OLYMPIA – A proposed bill would establish October as Filipino American History Month in the state of Washington.
House Bill 1783 is co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of 12 representatives and introduced by Rep. Bruce Chandler, R-Granger.
“This creates an ongoing celebration of our relationship and companionship with the Filipino American community,” Chandler said. “They have been a very special and unique blessing to all of us in Washington state.”
As of the 2010 Census, Washington is home to the fifth largest Filipino population in the United States, and Filipino Americans are the largest Asian Pacific American population in the state, according to the legislation.
“We have a rich history in the United States,” said Rey Pascua, president of the Filipino American Community in Yakima Valley. “We have been here for 432 years.”
Historians have concluded that Oct. 18, 1587 was the earliest documented proof of Filipino presence in the continental United States, explained Pascua. October was selected as Filipino American History Month in honor of this documentation.
The month is designated as a time for people to commemorate the contributions of Filipino Americans to the history and heritage of the state and country.
HB 1787 declares that educational institutions, public entities and private organizations are encouraged to designate time for activities in the commemoration of the history, achievements and contributions of Filipino Americans.
The first state to select a month for Filipino Americans was California in 2006, and Hawaii recognized the month in 2008. King County in Washington state declared October 2018 to be Filipino American History Month.
Madeline Coats is a reporter with the WNPA Olympia News Bureau.