FilVetREP Chairman Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba (Ret), and other members of the FilVetREP board and executive committee – Bing Branigin, Sonny Busa, Gem Daus, Margaret Lacson-Ecarma and Jon Melegrito – were at her bedside in the days and hours before she died.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the family of Mitzi,” said Maj. Gen. Taguba. “Mitzi will always be remembered as a passionate advocate for social justice and civil rights. She played an active role in our national campaign to secure the Congressional Gold Medal for Filipino and American World War II Veterans.”
Mitzi was a prominent civic leader in the Washington DC area’s Filipino American community since the 1980s. A breast cancer survivor, she inspired so many people in her courageous battle after she was first diagnosed in 2001. The cancer returned in May 2018.
Even while undergoing treatments that took a heavy toll on her body, Mitzi continued to be actively engaged in the issues and causes of Filipino Americans. Among her notable efforts, she helped raise funds for Filipino World War II Veterans, advocated for immigrant rights, mentored Filipino young professionals, and promoted humanitarian projects such as the restoration of heritage churches when Bohol was struck by 2013’s 7.2 earthquake and super typhoon Haiyan as well as being involved in the relief campaign for Taal Volcano victims in the Philippines.
Mitzi was born in Manila on February 15, 1961, to Joseph Pickard and Lillian Era. She attended high school at the International School in Manila and graduated from Whitman College in Washington state.
Her professional life included positions as a program associate at the Meridian International Center, program director for the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS), and director for resource development at the Asia Society, where she served for nine years.
Survivors include her sister, Sandy Pickard of Fairfax, VA. and her brother Kent Pickard of Arlington, VA.
A memorial service to celebrate her life will be held later this year in Washington DC.