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Filipino American History Month

By Samantha Padilla

In the United States, October is recognized as Filipino American History Month. According to Wikipedia, “ In 1991, the Filipino American National Historical Society board of trustees proposed the first annual Filipino American History Month to commence in October 1992.”

Why is this celebrated?

FAHM (Filipino American History Month) is celebrated every October to mark the anniversary of the first recorded evidence of Filipinos in America. Filipinos were the first documented Asian people to arrive in the United States. They are the second-largest Asian-American community in the U.S. and the third-largest racial group in California. It is a month set aside to celebrate the history, aspirations, successes, and legacy of Filipino Americans in the country.

Each year FAHM is recognized with a special theme, with last year being “50 Years Since the First Young Filipino People's Far West Convention” and this year is “Past, Present, Future”. This year's theme emphasizes celebrating Filipino legacies. 2022 marks:

  • 60th anniversary of the first Tagalog course taught at the University of Hawaii

  • 50 years of Filipino American Studies in U.S. colleges

  • 40 years of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS)

  • 30 years of Filipino American History Month

Historically, Filipino immigrants have found it easy to enter the U.S. workforce through caregiving and nursing. The history of Filipino nurses in the U.S. dates to the establishment of American-style nursing schools in the Philippines during the U.S. occupation in the early 1900s. There was an inflow of foreign-born nurses, notably many Filipinos, to cover nursing shortages across the nation after WWII and again in the 1960s.

How can FAHM be celebrated?

There are many ways in which we can learn more about and celebrate Filipino American history. Some of these include:

  • Learning snippets of Filipino American history throughout the month

  • Immerse in FAMH through stories, film, and media

  • Stream Fil-Am music to uplift our voices. Some of your favorite artists are Filipino American, for example: Bruno Mars, Olivia Rodrigo, H.E.R., AJ Rafael, Jeff Bernat, etc.)

  • Have a Kamayan! A Kamayan is a Filipino feast, composed of colorful arrays of food that are usually served on banana leaves and eaten without utensils.

  • Google Arts & Culture - Explore the history, arts, and culture of Filipino Americans in the United States.

Celebrate Filipino American history, people, art and culture yesterday, today, and tomorrow!

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