Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago’s annual Milestone Awards Benefit is coming up on April 27! In the weeks leading up to the event, we are recognizing this year’s honorees who have led the way for the Asian American community of Illinois in their respective fields. This week, we shine the spotlight on the Jerry Clarito, retired founding Executive Director of the Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment. Join us on April 27 to honor Jerry at Milestone! Get your tickets today!
Jerry Clarito retired as the founding Executive Director of Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE). During his term, Jerry built AFIRE’s capacity to represent the interest of the Filipino American community in the struggle for social justice inside and outside of the Asian American community of Illinois. AFIRE can now organize and mobilize Filipino Americans in protesting against police brutality, marching the streets of Chicago to raise voice against deportation, winning legislations and executive orders benefitting aspiring immigrants, and engaging Filipino Americans to learn and act together in addressing the root causes of inequalities, racism, exclusion from workers’ rights, and systemic injustices. Jerry has developed AFIRE’s ability to offer concrete services while building the collective power of the Filipino Americans.
As the national legislative director of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations in 2009, Jerry worked with the Filipino veterans (FilVets) and advocates in securing a one-time, lump-sum payment to eligible World War II FilVets. The victory came too late for many FilVets but their fortitude to achieve collective power through the more than sixty years of struggle has corrected a major historical injustice inflicted to the Filipino people by the U.S. government.
Jerry values developing leaders from the grassroots through training and practice. He himself has completed the Center for Third World Organizing Community Action Training in May 2013, the New People’s Action Leadership training in 2014, and the National Domestic Worker’s Alliance’s Strategy, Organizing and Leadership Program in 2015.
Jerry was elected to the Skokie Park District Board of Commissioner in 2005 and re-elected in 2011. In 2014, he served as one of the commissioners of the Illinois Asian American Employment Plan Advisory Council. He has received the Award of Recognition from Chicago Mayor Richard Daley for keeping Chicago’s neighborhood safe; the Certificate of Appreciation for Excellence in Community Service from the late Illinois State Treasurer Topinka; and the Achievement Award from Filipino American Voters League of the Midwest.