Leader’s 9-year push makes state’s Fil-Am History Month permanent
WAPATO, Washington — State lawmakers passed a bill on Wednesday, April 17 declaring October Filipino-American History Month, thanks to a local Filipino American community leader who spent 9 years pushing for the designation.
Rey Pascua, who been getting only annual proclamations for 9 years, celebrated his final victory the next day at the Filipino Community Hall in downtown Wapato, where lunch was served:
roast pork; spring rolls; rice noodles; vegetables and rice cakes, reported the Yakima Valley Herald.
Senate bill (SB) 5865, makes the designation permanent statewide and Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to sign it into law within 10 days.
Having the designation is important to Pascua and the rest of the Filipino-American community, he told the Yakima Valley Herald. Early Filipino pioneers here and elsewhere faced harsh discrimination. They were threatened if they farmed, and at one point they were prevented by federal law from owning or leasing land.
Pascua hopes the designation will prompt public schools to teach American-Filipino history, or at least discuss the designation with students.