A Time to Rise

Collective Memoirs of the Union of Democratic Filipinos (KDP)

Edited by Rene Ciria Cruz, Cindy Domingo, and Bruce Occena
Foreword by Augusto F. Espiritu

  • Published: October 2017
  • Subject Listing: Asian American Studies; Pacific Northwest / History; Biography, Autobiography, and Memoir
  • Bibliographic information: 368 pp., 15 bandw illus., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Contents

A Time to Rise is an intimate look into the workings of the KDP, the only revolutionary organization that emerged in the Filipino American community during the politically turbulent 1970s and '80s. Overcoming cultural and class differences, members of the KDP banded together in a single national organization to mobilize their community into civil rights and antiwar movements in the United States and in the fight for democracy and national liberation in the Philippines and elsewhere.

These personal accounts document recruitment, organizing, and training in the KDP. More than two-thirds of the stories are by women, reflecting the powerful role they played in the organization and its leadership. Also included are chapters on the struggle for justice for murdered KDP and union leaders Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes. These memoirs offer political insights and inspiring examples of personal courage that will resonate today.
Rene Ciria Cruz is US bureau chief for, the official site of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. He was a founding member of the KDP and editor of their newspaper, Katipunan. Cindy Domingo is a long time human rights activist and joined the KDP in the fall of 1974. After the murders of Gene Viernes and her brother Silme Domingo, she became national coordinator of the Committee for Justice for Domingo and Viernes until the group won its landmark federal civil suit against the Marcoses and their codefendants in 1989. Bruce Occena is a health care professional and instructor at City College of San Francisco. He was a founding member of the KDP and chaired the National Executive Committee.

"An incredibly provocative and much-awaited book. A Time to Rise is a collective of multiple voices bound together by struggles that spanned two nations."
-Rick Bonus, author of Locating Filipino Americans: Ethnicity and the Cultural Politics of Space

"A Time to Rise is a major contribution to the study of social justice movements and the interwoven landscapes of U.S., Philippine, and Filipino American history."
-Catherine Ceniza Choy, author of Empire of Care: Nursing and Migration in Filipino American History

"A Time to Rise is an intimate and highly inspiring account of the extraordinary efforts that a revolutionary group of Filipino immigrants and Americans of Filipino ancestry exerted to help overthrow the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines while simultaneously fighting for their democratic rights as minorities in the United States. "
-Risa Hontiveros, Akbayan Citizen's Action Party Chairperson, Member, Senate of the Philippines

Foreword / Augusto F. Espiritu
Introduction: A Snapshot-The Life and Times of the KDP / Rene Ciria Cruz

Part One Beginnings
1. To Teach the Masses a Love for Bach, Chopin, and Beethoven / Therese R. Rodriguez
2. "Who Is Marshall Law?" / Jeanette Gandionco Lazam
3. How My Life Changed / Romy Garcia
4. What's in a Name? / Christine Araneta
5. Running Away to Life / Estella Habal
6. A Little Red Book / David Della
7. Not the Usual Path / Bo Apostol (as told to his daughter
Rebecca Apostol)
8. The Accident / Dale Borgeson
9. In the Name of Love / Maribel Salomon
10. Different Roads Home / Velma Veloria

Part Two In the Thick of the Struggle
1. The Birth of a KDP Chapter / Dale Borgeson
2. No Aloha for Marcos / Sorcy Apostol
3. Between the Personal and the Political / Estella Habal
4. Transfer to Paradise . . . Not! / Walter Yonn
5. Hitting the High Notes / Gil Mangaoang
6. Fighting US Imperialism with a Master's Degree / Cindy Domingo
7. Infiltrating the World Bank / Jon Melegrito
8. Moving to Gotham / Lourdes Marzan
9. Defending Nurses-I'd Do It Again / Esther Hipol Simpson
10. They Won't Know What Hit Them / Elaine Elinson
11. Working the Corridors of Power / Odette Polintan
12. A Cultural Gypsy / Ermena Vinluan
13. "Is This What You Call Democracy?" / Jeanette Gandionco Lazam
14. Why Me? / Amado David
15. In the Armed Struggle / Ka Linda

Part Three The Test of Fire
1. The Fall / Alonzo Glenn Suson
2. The Terrible Blow / Dale Borgeson
3. Initiation from Hell / Emily Van Bronkhorst
4. A Day I'll Live with for the Rest of My Life / David Della
5. A Memory of Strong Women / Lillian Galedo
6. How Do I Size a Bulletproof Vest? / Kris Melroe
7. We Had Already Lost Too Much to Turn Back /Terri Mast
8. A Night in Camelot / Michael Withey
9. Long Road to Justice / Cindy Domingo
10. Defeating the Marcoses in a Court of Law / Jim Douglas

Part Four Looking Back
1. Revolutionary Baby / Rebecca Apostol
2. Scooby Doo: Growing Up with the KDP / Silahis M. Taverna
3. One February Night in San Francisco / Fely Villasin
4. I Have Not Stopped Dreaming / Estella Habal
5. Deep Horizon / Gil Mangaoang
6. No Regrets / Edwin Batongbacal

Afterword / Rene Ciria Cruz
Appendix I: List of Abbreviations
Appendix II: Ang Aktibista, "Orientation to Philippine Support Work in the Current Period"
Appendix III: KDP Activism Timeline / Compiled by Helen Toribio
Suggested Reading
IndexReal Change

"A Time to Rise comes out at an opportune time as another fascist regime emerges in the Philippines. As in the past, former KDP activists have responded to the call to fight back."
-Boying Pimentel,

"This nearly 20-year project is a remarkable documentation of one of the leading revolutionary Asian American Movement organizations. . . . A Time to Rise provides much greater complexity to teaching and learning about both Filipino American and Asian American movement history. . . . More than lessons of the past, A Time to Rise illuminates the way forward to complete unfinished revolutions."
-Tracy Lai, International Examiner

"About much more than politics, this collection opens a window on the lives people lead when they set out to change the world. . . . Dedication, humor and simple good writing make this collection a worthwhile exposure of a piece of recent history."
-Mike Wold, Real Change News