Celebrating Filipinx American History Month
October 1-31 is Filipinx American History Month. During this month, we recognize the important histories and contributions of people of Filipino ancestry to the United States and to the world.
The Philippines, formerly colonized by Spain, engaged in revolutionary action for independence with the most successful insurrectionary period, known as the Philippine Revolution, occurring from 1896-1898. On June 12, 1898, the Filipino people declared their independence from Spain. Spain and the United States, however, refused to recognize their declaration of independence, and instead, met in Paris in December of that year to transfer control of colonial territories from Spain to the United States as part of the negotiations to end the Spanish American War. The Treaty of Paris was signed on December 10, 1898, leading to the US annexation of the Philippines, along with Puerto Rico and Guam. Filipino insurrectionists continued to fight for their independence, now fighting against the United States in the Philippine American War, which officially lasted from 1899-1902, with ongoing regional battles taking place until 1913. At the conclusion of World War II in 1946, the Philippines became an independent nation. This year, 2023, marks 125 years of independence for the Philippines.
The fight for freedom has taken various shapes over the years with one arena for activism being the fight for freedom of the press. In 2021, a Filipinx American was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work advocating for freedom of the press.
Following is a quote from the Nobel Prize website about Maria Ressa:
Maria Ressa was born in Manila, the Philippines. At the age of nine, she and her family moved to the United States. After studying at Princeton University, she returned to her native country and took a master’s degree at the University of the Philippines Diliman. From 1995, Ms Ressa worked as a local correspondent for CNN, covering in particular the growth of terrorism in South East Asia.
In 2012, she was one of the co-founders of the Rappler online news site. As an investigative journalist, she has distinguished herself as a fearless defender of freedom of expression and has exposed the abuse of power, use of violence and increasing authoritarianism of the regime of President Rodrigo Duterte. In particular, Ms. Ressa has focused critical attention on President Duterte’s controversial, murderous anti-drug campaign. She and Rappler have also documented how social media are being used to spread fake news, harass opponents, and manipulate public discourse.
To learn more about Maria Ressa and her important activism, courage in standing up against authoritarianism, and work for press freedom, please view this official Noel Peace Prize video interview with the prize winner:
In honor of Filipinx American History Month, the Cultural Center and Kasaysayan have organized the following events. Please contact Nicollette Morales, the Ethnic Studies and Cultural Center Coordinator, for more details (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Kasaysayan Learning Community sponsored events:
Oct. 18 - Indigenous Filipino Martial Arts American Canyon Library 6pm - 8pm
Oct. 19 - Meet and Greet with Author Maritza Refuerzo - ACHS room A-134 4pm - 6pm.
Cultural Center and Kasaysayan co-sponsored events:
Oct. 30 - Filipino Americans in Ethnic Studies webinar
12:30pm - 2pm
Downloadable Zoom backgrounds that celebrate Filipinx American History Month can be accessed at https://www.napavalley.edu/about/diversity-equity-and-inclusion/cultural-programming/filipinx-american-history-month.html
Filipino American National Historical Society, Filipino American History Month website:
Nobel Peace Prize 2021 website entry for Maria Ressa
Dr. Patricia van Leeuwaarde Moonsammy
Senior Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion