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Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal Awarded to Migrante BC Community Organizers  

By Erie Maestro
February 17, 2013

Vancouver, BC. -- Migrante BC is proud to announce that Jane Ordinario and Leo Alejandria, both community organizers, were awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal at two separate medal awarding ceremonies in Vancouver.
 Jane Ordinario Diamond Jubilee Medal awardee with MLA Shane Simpson, MLA Vancouver Hastings

The Diamond Jubilee Medal was created to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada and to honour the significant contributions and achievements of 60,000 deserving Canadians.
Leo Alejandria Diamond Jubilee Awardee shown here with Mable Elmore MLA Vancouver Kensington

Jane Ordinario and Leo Alejandria were both recognized for their contributions in grass roots organizing. Both are Founding Members of Migrante BC, a  community based organization of Filipinos in British Columbia  which works to promote and protect the rights and welfare of  Filipino immigrants, caregivers and temporary foreign workers.  
Awardees with MP Don Davies and MLA Mable Elmore at the Polish Community Centre_Leo Alejandria on top row

Jane Ordinario is a senior support w­­orker for vulnerable women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and a doula (labour coach) for many immigrant women during childbirth. Her long-time commitment and effectiveness in organizing women and migrants came from her own personal experience as a domestic worker in Singapore and later as a live-in caregiver in Canada under the Foreign Domestic Movement. For many years, she worked as a program coordinator with a local women’s centre. In 2008, she helped found the grassroots community organization Migrante BC. 
Jane Ordinario with MLA Elmore, Marjorie Eda & Vivien Oropel (Migrante BC) & Mrs. Eda

Leo “Tzhong” Alejandria is a custodian for the North Vancouver School Board. Outside of his working hours, Leo heads the Migrante BC committee on temporary foreign workers (TFW) which reaches out and organizes Filipino temporary foreign workers in British Columbia. Before coming to Canada over two decades ago, Leo worked as a community organizer in the urban poor and workers sectors during the Marcos dictatorship.
Alejandria organized his fellow custodians into the Association of Concerned School Custodians of North Vancouver School District 44. Their recent project called “Books to Go” delivered over 6000 books to public schools in the Philippines through their partnership with a Philippine progressive teachers’ organization.  Leo is also active in civic and political engagement, as a volunteer to get people to vote and be politically active in their ridings.
Both are also active in Migrante Canada, a Canada-wide alliance of 16 chapters from coast to coast.  Jane Ordinario serves as the Treasurer of Migrante Canada and Leo Alejandria is the representative  for B.C.
Awardees with MP Libby Davies and MLAs Jenny Kwan and Shane Simpson at the Heritage Hall Top row_ane Ordinario at the back

Leo Alejandria, in his interview with Balitang Canada, said: "Inaalay ko ito sa lahat ng aking
tinutulungan na mga manggagawa, hindi lang Pilipino kundi Canadian, mga kasama ko sa trabaho kasi para sa kanilang lahat ito. (I dedicate this to all of the workers we serve, not only Filipinos, but also Canadians, my fellow custodians, because this is also for them.)"
Jane Ordinario hopes that with this recognition, the message that to be an activist in the community, to speak out for migrant rights and welfare will resonate with making a positive difference. "The word activist or aktibista, from where we come from, unfortunately carries a negative image; to be an activist in the community, especially in our work with Migrante BC with caregivers and temporary foreign workers, is to do good work and advocate for change." 
“I am honoured to pay tribute to the women and men who quietly and tirelessly work behind the scenes to make our community and country a better place," according to Libby Davies, Member of Parliament, Vancouver East. Jane Ordinario and Leo Alejandria are deserving recipients of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal because of their tireless volunteer work in community organizing and advocacy for caregivers and other temporary foreign workers.  For Jane and Leo, helping migrants find their voice so they can speak out is the start of empowering people to stand up and fight not only for themselves but for others. Community organizing happens on the ground, away from the limelight. Work is painstaking, sometimes frustrating and challenging but work that needs to be done, in the spirit of genuine volunteer community service.
QE II Diamond Jubilee Award in YouTube by Balitang Canada:

Another Filipino awardee was Avelina Vasquez, a member of the Hospital Employees Union and a leader with the Living Wage Campaign; Avelina is also a Migrante BC member.

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