I am always grateful for October, not just because I enjoy autumn but because this month is Filipino-American History Month – a time when our community celebrates the achievements of Filipino-Americans and remembers the contributions to our history in the United States. Across the country, many Fil-Am communities are hosting or hosted events, from the Fil-Am Community of Western North Carolina’s first ever Mabuhay Blueridge: A Celebration of Fil-Am History Month slated for October 25th, to Livermore, California’s 4th Annual Filipino Barrio Fiesta, which was held on Sunday, October 6th.
This year, Vicky Santos, trustee of the Filipino-American National Historical Society, put together a wonderful event at the Fremont Public Library (thanks to librarian Marianne!) this past Sunday. This year’s theme was aptly named Pinay Visionaries: Celebrating Filipina-American Women. Throughout the afternoon, several visionary pinays were honored (see captions), including Vangie Buell, Filipina activist, award-winning author, and musician (who was in San Francisco at the time receiving another award) and the late Dr. Dawn Mabalon, Filipina academic, scholar, historian, and community activist and leader. I joined fellow authors Janet Stickmon, author of the recently published To Black Parents Visiting Earth, and Lisa Suguitan Melnik, author of #30 Collantes Street and contributor to The New Filipino Kitchen, in giving a reading. Dr. James Sobredo, Professor Emeritus of Ethnic Studies at Sacramento State University, presented his photo-journalism exhibition, Filipino Transnational Immigration: Images and Stories from the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Barcelona. Singer Alice Rancap and guitarist Joseph Duyanen serenaded us with a repertoire of Filipino folk songs, and I was pleasantly surprised to remember a few of them from my childhood.
I’ll let the pictures do the talking. I missed capturing a few photos of some of the Pinay Visionaries recipients (with apologies!), but I was able to get most of them acknowledged here. I am grateful for the local Filipino-American community in the Bay Area and for the continued celebrations in October of our achievements and contributions in our communities and in America.