Sino Ako?

Emily P. Lawsin performs guerilla poetry on the sidewalks of Detroit’s abandoned Chinatown.

Emily P. Lawsin performs guerilla poetry on the sidewalk of Detroit’s abandoned Chinatown. © 2003 DETROIT FREE PRESS / PHOTO BY AMY LEANG


Emily P. Lawsin is National President Emerita (2020-2022) of the Filipino American National Historical Society and co-author of Filipino Women in Detroit, 1945-1955. She works as the Preservation Program Support Specialist for 4Culture in “SHE-attle”, Washington. For 30 years, she taught Asian American Studies, Filipino American History, Women’s Studies, and Oral History Methods in Michigan, Massachusetts, and California. An oral historian and spoken word performance poet since 1990, she has appeared on radio and stage throughout the United States and Manila.

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emily_p_lawsin_2017 Photo by Timothy Aguero copy

Emily P. Lawsin. Photo by Timothy Aguero for Poetry on Buses.


Emily P. Lawsin (she/her/siya) is a second-generation Pinay originally from “SHE-attle”, Washington, who believes in sharing history and HERstory through OURstories.

She joined the 4Culture staff in 2022 as the Historic Preservation Program Support Specialist. For 30 years, she “planted rice” in Detroit and Los Angeles, teaching Asian American Studies, Filipino American history and literature, Oral History Methods, Women’s and Gender Studies, Spoken Word Poetry, and Community Service-Learning courses at the University of Michigan, California State University Northridge, Wellesley College, and UCLA, where she earned a Master of Arts degree in Asian American Studies. For several years, she also worked as an academic advisor and continues to facilitate oral history trainings and writing workshops for many community organizations.

Emily served as National Scholar on the Board of Trustees of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) from 1992-2022, and as the 11th FANHS National President from 2020-2022. She is a co-founder of the Detroit Asian Youth Project, and started the Filipino Youth Initiative (FYI) classes at the Paaralang Pilipino Language & Cultural School.

She is the co-author, with Joseph Galura, of Filipino Women in Detroit, 1945-1955, Oral Histories from the Filipino American Oral History Project of Michigan, which produced the Pin@y Performance Project, intergenerational multimedia performances based on stories, poems, and memoirs of pioneers. She is also co-editor, with Dr. Joan May T. Cordova, of In Our Aunties’ Words: The Filipino Spirit of Hampton Roads (Virginia).

“Até”/”Auntie Emily’s” poetry and essays on war brides, students, and writers have been published in over 30 journals, newspapers, and anthologies, including: Flippin’: Filipinos on America; InvASIAN: Growing up Asian and Female in America; Going Home to a Landscape: Writings By Filipinas; The FANHS Journal; Teaching Asian America; Words Matter; International Examiner; disOrient 9 journalzine; Teaching About Asian Pacific Americans; Filipino American Psychology: A Collection of Personal Narratives; Walang Hiya: Literature Taking Risks Toward Liberatory Practice; Maganda Magazine; Our Own Voice Literary EZine: Filipinos in the Diaspora; Troubling Borders: An Anthology of Art and Literature by Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora; and Beyond Lumpia, Pansit and Seven Manangs Wild: Stories from the Heart of Filipino Americans. You can read and listen to her poem that is featured on buses, street cars, and light rail trains and stations in King County on

An award-winning educator, oral historian, advisor, motivational speaker, writer, and spoken word performance poet since 1990, she has performed on radio and stage throughout the United States and Manila.

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Click to listen to the songs that are usually played during Emily’s stage entrances: “A Little Bit of Ecstasy” [A Little Bit of Emily] by Jocelyn Enriquez and/or  “US” by Ruby Ibarra. 🙂