Episode 177 – Celebrations vs Commemorations vs Complications: How Should We Honor Filipino American History?


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Happy Filipino American HISTORY Month! How did you celebrate? Why did you celebrate?

The past month here in Southern California was filled with numerous events and moments where Filipino and Filipino American culture and heritage were celebrated, but only a handful seemed to spotlight and focus on Filipino American History itself. And while it may seem like splitting hairs, there are very specific and deliberate reasons for the word “History” to be included in the official designation of this month. When it was fist declared in a resolution by the Filipino American National Historical Society (FAHNS) in 1992, it was specifically proposed to be ” a significant time to study the advancement of Filipino Americans in the history of the United States,” a somewhat different proposition from the cultural dances and ube colored foods that tend to dominate social media feeds.

At the same time, the history that is often highlighted during this time can feel somewhat incomplete. For example, October was chosen by FAHNS for Filipino American History Month as a way to commemorate the date of the first recorded presence of Filipinos within the borders of what was to eventually become the United States. But what else do we know about that landing? Why were the “Luzones Indios” even there on that ship, what happened when they stepped foot in what is now Morro Bay, California, and is that worth celebrating? What defines a celebratory moment in our history? And what are we missing by not digging deeper?

Listen or download the episode through the embedded player on this page, find us on Mixcloud or subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts here. And for folks on Spotify, you can take a listen to us here.

And what should be on our future Filipino American History Month Advent Calendar? Let us know! Leave us a voicemail (805) 394-TFAL or email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com

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