I was struggling to write a play when I first heard that a group existed called the Filipino American National History Society (FANHS). I was curious about it, so I checked the FANHS website and eventually corresponded with Dorothy Cordova who co-founded it with her husband Fred Cordova, both of whom lived in Seattle.
At the time, I was conducting historical research on Filipino Americans before the 1950s. I was struggling because the books and newspaper accounts were woefully inadequate in terms of offering me what I really needed: what was life really life on the ground, how did they conduct their lives beyond the sociopolitical agenda of the historians, what did they eat, where did they hang out, how did American life taste like for these people (mostly men) who were neither citizens of the United States nor citizens of their own country, which was a colony of the U.S.
A couple of years later, I met Fred and Dorothy in the Seattle church where their community-based organization was located. I made a special pilgrimage there. Soon after I found myself creating two oral-history/photography installations that re-presented from the historical photographs that the Cordovas were willing to lend to me.
Imagine my surprise when about a month ago, I received a letter from the Metro New York chapter of the Filipino American National Historical Society. It stated that I will be receiving a honor from this New York-based group: the 2012 FANHS Outstanding Artist Award. The award will be presented on Wednesday, October 3 at the Philippine Center in an evening co-sponsored by FANHS and the Philippine Consulate General in New York. The evening is called "Opening Ceremonies," the kick-off event for Filipino American History Month of October.
FANHS organizer Kevin Nadal, who issued the press release copied below, had asked me to present a 5-10 minute performance/presentation at the "Opening Ceremonies" event. Interestingly, I will perform a monologue from the play-still-in-progress that I was working on when I first met the Cordovas at an evening of performances called Tagalogue which takes place Oct. 12 and 13 at Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Please come to either "Opening Ceremonies" or to Tagalogue. Thank you to the Metro Chapter of FANHS for this unique honor. -- rg
PRESS RELEASE FROM METRO NEW YORK CHAPTER OF THE FILIPINO AMERICAN NATIONAL HISTORICAL SOCIETY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FILIPINO AMERICAN HISTORY MONTHRECOGNIZED IN NEW YORK CITYFilipino American Community Leaders are Awarded
NEW YORK | For the third year in a row, Mayor Michael Bloomberg will sign a resolution that will declare October as Filipino American History Month in New York City. Filipino American History Month (FAHM) has been in celebration since 1982, when it was first declared by the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) to commemorate the first Filipinos that landed in Morro Bay, California, on October 18, 1587. In 2009, the U.S. Senate passed U.S. House Resolution 780, which recognized October as Filipino American History Month across the United States. In 2010, the governor of New York also proclaimed FAHM in the month of October.
To commemorate the historic month, the Metro New York Chapter of FANHS is hosting and co-sponsoring several events in New York City throughout October. First, the Philippine Consulate General and FANHS are hosting an “Opening Ceremonies” at the Philippine Center in Manhattan (556 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY), on Wednesday October 3rd from 6-9pm. At the event, there will be a photo exhibit entitled “Filipino Americans in New York” featuring Filipinos in various time periods, including students at Columbia University in the 1920s, military personnel in the 1940s, immigrants in the 1960s and 1970s, and even indigenous Filipinos who were “displayed” at the Coney Island Amusement Park in 1911.
At the opening ceremony, FANHS will be presenting community awards to several individuals who have demonstrated commitment to the preservation of Filipino American history and the promotion of the Filipino American community of the Metropolitan New York area.
Two “Contributions to Excellence” Awards will be presented. One will be given to Rhodora Ursua, MPH, a cofounder of Kalusugan Coalition and the director of Project AsPiRE in New York University’s Center for the Study of Asian American Health; Mrs. Ursua has worked diligently with several partnering organizations to promote health in the Filipino American community in New York for over ten years. The second will be awarded to Rio Guerrero, Esq., a partnering attorney in the law firm Guerrero Yee, LLP. Attorney Guerrero is a co-founder of Collaborative Opportunities for Raising Empowerment (CORE), is an expert in immigration law, and has provided countless hours of pro-bono legal service to the Filipino American community in the greater New York area for the past decade.
Two “Outstanding Artists” Awards will be presented to Kilusan Bautista (spoken word artist and activist) and Randy Gener (author, director, and visual artist) for their ability to promote Filipino American identity and experiences into their respective artistries.
One “Youth Leadership Award” will be awarded by Jackelyn Mariano, an officer of Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) and a research assistant in the Physical Activity and Pilipino American Youth (PAPAYA) project. The young person being recognized is Alex Adapon, an officer of the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue (FIND) and the current New York City Regional Director for Filipino American Civic Engagement (FACE).
In addition to a number of events that will be held throughout the month, a Closing Ceremony will be held on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 from 6-9pm at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (524 W. 59th Street). At this event, a Lifetime Achievement Award will be bestowed to Mr. Joe Bataan, also known as the “King of Latin Soul.” Joe Bataan, whose given name was Bataan Nitollano, was born and raised in Spanish Harlem in 1942 to an African American mother and Filipino father. As a musical pioneer, he has credited as one of the innovators of SalSoul (Salsa and Latin Soul), Latin Funk, Latin R&B, Latin Jazz, and Boogaloo.
Other events throughout the month include a Tagalogue, a theatrical performance at the world-famous Nuyorican Poets Café on October 12 and 13 -- featuring FANHS award winner Randy Gener -- as well as “Universal Self,” a one-man show starring FANHS award winner Kilusan Bautista on November 2 and 3. A complete list of events can be found on the FANHS Metro New York website at http://www.fanhs-nyc.org.
For more information about the event, you can contact Kevin Nadal knadal [at] gmail.com or (212) 237-8795.