Seattle Fil-Ams celebrate the launch of Fil-Am US History course for Seattle Public Schools students
Seattle Public Schools (SPS) have now made a Filipinx American US History class for middle and high school students. The move came as part of SPS’ decision to expand the Ethnic Program, and was created by the local Filipino community in a partnership with current Ethnic Studies program manager Alekz Wray.
Filipino community celebrates the recognition of Fil-Am history
Local community members and leaders gathered at Hood Famous in the Chinatown-International District on Oct. 14 to celebrate the launch of the course. The event featured live music and Filipino food.
The event began with a spoken-word performance by Hood Famous co-owner Geo Quibuyen.
Several students attendees the event, sharing Filipinx history facts that they learned and even leading a unified Isang Bagsak clap in honor of the Delano Manongs that organized alongside Mexican farm workers in California during the 1960s.
“It’s really special to be here at this event, especially for Filipino American History Month,” Jennilee Policarpio, member of the Filipino Community Health Board and National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, said in an interview with South Seattle Emerald. “Youth and students really need this perspective of their own history, to further be better citizens in our community.”
“Filipinos are contributors in any community they go to, so this class will be for all of us, by Filipinos,” Wray added. “I’m really excited for students to be able to take this class and to really challenge the master narrative.”
Behind the creation of the Filipinx American History course
“It was really important for me to make sure that this class was not a product of SPS. This was a product of the community that has been living this history, because who’s telling the story is super important,” Wray said to South Seattle Emerald.
“This was the Filipino, Filipina, Filipinx American communities’ story to tell, and because the community still has ownership over this curriculum, they’re still able to empower and uplift and keep this as a living curriculum.”
According to SPS spokesperson Tina Riss Christiansen, there are eleven students currently enrolled in the virtual Filipinx U.S. History class. Additionally, a ‘couple hundred’ eighth grades from various SPS school will also take the class this school year.