Rebuilding Life in the Phillipines

Edit: September 5, 2018

Tonight, our brother Nic Lopez is getting deported to the Philippines.

Growing up in poverty, Nic was a loner. His godfather decided to buy him two chickens for companionship. Nic took care raised the chicks and they were his only friends. But, his dad, who hadn't been around for 8 months came home one day and while Nic was out selling flowers, his dad butchered the chickens and cooked them. When Nic got home, he looked for his chickens and called out to them. His dad hears him and comes out with a bowl of chicken adobo and hands him his chickens.

Nic's first freedom dream is to build a chicken farm in the Philippines.


Nic Lopez was born in the Philippines and came to America at the age of 11, when he earned his first pair of shoes. Due to language and economic barriers, Nic was bullied and dropped out of school. He committed a crime at the age of 15 and went to prison when he was 16. Throughout his 29 years of incarceration, Nic has gone through major transformation. He built a community inside and started mentoring younger men and encouraging them to value their education and attend self-help groups. Nic was a founding member of the ROOTS (Restoring Our Original True Selves), a weekly Ethnic Studies-based program at San Quentin.

"Our youth are in need of culture, they've been taught through media that their culture doesn't matter, assimilate or risk being stigmatized/ostracized." 

He is also a big advocate for the LBGTQ community. He talks to the Asian and Pacific Islander folks inside about allyship and support for incarcerated queer folks. He says, "people who have the courage to be open in a place where everyone is hiding behind masks deserves respect." His younger sister identifies as a lesbian which he says gives him extra incentive to fight for queer folks because he wants his loved one to be able to live in a safe environment. 

One of his best and worst memories are of him and his mom selling flowers in the Philippines to survive. He taught himself how to make origami flowers as a symbol of his struggle and resilience. Instead of selling them, he gives them away as a way of him sharing with others things he cherishes in his life.

Nic recently won parole after serving 29 years in prison and is now sitting in ICE detention. Instead of fighting his case, Nic has chosen to sign his order for deportation to go back to the Philippines. He will have to learn the language, navigate a foreign place, and learn how to making a living.  For guys like Nic, suffering in deportation limbo after three decades of incarceration is not a viable option. Nic's only other choice is to choose deportation. 

Will you help support his freedom journey of rebuilding his life in a country he hasn't been to since he was 11?


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Tracy Hellafly Nguyen 
Oakland, CA
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