Fil-Am rapper Ruby Ibarra honored with Youth Leadership award in San Francisco


RUBY IBARRA. The Fil-Am rapper performs at the 2019 Malasimbo music festival in Puerto Galera.

Paolo Abad/Rappler

The San Francisco Immigrant Rights Commission honors its local immigrant leaders

Filipino-American rapper and scientist Ruby Ibarra was recognized by the San Francisco Immigrant Rights Commission, which awarded her with a Youth Leadership award on Tuesday, June 15.

The commission’s Immigrant Leadership Awards recognized 10 immigrant leaders in San Francisco, in celebration of National Immigrant Heritage Month in the United States.

The awarding was held online, attended by San Francisco Mayor London Breed and US Senator Alex Padilla.

The Youth Leadership award given to Ibarra “recognizes a courageous immigrant leader under the age of 35, who has helped or inspired other immigrant youth in their community and beyond.”

Accepting the award, Ruby thanked her mentors, role models, and collaborators, many of whom are also first- and second-generation immigrants.

She also thanked her mother, “who showed me at an early age that being an immigrant does not tell me where home is, but that it helps guide me to building home through community.”

“When I think of the word ‘immigrant,’ I think of the people who have undeniably built this country, but I also recognize that a lot of work still needs to be done, from continuing to dismantle systemic racism, to addressing the growing violence and attacks on the Asian-American community, to protecting the children who continue to be separated from their families because of certain systems in place,” she said.

“Progress is not made through barriers or walls. Progress is done by uplifting each other and ensuring that people are able to fulfill their potential. This is for the immigrants in our community, this is for the dreamers, this is for us. No one is illegal, we belong here, and we’ve been here,” she continued.

Ibarra was born in Tacloban and immigrated with her family to the United States as a child. The immigrant experience has been prevalent in her music, with songs like “Us,” “Brown Out,” “Background,” and “Here” exploring themes of identity, colorism, and the concept of home.

She is also a biotech scientist and worked in a lab involved in developing test kits and vaccines for COVID-19. – Rappler.com