Agnes Constante

Journalist & Blogger

Work Samples


As Cambodian deportations resume, community looks for ways to cope

NBC Asian America
April 20, 2018

Sothy Kum learned that he was being deported to Cambodia an hour before he boarded the bus that took him from an immigration detention center to an airport in El Paso, Texas, he said.

The 43-year-old didn’t have time to call his wife or change clothes beforehand, he added, and after more than 20 hours of travel, arrived in an unfamiliar country his family fled when he was about 2.

“Everything here is just totally the opposite in the U.S.,” Kum said. “The traffic, the way they ride their moped and go the wrong way. There’s no stoplight.”

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Wisconsin Teen Convicted of Homicide Withdraws Request for New Trial

NBC Asian America
May 18, 2017

A Wisconsin Hmong-American teenager convicted in the 2015 fatal stabbing of another teen has opted not to seek a new trial.

Dylan Yang, 17, who was convicted of first-degree reckless homicide in the death of 13-year-old Isaiah Powell, withdrew a motion for a retrial on Tuesday. The motion was filed in March by Yang’s attorney, Harry Hertel, who argued that his client’s first lawyer was ineffective.

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California City Bans Display of Vietnam National Flag on City Poles

NBC Asian America
Jan. 27, 2017

A Northern California city has become the first in the San Francisco Bay Area to ban the flag of the communist Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

The San Jose City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to ban the flag — a yellow star on a red background — from being displayed on city flagpoles, following in the footsteps of the Southern California city of Westminster, which adopted a similar resolution to ban the flag in December last year.

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Critics Accuse Disney of ‘Culture Theft’ Ahead of ‘Moana’ Release

NBC Asian America
Nov. 18, 2016

While many are looking forward to Disney’s “Moana” hitting theaters Thanksgiving weekend, some Pacific Islanders are not excited for the film. Ahead of its debut, “Moana” has become the subject of criticism from some who say it inaccurately depicts Polynesian culture and exploits it for profit.

“Through this project, Disney reached into the entire Pacific region and cherry picked here and there to create this fantasy of Polynesia,” Anne Keala Kelly, a Native Hawaiian filmmaker and journalist, told NBC News. “Polynesia isn’t a race and so that already is very problematic. There are millions of people in the Pacific, hundreds of languages.”

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Korean-American Org Turns Faith Leaders to ‘First Responders’ with Domestic Violence Training

NBC Asian America
Nov. 16, 2016

Many Korean-American survivors of domestic violence go first to their faith leaders for guidance, a nonprofit found in an in-house survey, but when the survivors approached those leaders, the leaders were unprepared.

That finding prompted the Los Angeles-based Korean American Family Services (KFAM) to host a Korean-language training about domestic violence targeted at faith leaders, the first of its kind in Southern California, according to the organization. The first leaders to finish program graduated earlier this month.

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California Governor Signs Bill Granting Overtime to Domestic Workers into Law

NBC Asian America
Sept. 13, 2016

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that grants permanent overtime protections to privately hired domestic workers in the state on Monday, in a victory for Filipino-American advocates who had pushed for the legislation.

“I am very thankful that SB 1015 was signed into law by Gov. Brown,” Emily, 57, a Filipino caregiver who declined to give her last name, told NBC News. “With SB 1015 making AB 241’s overtime provisions permanent, I don’t have to work as much to get so little pay. I get more of a choice on which shifts I want to take and I now have some breathing room between bills as well as more time to also care for my own health.”

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In California, Asian Americans find growing political power

NBC Asian America
April 19, 2018

LOS ANGELES — When Rob Bonta became California’s first Filipino-American state legislator in 2012, he wanted to show that someone who understood the Asian-American community could be a champion for it.

In his first year, he introduced a bill requiring schools to teach the Filipino-American role in California history, including in the farmworkers labor movement. That measure was signed into law the next year.

“That was very much inspired by my Filipino-American heritage, my family’s own personal experience in the movement, and was something I wanted to share more broadly with the larger Filipino-American community and the larger Asian-American community and the larger California community,” Bonta said.

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Hollywood is having a #MeToo moment. Women of color have fought this battle for decades.

NBC News
Jan. 28, 2018

Growing up, Farah Tanis was told she could expect two things once she decided to settle down: either her husband would cheat on her, or he would physically, sexually, or financially abuse her.

It was a message she said she received from women in her family who themselves had experienced abuse in their lifetime. She had relatives who were raped at 12 years old; others were as young as 5.

Tanis grew up in a home where she lived under sexual and physical terrorism, she said, and when she was a child, she became among the generations of women in her family who were victims of sexual violence.

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Rooted in Korean Folk Music Tradition, Samulnori Finds a Home in the 21st Century

NBC Asian America
Jan. 24, 2017

Sitting cross-legged on a black rectangular stage, Juyoung “Peter” Lim rapidly strikes a small, handheld gong, creating a high-pitched, metallic sound. Around him, several others follow his lead, playing three different percussion instruments at a fast tempo: an hourglass-shaped drum, a large gong, a barrel drum.

The musicians are members of a Korean percussion group called NORI, which was founded in 2007 and performs a type of traditional Korean music called samulnori. The genre was born from a Korean folk music tradition called pungmul, which NORI members explain is rooted in Korea’s agricultural history.

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‘Never Too Late to Change’: In Deportation Limbo, Tung Nguyen Wants to Help Fellow Felons

NBC Asian America
Jan. 23, 2017

Every day, Tung Nguyen lives in uncertainty.

A resident of Orange County, California, he works as a construction helper and takes on random jobs to make ends meet. His income is unstable.

But it’s not his financial insecurity that worries him most: It’s the fact that any day, he could be torn away from his wife and stepson and deported from the United States.

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Meet Wendell Alinea, Pacquiao’s official lensman
Nov. 2, 2016

On days that Manny Pacquiao is scheduled to enter the boxing ring, his photographer has a habit of going in beforehand to examine the indoor setting. He takes note of the kind of lighting available at the venue and adjusts the settings on his camera so he’s ready to shoot once the People’s Champ faces his opponent.

How a Second Chance Led Ex-Con Jay Ly to Some Stinkin Crawfish

NBC Asian America
Oct. 27, 2016

For Jay Ly, every workday is different.

Sometimes, he gets up at 6 a.m. to meet with contractors at the two currently under construction locations of a Cajun restaurant that he co-founded with friends called Stinkin Crawfish. Other times, he’s at the restaurant’s three existing branches, fixing the occasional clogged drain or broken power outlet.

He’s also busy coordinating with a friend and business partner about the two new locations, which are slated to be up and running by early 2017, perhaps even sooner.

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At ‘We Own The 8th,’ Support and Guidance for Asian-American Creatives

NBC Asian America
May 6, 2016

Gathered in a circle inside converted warehouse space in Los Angeles’ downtown, several dozen Asian-American creatives — producers, directors, filmmakers, cinematographers, actors, and others — are engaged in a discussion about working in entertainment.

“Why are we even giving the Oscars any power?” Matt Chu, 23, asks. “Why are we searching for validation from the Oscars?”

Several members of the group offer input about the lack of diversity.

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From earthquake kits to big business: George Rivera, CEO, Total Resources International shares his story of faith and success

Asian Journal
May 25, 2016

During lunchtime on a Wednesday, more than two dozen employees of first aid company Total Resources International (TRI) are gathered inside a fellowship hall in Walnut, California. Sitting behind transparent acoustic panels, George Rivera, the company’s CEO, strikes his drum sticks against the instrument in front of him while singing along to worship songs in English and Spanish.

“God is good,” Rivera says after the worship segment of the fellowship. “It’s up to us to recognize God’s goodness.” He also welcomes first-time guests and tells them that the fellowship hall is the most important building in the seven-acre facility his company stands on.

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Carlene Bonnivier: Retracing her Filipino roots and enriching cultural identity

Asian Journal
May 13, 2015

With green eyes, light hair, a pronounced nose and light skin, it’s easy to assume that 75-year-old Carlene Bonnivier is of European descent.

But if anyone were to ask what ethnicity she identifies with, she would say she’s Filipino.

Born to a Swedish-French father and Filipino-Spanish mother, Bonnivier is half European and only one-quarter Filipino. She has been to the Philippines twice and speaks limited Tagalog.

Still, she identifies most strongly with her Filipino roots.

Continue reading>>>

Lovelyn Marquez-Prueher: The First Fil-am Teacher Of The Year For California

Asian Journal
Jan. 14, 2015

The homeroom bell rings at 8:02am at Dodson Middle School in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

But as early as 6:30am, Lovelyn Marquez-Prueher, an English teacher at the school, unlocks her classroom door.

She takes some time to sweep the floor and clean her desk with Clorox wipes, while simultaneously meditating and mentally preparing for the day ahead of her.

She runs her lesson plans for the day in her mind, considers which students she wants to focus on that day and what questions she’ll ask the class.

When the bell signals the beginning of homeroom, she greets her students at the door.

Continue reading>>>



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