Brando Casiño embraces cultural identity through confidence, leadership

Kamalayan Alliance vice president hopes to educate others about his culture


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Cory Kay, News Editor


CSUSM student leader Brando Casiño draws confidence from his identity and through the communities with which he identifies, aiming to educate others and represent those who share his culture.

Casiño is a fourth­-year student at CSUSM, preparing to graduate as part of the class of 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in communication. He is also the current Vice President of Kamalayan Alliance (KA), an organization he has been involved with for three years.

The Kamalayan Alliance is an organization that aims to build a community of Filipinos and allies, while educating others about the ancestry and culture of the Filipino community.

Casiño identifies as a gay male within the LGBTQIA community, a Filipino and a Pacific Islander.

Embracing his identity has given Casiño more courage to be himself.

“Coming out definitely made me more confident, more open to things, willing to try new things,” said Casiño. “I was trying to figure out who I was and didn’t really accept it … but [since] I came out, I’ve just been more confident.”

Casiño also said that college itself has helped shape who he is through new experiences and leadership opportunities.

“KA also gave me great confidence to build my character as a leader,” he said. “When you become an officer, you have to lead the whole organization … and they look up to you as a mentor, so I have to be the face of KA.”

Being involved in KA has also motivated Casiño to be a representative of the Filipino community.

“We’ve been growing as a community. We’re becoming … a voice for the Filipino community,” he said.

Along with acting as a voice for the communities with which he identifies, Casiño also hoped to educate others about his identity both in classes and through KA.

“We use Kamalayan Alliance as a voice to spread awareness about the Filipino culture,” said Casiño. “Also, with me being gay, I also like to advocate for different activists who fought for our right to be here … there are a lot of people who don’t know history within the LGBTQIA community.”

Casiño said he hopes to leave a lasting impact on Kamalayan Alliance after graduating from CSUSM, along with Kamalayan Alliance President Andrea Aduna.

“We took it into our own hands to reshape KA, making it better than it was the year before,” said Casiño. “We’ve kind of guided the next president and … we gave her the opportunity to recreate it however she wanted, but she felt that our job wasn’t done this year,” he said.

Casiño was able to take charge of his college experience by seeking leadership opportunities and embracing his identity. Through these opportunities, Casiño also shapes his identity as a student throughout his years at CSUSM.