By Dr. Ted Jojola
Dr. Adelamar Alcántara, affectionately known as “Dely” to her family friends and colleagues, was born on January 19, 1948 in Moncada, Tarlac, Philippines. Her doctorate in sociology and demography was from the University of Hawaii, East-West Center. In 1982, she moved to the state as the NM state demographer eventually becoming the Director of the Geospatial and Population Studies program which she established at UNMin 2011. She also held the rank of Research Professor in the Community and Regional Planning Department.
As demographer, she was the first person to predict that NM would become a majority-minority state in the 1990s. Her population estimates became the gold-standard for policy development. In 2010, for example, her estimates came within 24 people of the official US Census count. She worked studiously with LUCA partners to identify missing households resulting in hundreds of millions of federal dollars being reclaimed over the decades.
She was also a fierce advocate of social justice and equity, especially for Asian-Americans. She was instrumental in having the NM legislature declare an official Asian-American day. She won numerous community awards for her advocacy. In 2006, she founded the NM Asian Family Center specifically to provide support for victims and survivors of domestic violence and related services to members of the Asian and Pacific islands community. She also served as president of the NM Filipino American Foundation, was founder of the Filipino American Community Council and was co-founder of the Rio Grande chapter of the Filipino American National Historical Society.
While President of the NM Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Foundation she mobilized statewide support to complete a memorial in Albuquerque’s Bataan park, something she felt strongly about, as her father was a Bataan death march survivor. In 2017, one of her last major accomplishments was the founding of a preschool Montessori school in her home town in the Philippines. The school is dedicated to her late son; the Manoa Alcántara Jojola International Center for Arts and Language (MAJICAL).
A few months after receiving the Dolores Huerta Si Se Puede award, Dely passed away unexpectedly in November of 2019. For her numerous accomplishments, the City of Albuquerque posthumously proclaimed December as Adelamar ‘Dely’ N. Alcántara month. Both the NM State Senate and House also declared April 1, 2020 “Adelamar ‘Dely’ N. Alcántara Remembrance Day.
She is survived by her husband of 44 years, Dr. Theodore (Ted) Jojola who is a Distinguished Professor and Regents’ Professor of Community and Regional Planning in the School of Architecture and Planning, UNM. Two memorial trusts in her name have been established at the Albuquerque Community Foundation. One is in support of NM Filipino cultural activities and the other is in support of the NM Asian Family Center