Celebration of Filipino History Month kicks off at White House
Filipino History Month kicked off at the White House early October with traditional and modern musical acts performing, and speakers talking about the challenges facing the Filipino community in the US.
Administration officials including Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services Leon Rodriguez and several prominent Filipino-Americans spoke to attendees at the event.
Acts like popular Los Angeles based Filipino-American A capella group, The Philharmonic, gave the audience a taste of modern Filipino music.
More traditional fare was provided by the Filipino American Cultural Arts Society.
The Filipino-American community is one of the largest foreign born groups in the US, according to the Migration Policy Institute, which estimated in 2013 that it made up 4.5 percent of the 41 million US immigrant population.
Speaking at the October 2 event, Chicago based entertainment mogul Billy Dec, who has been appointed to the White House Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, said the delays faced by Filipino immigrants was unacceptable.
"I tell you it was about immigration and I used all my time talking about how Filipino-Americans have the longest wait times, how, you know, families have been separated for decades. I have cousins who are separated, and how things need to change. Especially since it's the longest of almost all ethnicities, it's really outrageous," he said.
Filipino American History Month was first recognized by the US Congress in 2009. According to Filipino American National Historical Society (FAHNS) October was chosen in recognition of the first recorded presence of Filipinos in the Americas, when Filipino sailors are said to have come over on the Spanish galleon the Nuestra Senora de Esparanza in 1587 in California. — Reuters