PRESIDENT Joe Biden marked the start of October as Filipino American History Month by honoring the Fil-Am community’s contributions to the United States, especially amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“Filipinos have continued to serve and sacrifice in one of the darkest years in our history, selflessly working on the widespread frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the president said in a statement on October 1.
He cited data that shows despite Filipinos comprising around 4% of the nursing population, they accounted for nearly a third of nurse deaths from COVID-19.
Read President Biden’s statement honoring Filipino American History Month: pic.twitter.com/DE29L12qt2
— White House AANHPI (@WHIAANHPI) October 1, 2021
“Today, our Nation mourns their losses and honors the tremendous contributions of Filipino Americans during this global health crisis and throughout our history,” he added.
Biden also noted the Fil-Ams contributions “reflected in some of our Nation’s greatest triumphs and struggles,” including fighting in World War II and the farmworkers who organized the Delano Grape Strike, one of the most important labor movements in the country’s history.
“This month, we come together as one Nation to honor the history of service and sacrifice of our Filipino American community and to welcome the future achievements of their youth,” the president said. “May we celebrate their stories, culture, and contributions today and every day, and may their resilience continue to inspire us all.”
He ended his statement by thanking the community “for all you endure to make our union more perfect.”
In 2009, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution recognizing the annual celebration of Filipino American History Month. In 1991, the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) board of trustees proposed the first annual Filipino American History Month to commence in October 1992. The month was chosen to commemorate the arrival of the first Filipinos who landed in what is now Morro Bay, California on October 18, 1587.
Annually, Fil-Am communities across the United States mark the month with celebrations to honor and learn about the population’s contributions to the nation’s history.
There are about 4.2 million Filipinos in the U.S., according to the Pew Research Center making them the third-largest Asian origin group in the country.