Celebrated in October, Filipino American (Fil-Am) History Month honors the history, pursuits, accomplishments, and legacy of Filipinos in the United States. It also serves to provide a link between Filipinos in the U.S. and Filipinos in the Philippines by showcasing their shared culture and heritage.
Filipino Americans are the second largest Asian American group in the nation and the second largest ethnic group in California. The celebration of Filipino American History Month in October commemorates the first recorded presence of Filipinos in the continental United States, when Luzones Indios, native Filipino sailors conscripted into the Spanish navy as labor during the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade, came ashore from the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Esperanza and landed at what is now Morro Bay, California, on Oct. 18, 1587. After years of advocacy by individuals and organizations, in 2009 the United States Congress recognized October as Filipino American History Month. Various states, counties, and cities in the U.S. have established proclamations and resolutions declaring observance of Filipino American History Month.
In celebration of Fil-Am History Month this year, the Filipino American National History Society (FANHS) is highlighting the 50th anniversary of the First Young Filipino People’s Far West Convention, which took place at Seattle University in 1971 and brought together 300 young Filipino American participants from the West Coast of the United States. The convention is hailed as the beginning of the Filipino American Movement and helped bring to light issues like Filipino farmworkers rights and anti-martial law to the forefront of the Filipino American Movement. This year, FANHS is honoring the youth who have advocated, and continue to advocate, for social justice for the Filipino American community for the past 50 years.
Adapted from the Filipino American National Historical Society website.