October is Filipino American History Month

By Jim Bea Sampaga

Filipinos have a long history in Hawaii and the United States.

In the first half of 1900s, around 125,000 Filipino migrant workers called “Sakadas” worked in Hawaii’s sugarcane field. Just like in Hawaii, Filipino migrant workers also came to California in early 1900s to work as agricultural laborers in California’s Central Valley.

Over time, these Filipino migrant workers would petition their families back home to live with them in the U.S.

According to the 2010 Census, there are 3.4 million Filipinos in America, making the Filipino community the second-largest Asian American group in the US with high populations in Hawaii, California and Texas. In Hawaii, the Filipino community is the second-largest ethnic population in the state.

To celebrate the culture, heritage and history of Filipinos in America, October is Filipino American History Month (FAHM).

October was chosen to be FAHM because it commemorates the arrival of first Filipinos in Morro Bay, California back in October 1957. The U.S. Congress passed the resolution in November 2009 officially recognizing October as the month in which Filipinos celebrate and learn about their history in the country.

Throughout the month of October, Filipino groups, foundations and organizations are hosting events for Filipinos in the diaspora to participate. These events aim to educate Filipinos about their rich history in the state and country they currently reside in. They also encourage participants to engage in conversations about history and diaspora.

The Filipino American National Historical Society (FAHNS) announced this year’s FAHM theme: The History of Filipino American Activism.

According to the FANHS website, they chose “this theme highlight the myriad ways Filipino Americans have participated in social justice movement, including but not limited to, the United Farmworkers Movement, the fight for Ethnic Studies, Hawaii Sugar Plantation strikes, Washington Yakima strikes, and Anti-Martial Law Movements across multiple decades.”

In light of recent historical events and current issues that are affecting not only Filipino Americans but also the country, FAHNS felt that creating a safe space for discussion about the history of activism within the Filipino community during FAHM will encourage Filipinos to vote and support issues that are connected and personal to us.

“We believe this theme is particularly crucial in 2020, as it is a key election year and we are living amidst a pandemic and mass movement towards racial justice,” FAHNS further explained.

“Thus, we encourage all of our chapters and communities to reflect on decades of Filipino American activism, in order to inspire and foster our civic responsibility in the Filipino American community.”

In partnership with multiple Hawaii-based Filipino organizations, the Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu announced their October line-up of online events and seminars in celebration of FAHM.

OCTOBER 24
Branding things Filipino: What, Why, and How featuring Corinne Romabiles. Register via suyomano.com/hfa/.
Filipino American Heroism in World War II by Andrei Julian. Register at suyomano.com/hfa/.

OCTOBER 25
Pusong Filipinx Virtual Market Place. More information on facebook.com/pusongfilipinx and instagram.com/pusongfilipinx.

OCTOBER 26
Creative Resistance Within the Filipino Diaspora. More information on facebook.com/PHinHonolulu.

OCTOBER 27
Montanyosa: A conversation on regional cuisine of Northern Philippines featuring Chef Jo Seoung of Wow Baguio. More information on facebook.com/PHinHonolulu.

OCTOBER 28
“Pakada” Ilokano – English Children’s Book Launch. More information on facebook.com/ilokanoTM.

OCTOBER 30
32rd Annual Pamantasan 2020 Virtual Conference: Leading from where you are, moving forward, and staying focused! Register via pamantasan2020.wixsite.com/welcome.

Filipino American History Trivia Night – Battle of the Filipino Organizations hosted by Mystery Maui. Register via bit.ly/3j8Hq6d.

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