October 04, 2016

Hirono Leads Bipartisan Resolution to Recognize Filipino American History Month

Senator Mazie K. Hirono introduced a bipartisan resolution in the United States Senate to recognize the month of October as Filipino American History Month. The resolution acknowledges the key role Filipino Americans play in shaping our country. Representative Mike Honda (D-CA) introduced an identical measure in the House of Representatives.

“This resolution pays tribute to the wide-ranging contributions that Filipino Americans have made to our country,” said Senator Hirono. “Nearly 200,000 Filipino Americans, including Filipino World War II veterans who fought for the United States, enrich communities across Hawaii every day. To honor them, we must see through the effort to award these veterans the Congressional Gold Medal, and ensure that their eligible family members apply for the Obama Administration’s program to reunite with their parents and other relatives in the United States.”

“Filipino Americans have an extraordinary legacy that includes the valor of those who fought for the U.S. during World War II, the progressive change in the labor movement driven by farm workers in Delano, and all the unique voices that amplify the rich diversity that America champions,” said Representative Honda. “Every day in Silicon Valley, I see evidence of the continued courage, innovation, and hard work that Filipino Americans have displayed throughout American history as labor leaders, service members, artists, and business owners.”

“I am honored to celebrate Filipino American History Month with the Filipino American community in Nevada and across the country. Our state is enriched by the 100,000 Filipino Americans who call Nevada home, and I am deeply grateful for their contributions to our economy and culture. It is truly an honor to represent such a powerful and vibrant community in the United States Senate,” said Senator Harry Reid. “As in past years, I am proud stand with Senator Hirono and Congressman Honda to support this important resolution designating October 2016 as Filipino American History Month. I call on all Americans to join us in celebrating the Filipino American community and the invaluable contributions they have made to our country.”

The Senate resolution is co-sponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Bob Menendez (D-NJ ), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Patty Murray (D-WA), Harry Reid (D-NV), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

The resolution is also supported by the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) and Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

“NCAPA thanks Senator Hirono for once again introducing the Filipino American History Month resolution and for all of her advocacy on behalf of the Filipino American community,” said NCAPA National Director Christopher Kang. “Every October, we recognize the long history and achievements of Filipino Americans in our nation. This year, we've made tremendous strides in honoring our Filipino American World War II veterans, including the launch of a program to reunite veterans with their family members and the Senate passage of the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act. While we celebrate Filipino American History Month, we also urge the House of Representatives to pass this Gold Medal bill, to fully recognize the courage and bravery of our Filipino American veterans.”

Senator Hirono has long advocated for the Filipino American community. In July, the United States Senate unanimously passed legislation authored by Senator Hirono to award Filipino World War II veterans the Congressional Gold Medal. After years of advocacy by Senator Hirono, the Obama Administration announced last May 2016 that it would create a parole program to reunite the families of Filipino World War II veterans. Senator Hirono is now working with veterans groups and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to ensure that eligible family members apply for the program. The Senator also successfully prevented the Department of Veterans Affairs from taking funds from the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund to pay for other projects.

The resolution honors the earliest documented Filipino presence in the continental U.S., the very first permanent Filipino settlement in the nation, and the economic, cultural, and social contributions of Filipino Americans.

Currently, there are nearly 3.9 million Filipino Americans living in the United States, including WWII Filipino American veterans who fought under the American flag at the request of President Roosevelt. Click here to read the full resolution.