Sunday, December 9, 2012

ACCOLADE | At a Poinsettia Grand Ball, I received an award and painted the town red

Outstanding Filipino American Achievement Award 2012 

NEW YORK CITY |  I received an invitation via email several days ago.  Completely out of the blue.  I was busy installing a new installation at LaMaMa La Galleria.  The email stated: "I am Nena Lozada Kaufman, NaFFAA-NY State Chair. This coming December 9 will be our 5th Annual Poinsettia Grand Ball, and it is also NaFFAA's 15 years of advocacy. I'd like to invite you on Sunday, 1pm to 6pm, Astoria World Manor, Astoria, NY, to grace the occasion. We are honoring Fil-Am achievers like you. Hope you will accept this accolade. Regards!"

I was not sure what to make of the email.  Several days later I find myself in what looks like a Cinderella Ball at Astor World Manor.  A sea of intense reds and black tuxes. I joked that it was like going to the prom.

NaFFAA stands for the National Association of Filipino American Associations.  NaFFAA Region 1 honored me with a 2012 Outstanding Filipino American Achiever Award. At a Poinsettia Grand Ball held at Astor World Manor. It happened tonight.

It was a surreal evening. I sat at a Presidential Table. On a dias. In front of everybody. The rest of the people were sitting on tables on two sides of a dance floor. The Consul General of New York, Mario De Leon, and his wife were present at the party.

What was the award for? It was a Recognition Award for "your dedication and steadfast commitment to the Filipino American community at large. Your invaluable contribution and support will be your undying legacy to the community as well as a permanent imprint earned as one of the outstanding Filipino American achievers 2012 to all you serve in particular and the Filipino community in general."

I had a good time. People were nice. I took some photos, which you see here. I hope the official photos are nicer. Thank you, NaFFAA for the nice recognition.

Me and Dr. Alicia Alemdral. She is Mrs. Philippines International 2013

What is The National Federation of Filipino American Associations?
The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) is a private, non-profit, non-partisan tax-exempt organization established in 1997 to promote the active participation of Filipino Americans in civic and national affairs.  NaFFAA is composed of 12 regions with a national office in Washington, D.C. that monitors legislation and public policy issues affecting Filipino Americans.  NaFFAA partners with local affiliate organizations and national coalitions in advocating for issues of common concern.

NaFFAA was born out of a need for the Filipino American community to take its place in the American mainstream and participate in decisions affecting its interest.  There was a need to harmonize the diverse voices of our community into one clear, powerful voice that could be heard by government, business, media and the American public.

When NaFFAA was formed in the 1997 Empowerment Conference in Washington D.C., the nearly 3 million Filipinos and Filipino Americans did not have a visible presence in the national capital. An office was immediately established with an executive staff running the daily operations.

Since then, NaFFAA has built strategic relations with policy makers on the federal level, including the U.S. Congress and the various agencies of the executive branch. As well, NaFFAA has forged partnerships and alliances with coalition partners in the civil rights community to promote their collective interests, particularly on such issues as immigration, voting rights, discrimination and racial stereotyping in the media, and equal opportunity in education.

The national office has also coordinated and guided the local work of its 12 geographic regions by institutionalizing regional conferences and other events. National empowerment conferences, now held every two years, provide opportunities for assessing the organization’s programs and structure, and charting NaFFAA’s future directions.

NaFFAA Region 1 represents an area covered by: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hamsphire,  New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. Each state is represented by a State Chair.

Me and Nena Lozada Kaufman, NaFFAA-NY State Chair

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