Commissioner Clarito receives Milestone Award

(5.18.16) The Skokie Park District salutes district commissioner Jerry Clarito, who was recently awarded a 2016 Milestone Award by 'Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Chicago.' 

The following is the story as featured on the AAAJ website.

(April 20, 2016) 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 now organizes and mobilizes Filipino Americans in protesting against police brutality, marching the streets of Chicago to raise voice against deportation, winning legislation and executive orders benefiting 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 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 on the Filipino people by the U.S. government.

Jerry values developing leaders at the grassroots level 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 Commissioners 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 neighborhoods safe; the Certificate of Appreciation for Excellence in Community Service from the late Illinois State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka; and the Achievement Award from the Filipino American Voters League of the Midwest.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice—Chicago, a member of Advancing Justice, looks to empower the Asian American community through advocacy, by utilizing education, research, and coalition-building.

Advancing Justice-Chicago was established in 1992 by a group of Chicago community activists, academicians, and business leaders in response to the growing need to build a pan-Asian policy agenda among Chicago’s diverse Asian American communities. Advancing Justice-Chicago projects a united voice on the most pressing issues of concern to Asian Americans in metropolitan Chicago. Its staff and board work closely with a broad network of established community leaders and emerging activists who have bridged ethnic and cultural differences to find solutions to shared concerns.

Specifically, Advancing Justice-Chicago works to empower the Asian American community by:

  • Increasing public understanding about Asian American communities,
  • Advocating for policies that promote social, economic, educational and political equity of the community as a whole,
  • Encouraging active civic participation through education and advocating for equal rights, and
  • Working in partnership with and supporting like-minded organizations and individuals to build positive interracial and inter-ethnic relations.