SEATTLE, Washington — Filipina American women leaders, laborers, scholars, scientists, and activists who have been the backbone of the Filipino American community are the focus of the Filipino American National Historical Society’s commemoration of Filipino American History Month.
These Filipina Americans overcame racial and gender discrimination and persevered to contribute to their respective fields and the Filipino American communinity. With “Pinay Visionaries: Celebrating Filipina American Women,” FANHS honors Filipina American women leaders across the United States, including:
- Dorothy Laigo Cordova– Founder and Executive Director of the Filipino American National Historical Society. She began organizing and advocating for the Filipino American community since the 1950s. Her vision has paved the way for FANHS, Filipino American History Month, and Filipino American Studies.
- Victoria “Vicki” Manalo Draves– the first Asian American Olympic gold medalist. She won two gold medals in platform and springboard diving in 1948.
- Felicisima “Ping” Serafica – the first Filipina American professor of psychology to receive tenure in the U.S. She helped establish one of the Philippines’ first hospitals for children with mental disabilities and the country’s first interdisciplinary mental healthclinic.
- Thelma Buchholdt – the first Filipina American elected to a legislature in the United States in 1974 and the first Asian American elected to serve as President of the National Order of Women Legislators.
- Dawn Bohulano Mabalon – the first Filipina to receive a Ph.D. in History from Stanford University. She was a professor, a historic preservationist, and the author of Little Manila is in the Heartand Journey for Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong.
This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment. Passed by Congress on June 4, 1919 (and later ratified in 1920), the 19th Amendment gave women in the United States the right to vote.
While Filipina American women (and many other women of color) could not vote until much later, the 19th Amendment was a measure that dramatically modified the political and social landscape of the United States.
FANHS encourages organizations and communities across the United States to incorporate this theme of celebrating Filipina American Women in their Filipino American History Month events. Stories of Pinay Visionaries in people’s lives are welcome at #FAHM2019 on social media, including Instagram, Twitter <@fanhs_national> and Facebook page @FANHSnatl.
The celebration of Filipino American History Month in October commemorates the first recorded presence of Filipinos in the continental United States, which occurred on October 18, 1587, when “Luzones Indios” came ashore from the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Esperanza and landed at what is now Morro Bay, California. In 2009, U.S. Congress recognized October as Filipino American History Month in the United States. Various states, counties and cities in the U.S. have established proclamations and resolutions declaring observance of Filipino American History Month.
The year 2019 also marks the 37th anniversary of the Filipino American National Historical Society. Across the nation, the 37 FANHS Chapters, colleges, universities, museums, and community groups, will be commemorating Filipino American History Month with various activities and events to bring awareness of the significant role Filipinos have played in American history.