On October 5, 1978, President Jimmy Carter designated the first week of May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Week. Under President George H.W. Bush, the event was extended and became a month-long celebration in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander culture. The month of May was chosen to commemorate the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States on May 7, 1843. It also marks the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, which was laid mostly by Chinese immigrants. Today, the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) pays tribute to the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America’s history and are instrumental in its future success. Each May, cultural celebrations occur nationwide, and now even globally, through different channels of media, art, at schools, in museums, communities, and various social events.
The Asian American and NHPI (Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander) communities stand 20 million strong, with Asian Americans showing the fastest growth rate of any major racial or ethnic group in the United States. By 2055, Asians are projected to become the largest immigrant group in the country, surpassing Hispanics. And in 50 years, Asians will make up 38% of all U.S. immigrants. John F. Kennedy once said that “Our attitude towards immigration reflects our faith in the American ideal.” This ideal celebrates the rich cultural diversity of the American nation and honors the contributions of all immigrants. Indeed, the promise of living the American dream still holds sway over many, including our kababayans.
Filipinos (19%, or 3.9 million) are the 3rd largest single origin group, next only to Chinese (24%) and Indian-origin Asians (20%). The Philippines and the United States have long enjoyed time-tested friendship and mutual trust. In his column, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez wrote that in the wake of super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), one of the most powerful tropical cyclones ever recorded, the U.S. aircraft carrier USS George Washington was the first ship to arrive in the heavily devastated city of Tacloban. Over in the U.S., L.A. City Mayor Eric Michael Garcetti spoke of the growing popularity of Filipino food and culture in California, which has the largest Filipino American community in the U.S. But their friendship wasn’t built overnight.
In the year 1898, the U.S. battleship Maine exploded and sank in Havana Harbor. The blast provided the catalyst for a war with Spain that spread to its colonies in the Far East where Commodore George Dewey’s Asiatic Squadron defeated the Spanish fleet in the Battle of Manila Bay. As a result, the U.S. gained island possessions in the Pacific and the Caribbean, including the Philippines. These events enabled large numbers of Filipinos and other Pacific islanders to join the U.S. Navy.
Even then, Filipinos have been making waves wherever they go. A Filipina named Connie Mariano was the very first female director of the White House Medical Unit, the first military woman to be appointed as the White House Physician, and the first Filipino-American to become a Rear Admiral in the US Navy. In 1915, the Congressional Medal of Honor was awarded to a Filipino Navy Fireman First Class by the name of Telesforo de la Cruz Trinidad for rescuing two men after a boiler exploded on board San Diego. Over time, more and more Filipino-Americans continue to prove that ethnic diversity is a national asset and is something to be celebrated. The first Asian woman to pass the NY State Bar is a Filipino-born American lawyer and businesswoman named Loida Lewis who served as Attorney General for 10 years. In 1994, she became one of the first women to own and successfully run a billion-dollar empire. She was number one on the list of Top 50 Women Business Owners in America by Working Woman Magazine in 1995.
Today, many Filipino-Americans are making their mark in their respective fields in every facet of American society. Filipino-American chef Cristeta Pasia Comerford has been the White House Executive Chef since 2005 and is the first woman and first person of Asian origin to hold the post. She has served the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations. Over at Silicon Valley, Filipino entrepreneur and engineer Dado Banatao developed the first 10-Mbit Ethernet CMOS with silicon coupler data-link control and transceiver chip, the first system logic chipset for IBM’s PC-XT and the PC-AT, and the local bus concept, and the first Windows Graphics accelerator chip for personal computers. Countless others in the business sector, public offices, healthcare facilities, entertainment industry, academic institutions, and other branches of society are working behind the scenes to build a better future and open up new opportunities to collaborate.
“Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.” – Mahatma Gandhi
This year, as we celebrate Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, we intend to empower the Asian community as members of the global tapestry and recognize the vital roles they play in the fabric of American society. Now more than ever, all efforts towards the promotion of cultural diversity and ethnic representation are essential to advancing diplomacy and mutual understanding among nations. Wherever you are in the world, you can come and join us online as together, we make a stand for unity in diversity this May 2021.
Event: Asian Heritage Month Virtual Leadership
Theme: “Embracing Diversity. Empowering Inclusion. Breaking Barriers.”
Dates: May 5, 12, 19, and 26, 2021
Topics: Philippine-American History, Traditional Filipino Family Values, Guide to the Philippines, Filipino Martial Arts, T’boli Culture, and more
Where to watch: Broadcasted live on Suyomano Facebook page
How to register: https://suyomano.com/aapi2021/
Complete this form so you can take part in this amazing event celebrating Filipino culture and heritage! This event is FREE of charge and all participants get a promo code of 10% off Suyomano classes after signup. For more information, you may contact us at email@example.com
Suyomano is a Filipino virtual platform focused on cultural learning experiences touching on local languages, ancient scriptwriting, indigenous cultures and medicine, mythology, traditional martial arts, and beyond. We believe that bringing forth the best of Filipino cultural heritage will spark a global movement that will connect people around the world through cultural understanding. Visit us at https://suyomano.com/aapi2021/ to know more information about this event. For other questions or updates on new and/or free Suyomano classes, check out our website at www.suyomano.com, Facebook, Instagram, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.