Over 200 Fil-Am students in U.S. Midwest hold in-person summit
For the first time since the pandemic began, more than 200 Filipino American students held an in-person summit Saturday, April 2 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.
Filipinx American Student Organization (FASO) and the Midwest Association of Filipino Americans (MAFA) jointly hosted the summit, which drew over 234 attendees from 13 different colleges across the Midwest.
“Seeing the resurgence and revival of our annual Midwest Filipino American Summit really empowered our community’s desire to be together and uplift our region,” Jacinta Rivera, attendee and president of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities’ Philippines Student Association, told The Daily Cardinal.
The 14-year-old MAFA is dedicated to connecting Filipino students in different states across the Midwest and each year selects one of its 23 member-schools as the host of the summit
“The most important part about having this conference is that people get to share their experiences and relate on similar levels,” MAFA President and former internal president of FASO Sophia Sanchez said. “Each school can be unique in their own right, so combining those schools allows people to share experiences.”
This year’s theme was “Kinabukasan: Our Future Is Now” focused on social justice in the United States as well as how Filipino Americans can support their community.
Organizers said the summit creates a safe space for Filipino American students to share experiences and challenges of being a Filipino in the Midwest.
The Chicago metropolitan area is home to the highest number of Filipino Americans in the Midwest, totaling about 145,000 people.
“I now see that there is a huge advantage to being a Filipino in the Midwest, because of how scarce they are here compared to California and New York. Here, we immediately want to get connected with one another,” Rivera said. “The scarcity of us in the Midwest forces us to band together and form a community.”