White House celebrates belated Filipino American History Month
By Bryan Ke
December 7, 2023
After delays due to national and international events, the White House last week finally held a celebration for Filipino American History Month (FAHM), bringing community members together in honor of their heritage.
About the event: The belated celebration was reportedly held in the White House’s Indian Treaty Room on Nov. 28. The gathering saw about 100 guests, including officials, community leaders and Hollywood celebrities.
Present were Carson City Councilmember Arleen Bocatija Rojas, entrepreneur Loida Nicolas Lewis and Hollywood actors Lou Diamond Phillips and Tia Carrere, who are part of the upcoming live-action “Lilo and Stitch” film, to name a few. This year’s event also marked the first time a Cabinet member – acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su – came in attendance, Rappler noted.
What Biden said: President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were scheduled to attend the celebration but had to go to Georgia to attend the memorial of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. In a letter read at the event, Biden acknowledged Filipinos and Filipino Americans for their contributions to the U.S., writing in part, “Filipinos and Filipino Americans embody the best of our country – putting service over self, remaining committed to their opportunities, and bolstering the bonds that unite us as Americans.”
Why the delay: Speaking to GMA News, Ted Benito, producer and director of the presentation at the event, said the celebration was planned in May and proposed in June. Their request reportedly remained pending until mid-October — the actual FAHM month — due to various national and international events, such as the lack of a House speaker, national strikes and the wars in Ukraine and Israel, among others.
About FAHM: FAHM was first celebrated in the U.S. in October 1992, a year after a proclamation passed by the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS). Since then, it has been observed annually, but it was only in 2009 when Congress passed it and in 2015 when the White House, under former President Barack Obama, celebrated it.
Share this Article
Share this Article