Senate Concurrent ResolutionNo. 97

Introduced by Senator Pan

January 11, 2016

Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 97—Relative to Filipino American History Month.


SCR 97, as introduced, Pan. Filipino American History Month.

This measure would recognize the month of October 2016 as Filipino American History Month and the 429th anniversary of the first presence of Filipinos in the continental United States.

Fiscal committee: no.

P1    1WHEREAS, Filipinos and Filipino Americans have been
2contributing to California and the United States for hundreds of
3years, ever since October 18, 1587, when the first “Luzones Indios”
4set foot in Morro Bay, California, on board the Nuestra Señora de
5Esperanza, a Manila-built galleon ship captained by Pedro de
6Unamuno of Spain; and

7WHEREAS, In the late 1700s and early 1800s, Filipinos helped
8Father Junípero Serra establish the California mission system; and

9WHEREAS, Since the late 1800s, Filipino communities have
10existed in southern Louisiana, according to oral histories recorded
11by Rhonda Richoux Fox; and

12WHEREAS, After the Philippines was colonized, Filipinos
13began immigrating to San Francisco, where they contributed to
14the city both as military personnel and as service sector workers
15such as bellhops, dishwashers, servants, and cooks; established,
16by the 1920s, a thriving community around Kearny and Jackson
17Streets, which became known as “Manilatown”; and settled, during
P2    1the post World War II era, into the Fillmore, South of Market, and
2Excelsior districts; and

3WHEREAS, Between 1906 and 1935, the first large wave of
4Filipino immigration to the United States began, as Filipinos were
5recruited to California, Alaska, and Hawaii to work in the
6agricultural industries, canneries, and sugarcane plantations,
7respectively; and

8WHEREAS, The Filipino contract workers in Hawaii, or
9“Sakadas,” became the largest group of Asians on the sugarcane
10plantations by the 1920s; and

11WHEREAS, At the turn of the 20th century, Filipino students,
12or “pensionados,” farmworkers, and laborers in manufacturing
13and in the service sector began settling in Stockton and the
14surrounding San Joaquin Delta area, where they built a community
15that became the largest concentration of Filipinos outside of the
16Philippines and established a thriving six-block ethnic
17neighborhood that became known as “Little Manila”; and

18WHEREAS, In 2000, the Stockton City Council designated this
19area, in downtown Stockton at the intersection of Lafayette and
20El Dorado Streets, as the “Little Manila Historical Site,” the first
21designation of this kind in the country; and

22WHEREAS, In the first decades of the 20th century, thousands
23of Filipinos in California worked in agricultural fields throughout
24the state, in cities and regions such as the Sacramento-San Joaquin
25Delta, the central coast, Imperial Valley, Orange County, the Inland
26Empire, Delano, Bakersfield, Coachella Valley, and the San
27Francisco Bay area, and became a critical element in the growth
28and political economy of the state, often enduring harsh labor
29conditions and poor wages, but persevering and creating a strong
30legacy of mutual support, strikes, and organization for farm labor
31unionization; and

32WHEREAS, In the 1920s, Filipinos in California also worked
33as laborers in the shipyards of Vallejo, where they established a
34Filipino American community and business center, and became
35so successful that there were thousands of Filipinos working as
36shipbuilders by the start of World War II; and

37WHEREAS, During World War II, approximately 200,000
38Filipino soldiers battled under the command of the United States
39to preserve the liberty of our country and win back the liberty of
40the Philippines from the Japanese occupation; and

P3    1WHEREAS, Thousands of these Filipino soldiers came from
2California, served in the First and Second Filipino Infantry
3Regiments, underwent training at Salinas and at Fort Ord,
4California, and were stationed at Camp Beale near Sacramento
5and Camp Cooke near Santa Maria; and

6WHEREAS, After World War II ended, many Filipinos who
7had served in the United States Navy settled in National City and
8elsewhere in the County of San Diego, as well as in the Cities of
9West Long Beach and Wilmington, where they worked in the Long
10Beach shipyards and Terminal Island canneries, served in the
11harbor area as nurses and medical workers, and created flourishing
12Filipino American communities numbering in the tens of
13thousands; and

14WHEREAS, Between 1941 and 1959, the second wave of
15Filipino immigration to the United States began, as nurses, students,
16“war brides” and fiancées of World War II military personnel and
17veterans, tourists, and Filipino members of the United States Navy
18came to the United States; and

19WHEREAS, In 1965, the third wave of Filipino immigration to
20the United States began, as the passing of the Immigration and
21Nationality Act abolished “national origins” as the basis for
22immigration, allowing for more immigration from Asia and Latin
23America and for much-needed Filipino medical professionals to
24come to the United States to fill United States labor shortages; and

25WHEREAS, On September 8, 1965, Filipino American
26agricultural labor leaders, including Larry Itliong and Philip Vera
27Cruz, organized more than 1,500 farmworkers from the
28Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee in the Delano Grape
29Strike of 1965, in partnership with César Chávez, Dolores Huerta,
30and other Mexican American labor leaders of the National Farm
31Workers Association, sparking one of the greatest social, economic,
32and racial justice movements in the history of California and the
33United States, and leading to the establishment of the United Farm
34Workers of America; and

35WHEREAS, These agricultural workers, along with other
36volunteers, also built Agbayani Village, a retirement facility for
37elderly Filipino farmworkers, or “Manongs,” located at Forty Acres
38in Delano in the County of Kern; and

39WHEREAS, In 1968, Filipino student organizers were
40instrumental in the leadership of the Third World Liberation Front
P4    1that led to the founding of our nation’s first Third World College
2at the University of California, Berkeley, and the first College of
3Ethnic Studies, at California State University, San Francisco, which
4was part of the larger effort to democratize higher education for
5all; and

6WHEREAS, From 1968 to 1977, Filipino American activists
7and residents of San Francisco’s International Hotel organized a
8popular, multiracial campaign that challenged local authorities and
9private development to place people and the public good ahead of
10profit, and support affordable housing for Filipino and Chinese
11immigrants and community members; and

12WHEREAS, From 1972 to 1986, Filipino American activists
13organized massive educational and political campaigns to restore
14civil liberties in the Philippines during the period of martial law
15in that country, creating dynamic local responses to international
16politics and placing pressure on the United States government to
17end its support of the Marcos dictatorship; and

18WHEREAS, In 1973, the fourth wave of Filipino immigration
19to the United States began, as political exiles and refugees from
20the Marcos era, intellectuals, tourists, students, student activists,
21professionals, semiprofessionals, and families came to the United
22States; and

23WHEREAS, In 2002, the City of Los Angeles, home to over
24120,000 Filipinos, designated part of the city as the “Historic
25Filipinotown” district, the largest designation of this kind in the
26country; and

27WHEREAS, The Filipino Community of Los Angeles Harbor
28Area, Inc., in the City of Wilmington continues to serve as a model
29organization, facilitating community events such as weddings,
30baptisms, pageants, and fiestas; and

31WHEREAS, On November 8, 2013, Super Typhoon
32Haiyan/Yolanda, one of the strongest storms ever recorded in
33human history, struck the Philippines and devastated the lives of
34millions of people throughout the Philippines and the world; and

35WHEREAS, Today, numerous other community-based
36institutions that take responsibility for the services, advocacy, and
37civic engagement needs of the Filipino American community exist
38throughout the state; and

39WHEREAS, The Filipino American population is currently the
40largest Asian American and Pacific Islander group in California
P5    1and the third largest Asian American and Pacific Islander group
2in the United States; and

3WHEREAS, Nine Filipino Americans have received the
4Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest award for valor in
5action against an enemy force that can be bestowed upon an
6individual serving in the United States Armed Forces; and

7WHEREAS, Filipino Americans have served the public in a
8wide range of capacities, including, but not limited to, Chief Justice
9of the California Supreme Court, representatives to the United
10States Congress, legislators in the state legislatures of California
11and other states, and other city, state, and federal leaders of the
12United States; and

13WHEREAS, Throughout the history of the United States,
14Filipino Americans have made cultural, economic, political, social,
15and other contributions to our country that have become a vital
16part of the rich, diverse, and vibrant tapestry of our nation; and

17WHEREAS, Since World War II, federal, state, and local
18redevelopment projects, freeway and highway construction, urban
19decay, private development, demographic shifts, and poor city
20planning have destroyed a significant number of Filipino American
21historic sites and ethnic neighborhoods, and many of the remaining
22Filipino American communities and historic sites are in danger of
23being lost; and

24WHEREAS, Preserving our Filipino communities throughout
25California and the United States is critical to the preservation of
26Filipino culture, history, traditions, and heritage and to the
27preservation of our state and national history as well as our state
28and national future; now, therefore, be it

29Resolved by the Senate of the State of California, the Assembly
30thereof concurring,
That the Legislature recognizes the month of
31October 2016 as Filipino American History Month and the 429th
32anniversary of the first presence of Filipinos in the continental
33United States; and be it further

34Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of
35this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.