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Positive Filipino America is in the Heart: October is Filipino/a American History Month

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“America is also the nameless foreigner, the homeless refugee, the hungry boy begging for a job and the black body dangling from a tree. America is the illiterate immigrant who is ashamed that the world of books and intellectual opportunities is closed to him.

We are that nameless foreigner, that homeless refugee, that hungry boy, that illiterate immigrant and that lynched black body. All of us, from the first Adams to the last Filipino, native born or alien, educated or illiterate — We are America!”

~ excerpt from ‘America is in the Heart‘ by Carlos Bulosan

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Happy Filipino American History Month!

The California State Senate unanimously approved Senate Concurrent Resolution 48, authored by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo), declaring October as Filipino American History Month in 2009; its passage inspired similar bills in the U.S. Senate and Congress.

The Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) established October as “Filipino American History Month” in 1988 to commemorate the 225th anniversary of Filipino settlement in continental U.S.

While October 18, 1587, when the first “Luzones Indios” set foot in Morro Bay, California, is the earliest date attributed to Filipinos being on U.S. soil, FANHS recognizes 1763 as the date of the first permanent Filipino settlement in the U.S. in St. Malo Parish, Louisiana.

Today, California is home to over half of the Filipino population in the U.S. The U.S. Census Bureau reported in its 2007 American Community Survey approximately 3.1 million Filipino Americans. Also in 2007, the U.S. State Department estimated the size of the Filipino American community at 4 million or 1.5% of the U.S. population.

As our community grows into a force to be reckoned with demographically, economically, culturally, and politically, we should take time this October 2010 to reflect on our shared destiny and group responsibility as a people.

The global recession has had a stultifying effect on so much of society, inspiring anxiety, discontent and a negative outlook of the future that it is easy to think inwardly, and fall prey to the push/pull of personal interest.

In our personal affairs, bills need to be paid, but paying bills is the lowest common denominator of living. Life and living are two different things. Life has requirements of its own, among them, having meaning and purpose.

In the words of one of the fathers of Philippine liberation from Spain:

“It is a useless life that is not consecrated to a great ideal. It is like a stone wasted on the field for not being part of any edifice.” ~ Dr. Jose P. Rizal

Even, and especially, as conservatives and the Republican Party whip up discontent of “Others” and “Otherness” we should remain positive, engaged, out front, and not retreat into the shadows.

To get to this good place requires deliberate reflection. And October should inspire us to seek that good place.

May you all have a happy and positive Filipino American History Month!

Sources: http://www.servinghistory.com/topics/Filipino_Americans::sub::Demographics, http://www.dist08.casen.govoffice.com/index.asp?Type=B_PR&SEC={3FAFD1FE-DDB1-4B4E-980D-0779C3F23EC5}&DE={2F8AACF9-C7D7-49D4-B879-DE187160647B}, http://www.bulosan.org/html/in_his_words.html, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Filipino-American-History-Month/314380809392?filter=3

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Author: rbvergara

Born and raised in the Philippines. Moved to California on April 15, 1986 two months after Marcos was overthrown. Have been building a new life and stronger roots in Southern California since then.

4 thoughts on “Positive Filipino America is in the Heart: October is Filipino/a American History Month

  1. hahaha..well done!! Joey and I were just discussing..or rather I was discussing with him who started the “grape” revolution before Cesar Chavez got the credit for it and he just mocked me and said..mmmm adu lamin…hahaha…i love that book manong…i knew you took that excerpt from the book…thank you again for introducing me and making me aware of our contributions in Aremica as Papa would call it..it’s nice and about time we get recognized and people start being educated of our(well not literally) contributions.. 🙂 good job…4 thumbs up 🙂

  2. BRAVO and MAKIBAKA! Salamat for this 🙂

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