October marks a month’s worth of observing Filipino-American history in the United States. With a population of a million and growing, this is an appropriate action in understanding our deep ties in the land of the free. “Filipino Americans: Making History for 425 Years,” is this year’s theme and activities are lined up to showcase Fil-Am pride and the challenges presented to Filipino-Americans.
During the start of our exploits in America, Filipinos labored in the fields of California, worked in the Alaskan canneries and the Hawaiian sugar plantations. Where work was, the Filipino was there and very willing to take on the dirtiest of jobs. There were growing pains with this “coming together” with the Americans. Filipinos were discriminated and were treated like second-class citizens in the land of seemingly unlimited opportunities. Time and time again, we will prove our worth to the Americans. Laws will be changed, and attitudes will shift. Now, the Filipino-American is setting sights on continuously forging and preserving two identities crucial for his development in a fast-changing world.
425 years of shared heritage with the Americans will point out that the relationship is even older than the United States itself. As the years progress, Filipino-Americans will also be a part of the continuing process of change—of cultures cooperating on different issues. At the end of the day, it will always be about not forgetting one’s roots. At the same time, it is also important to remember the reasons that unite the various states of our cultural differences.
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