October is Filipino American Heritage Month. Filipinos not only have a long history in America but they as a people have contributed their share to the American culture and society.
Growth of the Asian Community
Asians are now the fastest growing immigrant group in America, overtaking the Hispanics in 2013. Although Asians (those who were born of both Asian parents) are still less than 10% of the U.S. population they are now an undeniably growing force in many aspects of American life in several major cities across the United States.
And although Filipinos are still only second to the Chinese in terms of numbers, they are tops in the State of California and they also comprise the largest Asian group in Southern California.
Filipinos: Celebrating Over 400 Years In America
October 5, 2011, Bill Number S. Res 287 Agreed to Senate designated October 2011 as Filipino American History Month.
The reasons set forth were:
In October 18, 1587 the first Filipinos (Luzones Indios) set foot in California marking the first documented Filipino presence in the continental United States.
In the year 1763, the first permanent Filipino settlement in the United States in Louisiana was verified and it was recognized by the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS).
This first permanent Filipino settlement in the United States added a new perspective to United States history by bringing attention to the economic, cultural, social, and other notable contributions that Filipino Americans have made in countless ways toward the development of the United States.
The Filipino-American community is the second largest Asian-American group in the United States.
Filipino-American servicemen and servicewomen have a longstanding history of serving in the Armed Forces, starting from the Civil War to the present, including the 250,000 Filipinos who fought under the United States flag during World War II to protect and defend the United States.
Nine Filipino Americans have received the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force that can be bestowed to an individual serving in the Armed Forces.
Filipino Americans play an integral role in the United States health care system as nurses, doctors, caregivers and other medical professionals.
Filipino Americans have contributed greatly to music, dance, literature, education, business, journalism, sports, fashion, politics, government, science, technology, the fine arts, and other fields in the United States that enrich the landscape of the country.
Thus there was a need for continued efforts to promote the study of Filipino American history and culture, because the roles of Filipino Americans and other people of color have largely been overlooked in the writing, teaching, and learning of United States history.
And that it is imperative for the Filipino-American youth of today to have positive role models to instill in them the significance of education, complemented with the richness of their ethnicity and the value of their legacy.
Filipinos In America
In October 2009, through their efforts, the Senate of the 111th U.S. Congress finally passed a resolution (S. RES 298) recognizing Filipino American History Month.
In November 2009, Congress passed the resolution (H. RES. 780) officially recognizing October as Filipino American History Month.
Incidentally it is now over 425 years since the 1587 “unofficial” landing of the first Filipinos in the US Mainland, which is less than 100 years after Christopher Columbus first arrived in the New World.
Filipinos have been silently contributing to the history of America for over four centuries, and only time can tell if they can be finally recognized much more credited for their efforts.