Varying Filipino American reactions in the aftermath of the August 11-14 Charlottesville VA violence:  (Excerpts of New York University Professor Kevin Nadal’s August 18 post on “Facebook”): I posted a picture of a sign from California circa late 1920s, which read “Get rid of all Filipinos or we’ll burn this town down.” I wrote brief comparisons of Charlottesville to Watsonville, citing that Fermin Tobera was killed in 1930 in the Watsonville Riots and Joseph Ileto was killed in 1999. While many Filipino Americans appreciated my parallels of history, some accused me of “inciting violence” or spreading “fake news”. Others proclaimed they’ve never experienced racism or that most Filipinos do not experience any racism either. Others said I’m living in the past, with some even claiming that their best friends are White.  Just because you don’t think you experience racism doesn’t mean other Filipinos don’t. One study from Dr. Alvin Alvarez found that 99% of Filipino Americans have experienced at least one instance of discrimination.  So please don’t tell anyone that history doesn’t matter. You cannot enjoy the privileges you have without acknowledging the people who historically fought for you to have them.  Colonial mentality and colorism affects how you perceive things.  To think that I am inciting violence by simply educating people on truthful history is simply baffling to me.

With Kevin Nadal

(My August 19 response to Dr. Nadal, also on “Facebook”): Kudos, Kevin, on your insights on the lessons of Charlottesville.  You’re absolutely right – Filipinos have every reason to condemn the hate, bigotry, and racism spewed by the forces of white supremacy – Neo-Nazis, Alt-rightists, the Klu Klux Klan, Aryan nation, skin heads — last weekend in Charlottesville. But I too am appalled at the support some Filipino Americans give to these hate mongers and leaders in Washington, D.C. that give credence to their movement.  In my day, we called such Filipinos “Coconuts” – brown on the outside but white on the inside.  But as we know from the tweets and messages you received to your fine analysis, “Coconuts” are alive and well.  As a proud 86 year old Bridge Generation Filipino American, I have personally lived through the years before the protections of civil rights and affirmative action.  But even these legal remedies have not significantly reduced the hate which has a long history in America. We must not forget the history of hate in America.  We must not forget that the mid 1860s Civil War was fought because of slavery.  We must not forget that members of the Confederacy of America were rebels and treasonists.   We must not forget that the rise of hate following the “Destruction of Reconstruction” during the late 1800s saw the growth of segregation and the KKK. We must not forget that widespread lynchings came when there was tacit support from the presidency of Woodrow Wilson in the mid-1920s after he staffed his administration with racial segregationists. And, we must not forget that the murder of a Filipino farm worker, Fermin Tobera, came during the “lynching era”.  Today, we are witnessing another rise of hate, emboldened by a Presidential Administration that fails to condemn it.  We are witnessing another rise of the KKK and other white supremacists. Except, emboldened by a friendly White House, its followers no longer hide behind hoods and masks.  Will we as a nation learn from the lessons of history?  Will Filipinos in America learn that they too are targets of white supremacists? I learned that lesson long ago. Will Filipino Americans of today do likewise?…………… After President Obama‘s 2008 election, hate groups surged 800% from 2008 to 2012 according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.  SPLC also suggests the far right radicalism in Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric led to today’s continuing rise in hate crimes…………… August 1 post by “Teabonics”: Who would have guessed that a reality TV star with zero government experience or knowledge, 6 bankruptcies, 5 kids from 3 different marriages, 11 charges of sexual assault, and more than 4000 lawsuits, could be so bad at being President? ……………  Recommended reading: ”The Plot To Hack America” (2016) by bestselling author Malcolm Nance.  A year before the presidential election, he predicted: With this election, Vladimir Putin, the former director of Russia’s intelligence agency, sees the election of Donald Trump as the fastest way to destabilize the United States and damage its economy, as well as fracture both the European Union and NATO.  These events, which start with the election of Trump, would allow Russia to become the strongest of the world’s three superpowers and render the globe with a dominant Russia at the helm.

Pinakbet – News Across America

John Trumbull‘s iconic painting, “The Declaration of Independence” which hangs in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, depicts Thomas Jefferson presenting the first draft to Congress. The document was signed by 56 men in 1776.  241 years later, the portrait was brought to life by descendants of the signers who were gathered together by the Ancestry Company .  The new image is a reflection of ethnically diverse America, including a Filipina American – Andrea Livingston – the eighth great granddaughter of New York signee Philip Livingston. She said, “It is a point of pride, but I think we have a long way to go. The ideas that they were creating, the ideas that they were putting into words, we still need to strive to make those ideas real.”……………….. On June 25 LGBT Pride was celebrated across America.  Filipino Americans were well represented in New York City and San Francisco, the two largest celebrations in the country.  In NYC the roar of motorbikes signaled the start of the 48th LGBT Pride march along Fifth Avenue. Leading the pack of bikers was Filipino American Jen Baquial, President of the Sirens Motorcycle Club.  Among them were Miss Saigon cast members — Devin Ilaw, and first time Pride attendee Eva Noblezada. With a record breaking 40,000 marchers, spectators along the two and a half mile march route surpassed last year’s two million mark.   In San Francisco, the 47th annual Pride Parade was a celebration of diversity and a demand for equality.  It featured a record-breaking 250 entries with attendance estimated to be more than a million people.    The SF celebration brought back personal memories of the 1990 LGBT parade when, as the Executive Director of San Francisco’s Human Rights Commission, I was privileged to proudly ride in an open convertible……………..  Happy 40th Birthday to: Filipino American Community of Yakima Valley, Inc. (est. 1937)……………. Did you know? Educator Angela Perez Baraquio of Anaheim CA is the only Filipina American to win the “Miss America” competition. Entering as “Miss Hawaii”, she won the title in Atlantic City NJ in 2001……………….. While it has become a tradition for professional athletes to immediately celebrate a championship with champagne showers, two-time NBA Champion Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors and his family had another idea: getting tattooed. The tattoo artist?  Bay Area Filipino, Nino Lapid…………….. Countdown: 6 months – For the Board of Trustees, Filipino American National Historical Society, to provide critically needed financing to assure keeping open the FANHS National Museum in Stockton — the historic center of Filipino immigration.

Bridge Generation News

The Asian Art Museum of Oakland celebrated the opening of its new exhibit “Philippine Art: Collecting Art, Collecting Memories” with a reception and private tour for the community on July 14. The Filipino American National Historical Society’s East Bay chapter, under the leadership of Vangie (Canonizado) Buell, had long advocated for the expansion of the museum’s Philippine art collection. The exhibit runs through March 2018…………….. I recently watched kumadre Connie Pasquil’s video promo of the Pasquil Family Foundation’s Lugaw (rice porridge) Program.  She and her late husband, Corney, established the program after their 1985 visit to her ancestral home of Siquijor, Philippines when they learned little children were not attending school because of the lack of food. The Lugaw Program serves four elementary schools on the small island. Your donation of $20 will support 700 needy children. Please send your donations to: Pasquil Family Foundation, 1271 Villagio Drive, El Dorado Hills CA 95762.  (Lugaw was a major source of nourishment for many BG kids growing up during the Great Depression.)…………… I’m saddened to report the passing of: (1) Graphic artist and long time Boeing employee Godfrey Agbulog Jr. of Seattle passed away July 27 at the age of 80. Brother-in-law of the late great Seattle activist, Bob Santos, Godfrey was a key player in Bob’s several political campaigns during  the 1970s.  (2) Rizaline Raymundo, 88, a charter member of the San Jose Chapter of FAHNS, died on August 13 in Lakeport CA.  Riz edited “Tomorrow’s Memories: A Diary 1924-1928″, the story of her mother, Angeles Monrayo Raymundo (1912-2000) as a young girl growing up in plantations of Hawaii and later, as a wife and mother, working in the fields of Central California. (3) Norman Evangelista, 73, lifelong Sacramento County resident and son of a pioneer Filipino family……………. Oops! The August blog misidentified the year of Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford’s shooting as 1911 rather than 2011.  Thanks to faithful reader Wilma (Bucariza) Aguinid who caught my typo………………. Happy September Birthdays to: Peter Bacho, Pam Bulahan, Ernie Cabreana, Pastor Engkabo, Mardena (Ambon) Ragsac, Jerry Salac, and Aurelio Simon.



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