Celebrating Filipino-American Heritage Month!

The 1960’s paved the way for Filipino-Americans today.

In 1965, the US ended laws that restricted its open-doors to Europeans. Thanks to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, Africans and Asians–including Filipinos!– were able to chase after their American dreams.  In 1966, American Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (majority Filipino) and the United Farm Workers (majority Mexican) in Delano, California came together to fight for farmers’ rights. (source)

Just this year, California officially recognized the Filipino-American leader of American Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee for his activism for labor rights by commemorating October 25th as Larry Itliong Day. California even passed a bill to officiate his holiday! (source)

“The accomplishments and contributions of Larry Itliong should be properly memorialized within the history and culture of the United States of America. Larry Itliong deserves proper recognition for his numerous sacrifices in the name of justice and the suppression of several inadequate working conditions.”

Nearly forty years after Itliong’s fight, Filipino-Americans cherish the rights and recognition our manongs and manangs earned for us by celebrating Filipino-American Heritage Month! I’m honored to say Empire and I were invited to three Fil-Am community events this past Saturday.

First up, Filipino-American Heritage Day by Daly City Park and Rec! I couldn’t make it to this one (I’ll tell you why soon enough) but Christopher@Empire and Jelyn@Empire represented! According to the two, it was a success and a family-fun opportunity for the pinoy population to share their talents.IMG_1480

Our friend Vee of LittleHoneyVee also vended that day– be sure to check out her quirky artwork here!

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I couldn’t attend the Daly City celebration because Akbayan of SJSU invited me to be a career panelist for RAAP Conference. RAAP (Raising Awareness Amongst Pilipinos) is a one-day conference in which high school and college students gather to learn about topics such as higher education, careers, and art and how being Filipino plays a role in all the above.

From an engineer to a production assistant– these hard-working leaders shared their experience on how college relationships and organizations, internships, and love for the Filipino community helped them achieve their career goals.

I feel so blessed to be chosen as a panelist among these individuals!  I worked with almost all of them in some shape or form during my college career and they’ve seen me grow from a dorky college freshman… to a dorky graduate freshman. It was a great reunion and I hope we helped inspire the next generation of collegiate leaders! Thank you Akbayan!

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Akbayan’s annual MaBOOhay showcase topped off our Fil-Am eventful day! For the sixth year in a row, the Empire Team set up shop to share our message of dream-chasing to SJSU.  I was a bit nervous to come back considering I graduated two years ago (and I hardly recognize anyone in San Jose anymore) but! It looked like our connection to the SJ crowd is still as strong as ever! Seeing how much students connected with the clothing and art pieces overwhelmed me with happiness.

This has to be my favorite day of Fil-Am celebration.

Thank you to everyone for your support! I hope that we can continue to play a role in being a part of your dream-chasing journey!

To my fellow Fil-Ams– don’t let that golden skin of yours limit your venture! Use your gifts to take advantage of the rights the older generations earned for us and give back.

-ChiChai@Empire

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