For the first time in its history, Arkansas has recognized October as Filipino American History Month.
The recognition came in the form of official proclamations issued by Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the state capital of Little Rock, according to KATV.
Joshua Ang Price, deputy director of Arkansas United, an immigrant-focused nonprofit, is credited for leading the petition for the recognition at the city, county and state levels. He received the in-person county and city proclamations on Oct. 25 from Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde at a Quorum Court meeting and from Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. at a Little Rock City Board of Education Directors meeting.
Price previously served as election commissioner of Pulaski County and president of the Filipino Young Leaders Program. He is also the first Arkansan to be inducted into the Knights of Rizal, the official Order of Chivalry of the Republic of the Philippines, as per KATV.
Filipino American History Month was first recognized by the U.S. Congress in 2009. Today, Filipino Americans compose the third-largest AAPI group in Arkansas, with most living in Little Rock and Pulaski County.
The recent proclamation recognized that 260,000 Filipino and Filipino American soldiers had served in World War II under General Douglas MacArthur, who was a native of Little Rock. It also encouraged the public to “recognize and celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of Filipino American men and women in our communities.”
The Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS), a nonprofit dedicated “to promote understanding, education, enlightenment, appreciation and enrichment” of Filipino American history, is urging others to follow Arkansas’ example.
“We encourage other communities to do the same in the month of October to recognize Filipino American History Month in their respective cities and states,” the nonprofit wrote in a Facebook post on Monday.