Among other fall celebrations in October, there is Filipino American History Month, opens a new window, also known as Filipinx American History Month. It commemorates the first documented arrival, opens a new window of Filipinos over 425 years ago in what would become the United States. It's been celebrated by the Filipino American National Historical Society, opens a new window since 1991, and the “United States Congress passed subsequent Resolutions to Recognize October as Filipino American History Month, opens a new window nationally in 2009, 2010, and in 2011.” These resolutions also recognize the contributions of the Filipinx community in the development of the United States. Recently, celebrations became known as Fil-Am Heritage Month or Filipinx American History Month to be more inclusive to people who identify as Filipino, Filipina or Filipinx Americans.
As someone who had the honor to study history under the renowned Filipina-American Historian, Dr. Dawn Bohulano Mabalon, opens a new window, I find myself rediscovering a community and history with new eyes. In the past few years, I’ve seen more published books written by Filipinx authors. Like many others with diverse backgrounds and cultures, I grew up not seeing myself in stories. This makes it especially exciting for me when I discover new books for all ages featuring Filipinx as the main characters. I feel a deep sense of community when I read the similar feelings and experiences I had growing up in the pages of those books or discovering a new way to cook a favorite Filipino dish. It gave me so much hope to see some of these authors reach popularity and awards, like Erin Entrada Kelly winning the Newberry Medal, opens a new window for Hello, Universe.
This year for Filipinx American History Month, I'm celebrating by reading new books written by Filipinx authors, and re-reading Dr. Mabalon's book Little Manila Is in the Heart, which follows the history of the Little Manila neighborhood in downtown Stockton and it's large Filipinx community.
How will you celebrate Filipinx American History Month? Let us know in the comments below.