Biden honors Filipinos on FilAm History Month

By Jun Nucum

WASHINGTON  — US President Joe Biden greeted Filipino community and paid tribute to Filipino American frontliners working during “one of the darkest years in our history” as the nation kicked off the celebration of Filipino American History Month.

In a statement issued by the White House, Biden recognized Filipino Americans’ contribution in the fight against the global health crisis, saying they have been “selflessly working on the widespread frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

At the same time, the US president said,  “Filipino American History Month gives us an opportunity to reflect on the achievements and milestones of Filipino Americans across the Nation.”

“Their contributions are reflected in some of our Nation’s greatest triumphs and struggles. When the United States and our allies overcame enemy forces to bring World War II to an end, Filipino Americans were fighting on the frontlines to make our victory possible. When Filipino farmers workers organized across the Nation, including the Delano Grape Strike in California, they catalyzed permanent changes that improved the conditions of farm labor in the United States,” Biden added.

He noted that Filipino Americans have continued to serve and sacrifice on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“According to one study from last fall, while Filipino Americans comprised just four percent of nurses in the United States in 2020, they accounted for nearly a third of all nurses who tragically lost their lives due to COVID-19,” Biden said.

“Today, our nation mourns their losses and honors the tremendous contributions of Filipino Americans during this global health crisis and throughout our history,” he added.

“Filipino Americans are an essential part of our nation’s strength and diversity, a living reminder of the courage of immigrants, and a growing force in our civic movements and engagement,” he said.

Biden concluded his statement by thanking the Filipino American community for their sacrifices and service.

Filipinos’ recorded presence in the continental United States dates as far back as October 1587

Fil-Am California Attorney General Rob Bonta proudly tweeted a warm MABUHAY:

“As CA’s first #FilAm Attorney General, I’m proud to celebrate the vast contributions of the Filipino American community to our nation & state. Filipino American history IS Californian history AND American history,” Bonta said.

For its part, the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) shared the Filipino American History Month 2021 theme as 50 Years Since the First Young Filipino People’s Far West Convention as this year marks the 50th anniversary of the First Young Filipino People’s Far West Convention in Seattle University in 1971 and is hailed as the beginning of the Filipino American Movement.

Participated in by over 300 young Filipino American delegates from the West Coast of the US, the convention led by then-Filipino Youth Activities, Inc. (FYA) Youth Director, Dorothy Laigo Cordova and convention chair, Anthony Ogilvie were held annually between 1971 and 1982, in places like Seattle, Los Angeles, Stockton, and Berkeley.

Among the community celebrations is the commemoration of 50th anniversary of the First Young Filipino People’s Far West Convention in Seattle University in 1971, when over 300 young Filipino American delegates from the West Coast of the US gathered, starting an annual get-together until 1975.

Also, a month-long exhibit in October will be held by Bataan Legacy Historical Society, the USS Hornet Museum, the Friends & Family of Nisei Veterans and the USS Telesforo Trinidad Campaign for Filipino American History Month.

The centerpiece of the exhibition will be Telesforo Trinidad, a Filipino sailor who received the Medal of Honor in 1915 for his heroic actions on board the USS San Diego.  A campaign is being conducted to name a U.S. Navy ship after Telesforo Trinidad.

The Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco and the Philippine Medical Society of Northern California (PMSNC), will hold a free health screening and education event on Thursday Oct. 28, dubbed as “Health Day sa Konsulado” to mark the 75th Anniversary of Philippines-U.S. Diplomatic Relations at the Kalayaan Hall Philippine Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Ferrer also announced that extension of the overseas voting registration period for the 2022 Philippine National Elections for Filipinos is until Thursday Oct. 14, 2021, at the Philippine Consulate General at 447 Sutter Street, San Francisco, California.

Filipino voters may register at the Consulate Mondays through Fridays except holidays, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Pacific Time) and on Oct. 9, 2021from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Pacific Time), for a special Saturday overseas voting registration