UNITED States President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris led America’s start of celebration of Filipino American History Month.
“Filipinos and Filipino Americans have helped forge the very idea of America. This Filipino American History Month, the Biden-Harris Administration is proud to honor generations of Filipino Americans who have ensured our nation remains a land of hope, opportunity, and optimism,” the White House posted on X (formerly Twitter) Sunday.
Filipino Americans are the fourth-largest Asian American ethnic group in the US after Mexicans, Indians, and Chinese. As of 2021 census, out of 45.3 million immigrants in the US, 2 million are from the Philippines. Nearly one in seven Asian immigrants in the US is a Filipino.
They are the first documented Asian people to arrive in the US.
Popular children’s television show, “Sesame Street,” also commemorated the start of Fil-Am History Month.
In their post on X, TJ, the first Filipino character muppet of the show, and Eugene Cordero, a Los-Angeles-based Fil-Am actor, and Cookie Monster shared a banter about a unique Filipino expression.
“Ayos!” Cordero said.
“That means ‘OK,’” TJ replied.
“Ayos!” Cookie Monster repeated, to the amusement of Cordero and TJ.
Cordero then segued to showcase Sesame Street’s celebration of the “amazing and rich cultural history of the Filipino-American community.” https://x.com/sesamestreet/status/1708466802513129809?s=20
A number of states and cities are also celebrating the Filipino American History month.
“CA is home to 1.5 million Filipino Americans. California is grateful for their immense contributions to our state’s rich tapestry. From culture and cuisine to art and innovation, your impact is immeasurable!” California Governor Eleni Kounalakis tweeted.
Philippine Consul General to Los Angeles Edgar Badajos also announced the launching of their project “Fil-AMazing Month” which will acknowledge the “sterling achievements” of renowned Fil-Ams.
The consulate will feature in their social media pages throughout the month of October Fil-Am achievers which include labor leader Larry Itliong, teen sensation Olivia Rodrigo, and standup comedian JoKoy.
After years of campaigning, the US Congress finally recognized the contribution of the Filipinos and Filipino Americans in the US. October 18, 1587 marks the first recorded arrival of Filipinos in continental America—in Morro Bay, California.
October is also the birth month of Filipino American labor leader Larry Itliong.
This is why in 2099, US Congress marks October as Filipino American History Month.
“Whether it be the 1587 landing at Morro Bay, California, the establishment of Juan St. Malo in Louisiana, the Delano Manongs and United Farmworkers’ contributions to labor rights, or our veterans and nurses serving our country, Filipino American history is American history,” the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI), also tweeted.
WHIAANHPI was organized by President Barack Obama in 2014 to bind communities from Asia, native Hawaiians and Pacific islanders who constitute the fastest growing ethnic group in the US.
In 2015, Obama became the first US President who celebrated the Filipino American History Month in the White House.
The highest concentration of Filipino migrants are in California (42 percent), Hawaii (6 percent), Texas, Illinois, Nevada and New York. If one wants to look further, they are mostly in Los Angeles, San Diego, Honolulu and Clark County.
Image credits: Eugene Cordero/Sesame Street's X