Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Updates on Filipino American History Month Legislation

Many friends have been working with national leaders on Filipino American History Month legislation. Many thanks to everyone who reported on the Senate Resolution to honor Filipino American History Month:

"On Thursday, October 1, the U.S. Senate passed on by unanimous consent on the U.S. Senate floor S. Res. 298, a resolution recognizing Filipino American History Month in October 2009, introduced by Senate Majority Leader, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), and co-sponsored by Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Senator John Ensign (R-NV), Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ). The bill text is very similar to H. Res. 780 in the U.S. House of Representatives as introduced by Congressman Bob Filner, Co-Chair of the Congressional U.S.-Philippine Friendship Caucus."
Full text of S. Res. 298 here: http://http://www.thomas.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:S.RES.298: : [Copy/paste url if link doesn't work.]

Its companion bill, H. Res. 780, "Recognizing the celebration of Filipino American History Month in October," is still pending in the House. Currently, 19 more sponsors are needed. To track H. Res. 780, http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=hr111-780

Ben DeGuzman (Washington, DC) drafted the following Action Alert:

CALL TO ACTION: The Senate has done its work! Let the House know we need to celebrate Filipino American History Month!

Friends:

On October 1, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution by unanimous consent recognizing this October as Filipino American History Month <http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:S.RES.298:>. The House now has the opportunity- the obligation- to follow suit and makes its own statement on behalf of our community. Your help is needed to make our Congress do the right thing- it will NOT happen without your action! On September 25, Representative Bob Filner (D-CA) introduced House Resolution 780 (H. Res. 780) to recognize October as Filipino American History Month. The Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) has marked October as Filipino American History Month for over two decades and this important bill will provide important recognition of the contributions our community has made to the fabric of American life. The Senate passed its own version of this bill as Senate Resolution (S. Res) 298 by unanimous consent on October 1 to kick off Filipino American History Month. It is now time for the House of Representatives to do the same and pass its own version of this Resolution. This has already been an historic year for our community already. The passage of legislation for Filipino WWII veterans earlier this year marked an important victory for our communities. The Senate did its job and now recognizes Filipino American History Month and just recently on October 15, President Obama signed an Executive Order to reinstate the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, an important institution to help document and improve the federal government’s response to our communities. It is only proper that the House of Representatives recognize the contributions our community has made to the American narrative since first coming here in 1587. H Res. 780 requires at least 50 cosponsors in the House of Representatives in order to be considered for final passage. Your help is greatly needed to build the momentum needed to gain one more legislative victory for our community.

-MORE-
How You Can Help: · Please write/email/call your U.S. Representative to become a co-sponsor of H.Res. 780. A Sample Letter for your use is below. To find the contact information of your Representative, visit: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home/ · Please spread the word and ask your friends/family to write to their Representative and Senators to become a co-sponsor of H.Res. 780.

Tips for Writing Your Members of Congress: ·
Identify Yourself: State your name and address in your correspondence. If you are a registered voter, say so upfront. If you represent an organization, figures on how many members are registered voters in the member’s district are helpful. · Do NOT send Postal Mail to Washington, DC: Faxed letters, e-mails and phone calls to Congressmembers’ personal offices in Washington, DC are more likely to be received in a timely manner. Mailed letters continue to encounter higher security measures. In general, the more time it takes to send correspondence, the more weight it is given (calls are worth more than e-mails, faxes are worth more than calls). · Clearly Identify the Bill Number: When writing to your Representatives, be sure to refer to H.Res. 780, Filipino American History Month Resolution. ·

In your letter, ask your members of Congress to co-sponsor H.Res. 780, and explain why it is important to you. · Personal Touch: Congressional offices tend to notice or pay more attention to a letter that is handwritten and or personalized in some way. Thus, to be most effective, try to personalize your letter when possible. -MORE-

A Sample Letter:

DEAR :

As a constituent in your district, I am writing to strongly urge you to support HRes. 780: The Filipino American History Month Resolution. The Filipino American community is one of the fastest growing in the U.S. and is the largest Asian American population. Filipino Americans have contributed to every facet of life in the United States, from defending democracy and our way of life in World War II to the arts and sciences- going back to the arrival of the first Filipinos to Morro Bay, California in 1587 and the first settlement of Filipinos in Louisiana in 1763. Unfortunately, our history books continue to lack information about our role in areas as diverse as the farm workers movement in the 1950s, to propping up the health care industry in the 1960s and 1970s, even to pop cultural role models such as Lou Diamond Philips and Tia Carrere. H Res 780 will designate October as Filipino American History Month. It will allow the contributions of the Filipino American community to history, politics, culture, and the arts to be appropriately recognized and celebrated. We look forward to your support of this important resolution. Please contact us at [provide your own contact information] for further information. This October is the perfect time to stand in support of Filipino American History Month!

Sincerely,



-END-

Thousands Attend FANHS Filipino American History Month Events

From FANHS New York to FANHS Midwest and through the west's FANHS Chapters in Oregon and California, FANHS members and friends organized October's Filipino American History Month events that collectively drew thousands to learn about Filipino American history. (Reports on many of these FANHS regional events are forthcoming.)

-photo by the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco http://www.flickr.com/photos/asianartmuseum/sets/72157622518447638/

FANHS San Francisco Consortium worked with the Asian Art Museum and other organizations to organize a Filipino American History Month program that drew 2,675 people to the October 4, 2009 event. Congrats and many thanks to FANHS National Vice President Vangie Buell and FANHS National Assistant Secretary Baylan Megino, event coordinators, and all the many volunteers and groups who worked on this most successful event. http://www.asianart.org/filamhistory.htm