Filipino American History Month

….and Governor Brown signs Assemblyman Rob Bonta’s Filipino American Farmworker Assembly Bill 123, to provide state curriculum on the significant role of Filipino Americans in the farm labor movement!

Find out more about this bill HERE, and think about what you can do to promote Filipino American history in the schools.

From earlier this year, a video about the Filipino American role in the farm labor movement:

Jeff Tagami: a Filipino American Poet

Today, June 23rd, marks the one-year anniversary of the passing of Jeff Tagami. He was a Filipino American poet who was raised in the Pajaro Valley and worked in the Pajaro fields. He who wrote eloquent poems about Filipino and Mexican workers in both the Pajaro and Salinas Valleys (still available in his book, October Light), and also inspired his students (at Cabrillo College) and fellow poets alike. You can see and hear him read in this beautiful little video:

Read more about Jeff Tagami on the Poetry Foundation website. An excerpt from “Song of Pajaro”:

Now Pajaro is tired It wants to sleep
The packing sheds shut down for the night
The trucks close their trailer doors
and the Southern Pacific leaves town
(having got what it wanted)

* Alan Chong Lau remembers Jeff Tagami in “A Conversation About Tofu”
* The Jeff Tagami Online Memorial

Little Manila: Filipinos in California’s Heartland

6:00 PM – Little Manila: Filipinos in California’s Heartland (2007), at the National Steinbeck Center, June 7, 1 Main St., Salinas. FREE, with a discussion after the screening.

Little Manila was the area in Stockton notoriously called Skid Row, but it was also the closest thing Filipinos had to a hometown. In its heyday in the 30s, this lively area had the largest population of Filipinos outside of the Philippines.

Why watch a film about a skid row area of Stockton–a neighborhood in a city that has become an icon for bankrupt city governments? Because one of the keys to revitalizing a downtown area is in remembering its history and its struggles, educating youth to see their place in this history, and working with them (and with locals of all ages) to create a better future. This is a lesson we are learning with the revitalization of Salinas’ Chinatown. It’s also a lesson learned and being put to good use by Dawn Mabalon and Dillon Delvo of Stockton, CA. Check out this article about Delvo and his work with the youth of Stockton’s Little Manila. Then, check out Monique Rutland’s senior capstone project on Salinas Chinatown:

So come down to the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas; be inspired with art, music, and a movie on First Friday:

SALINAS, CA– On Friday, June 7, 2013, the National Steinbeck Center presents First Friday FREE from 5:00 – 8:00 PM at 1 Main Street in Salinas, CA. All are welcomed to enjoy great music and to engage with local artists. In June, we are adding a new feature: free film screenings thanks to a collaboration and partnership with KQED.

Join us during first Friday and enjoy our concessions stand with soft drinks, water and wine for sale; the program will include:

5:00 – 8:00 PM – To benefit Hartnell College.

5:30 PM – YoSal students demonstrate what they have learned this year.

6:00 PM – Little Manila: Filipinos in California’s Heartland (2007), with a discussion after the screening, on Friday, June 7, 2013.

May 6: Remembering Corregidor

Excerpt (focusing on the fall of Corregidor) from The Story of the Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor (produced by the Dept. of National Defense of the Philippines with the Philippines Veteran’s Affairs Office.

* * *

May 6th is the 70th anniversary of the fall of Corregidor, which took place during World War II after a four-month battle that began on April 9, 1942 and ended with a battle fought by allied soldiers—over 66,000 Filipinos, and 10,000 American forces—who, lacking fresh supplies and food, were already beginning to starve. General MacArthur had withdrawn his support, with only a promise that “I will return.” The final battle of Corregidor took place over May 5-6th, 1942. Japanese forces won that battle, which was soon followed by the horrendous 60-mile Bataan Death March, during which time over 15,000 American and Filipino soldiers were killed. The survivors were sent to prison camps, where they received abusive treatment.

In her recent article, “General MacArthur and the Fall of Bataan and Corregidor,” Cecilia Gaerlan writes:

Seventy years ago, one of the greatest sacrifices of World War II was made by Filipino and American soldiers at Bataan and Corregidor. After a fierce and bitter four-month battle, Bataan fell on April 9, 1942 and Corregidor a month later on May 6. This delayed the timetable of the Japanese from occupying the entire Asia Pacific and gave the Allied forces time to marshal the forces that impeded the Japanese invasion of Australia. And yet, in the United States, this important date is not commemorated, not taught in schools. It didn’t even garner a footnote in major publications on its 70th anniversary. In this country, few people know that most of the fighting and dying were made by Filipinos. On top of this, their rights as veterans were rescinded by the US in 1946. To this day, these rights have not been fully restored.
Hyphen Magazine: Asian American Unabridged

Let’s remember the sacrifices made by Filipino and American soldiers on May 6, and work to secure benefits for Filipino veterans who fought in World War II.

What Was the Bataan Death March? from Veterans in Service.

See also:
* General MacArthur and the Fall of Bataan and Corregidor by Cecilia Gaerlan (Hyphen Magazine)
* Bataan Legacy Project
* H.R. 1452: Filipino Veterans Fairness Act, 2013
* Filipino Vets Tale Tells Immigration Reformers Never Give Up

FANHS Monterey Bay at the Salinas Asian Festival, cont’d.

Great afternoon at the Salinas Asian Festival. We began setting up our exhibit last night at the Filipino Community Hall in Salinas.
Richard Villegas, Cathy Chavez-Miller, Jess Tabasa

The FANHS Monterey Bay corner

Smiles and good food. The Filipino Community of Salinas Valley always cooks up some great meals for this event. There was chicken adobo, pancit, lumpia, toron, ensaimada, halo-halo, and more!

Richard Villagas (far left), Al Baguio, Jerri Villegas

Another part of the FANHS Monterey Bay exhibit

Wellington Lee with Cathy Chavez-Miller took us on a tour of Chinatown, and the stripped interior of the Republic Cafe, which hopefully will become Salinas Chinatown’s Asian Cultural Center.

Memories of past dinners and get-togethers in the Republic Cafe.

Deborah Silguero (National Steinbeck Center) also gave a talk about the Cultural Center.

Back at the Filipino Community Center — Zuumba!