Proud to be Filipino-American
About three years ago, the Hawaii State Legislature approved HB 3343 declaring October as Filipino-American History Month. This law recognized the significant and fecund contributions of the Filipinos and Filipino Americans in the social, political, and economic life of Hawaii. Likewise, it affirmed that Filipino and Filipino Americans have the right to celebrate its history in their new homeland.
The plantation workers—popularly known as “sakadas”—initially coming the Ilocos, paved the way for this history to have its own place within the larger history of the state, and by extension, the broader historical narrative of the United States.
Across the years, we see them, these workers, and in tandem with the other workers contributing both brains and brawns, they helped propel Hawaii economy and moved this state to a development phase never seen before. We see the trajectory of this narrative: from the plantations to factories, from hotels to hospitals, and from resorts to schools.
Today, Filipinos operate their own businesses. Today, they occupy major positions in the banking, hotel, and retail industries. We have also witnessed Filipino-Americans occupying positions in the government.
In his article, “Honoring the Past by Creating the Future,” as published in “ANAK, ” Vince Bagoyo wrote:
“We are politicians, attorneys, soldiers, entrepreneurs, bakers, gardeners, and bankers. Can you imagine if we all unite and become one entity? We would be indestructible. So where do we go from here? We stay united and work on strengthening that unity. We stay less concerned with our own selfish ambition and remember the greater good. We teach our children struggle so that they might be stronger. We educate ourselves. We celebrate the past.”
With that said, let us be proud of who we are. Let us also rejoice for all our collective achievements. And let us look ahead and move forward towards a brighter future.
Aloha and Mabuhay!