NEW YORK – For the third year in a row, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has signed a resolution declaring 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. Author, playwright, director and visual artist Randy Gener was awarded with the 2012 Outstanding Artist Award during an “Opening Ceremonies” held October 3 at the Philippine Center in Manhattan.
In accepting the award, Gener thanked FANHS and said “the award comes at a very challenging period of my life”. (It is) “a moment of change. A time of reckoning.”
At the opening ceremony, co-hosted by the Philippine Consulate General, FANHS presented its second annual 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 were given to Rhodora Ursua, MPH, a cofounder of Kalusugan Coalition, and Rio Guerrero, a co-founder of Collaborative Opportunities for Raising Empowerment (CORE). A second Outstanding Artists Awards was presented to Kilusan Bautista (spoken word artist and activist). Youth Leadership Awards were awarded to Jackelyn Mariano, an officer of Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), and Alex Adapon, an officer of the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue (FIND).
A photo exhibit, entitled “Filipino Americans in New York,” was on view, 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.
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.
FANHS award winner Randy Gener will also perform at this Closing Ceremony, including a new performance work that he will offer in “Tagalogue,” a theatrical performance about Filipino American identity at the world-famous Nuyorican Poets Café on October 12 and 13.
A complete list of events can be found on the FANHS Metro New York website http://www.fanhs-nyc.org. For more information about the event, you can contact Kevin Nadal firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 237-8795.