’s aspirations for just and lasting peace in the Philippines.
During the 1980s, Joe pursued furthering his education in Social Welfare at the University of the Philippines. He later moved to the United States. During the 1990s, Joe found more opportunities to organize communities in Los Angeles. He counseled at-risk, urban Filipino American youth. Working alongside various ethnic groups in the Asian and Pacific Islander community, he developed community organizers through the East West Community Partnership. By bridging multi-generational groups and various sectors through leadership skills development, he oversaw the formation of Alyansa ng Komunidad (AK/Community Alliance). As Executive Director of People’s Community Organization for Reform and Empowerment (People’s CORE), he was instrumental in facilitating the development of campaigns (e.g., Filipino WWII veterans and anti-interventionist campaigns) and people’s organizations including KmB/Pro-People Youth. Joe conducted international solidarity work that upheld human rights and Philippine sovereignty. During the 2000s, he pursued the development of culture and arts programs, martial arts, and self-defense programs. He was instrumental in helping to facilitate the development the programs of Moro People’s CORE, an NGO addressing the needs and issues of Moro and indigenous people in Mindanao.
His life’s work involves advocating for needs and issues of underserved communities in Los Angeles and the Philippines by developing the skills sets of countless organizers, martial arts instructors, and community leaders, working on a myriad of issues for social justice campaigns, and connecting people together from all regions, sectors, and backgrounds. His life reflects the strength of the Filipino fighting spirit. His legacy represents the best of the Filipino – witnessed by those who were fortunate enough to know him, his humor, his messages that captured the imagination and elevated collective sights to higher visions, his lessons that inspired action and built character, and his unrelenting giving and selfless nature.
He reminded us that we are just small specks in the larger scheme of things, but his influence is spotted throughout the mural that is the movement for just and lasting peace.
Joe was a loving husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle, leader, friend, and mentor. He is deeply missed by those whose lives he touched.
A community memorial celebrating the life of Joe Navidad will be held later this month.