FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 30, 2016
(Photo Courtesy of Edwin Josue)
NEW YORK, NY — The Executive Chamber of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has proclaimed Filipino American History Month for the month of October 2016. An official from Governor Cuomo’s office presented the proclamations to the Filipino American Democratic Club of New York (FADCNY), the Filipino American National Historical Society – Metro New York (FANHS MNY), and UniPro – Pilipino American Unity for Progress, Inc, at the Filipino American History Month Opening and Community Awards in the East Village on September 30, 2016.
The proclamation was presented to the club to recognize and celebrate its unprecedented achievements in elevating the engagement of the Filipino American community with the political and civic process. The group has conducted several forums, including the first ever citywide state primary candidate forum focused on Asian American issues, and advocacy campaigns on behalf of the Filipino community, most notably on encouraging Members of Congress to co-sponsor a Congressional Gold Medal Bill for Filipino veterans, signing on to a Black Lives Matter solidarity letter with hundreds of Asian American organizations, supporting the Right to Know Act (two bills in the City Council that address police transparency), and filing a legal action in support of police transparency regarding disciplinary records. The group also sucessfully advocated for judicial representation and reform for the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.
Most recently, the group helped launched the Coalition to Defend Little Manila froma proposed megachurch development that threatens the integrity and character of the Filipino ethnic enclave in Woodside, Queens.
Aries Dela Cruz, president and a founding member of FADCNY said “This is such an honor for us to receive this proclamation, and we proudly accept it on behalf of the Filipino American community in New York. In the face of national anti-immigrant hostility, we formed this club formed to debunk the myth that Filipinos are apathetic to the issues that impact our community. We carry the torches of Pinoy leaders and pioneers like Joe Montano, Bob Santos, Larry Itliong, and the Delano Manongs, whose advocacy has changed the course of American history. Like them, we believe that our communities are stronger when we build coalitions, intersect identities and uplift those voices who have been historically erased. The breadth of our accomplishments this year prove that we are not complacent – we are committed to making New York a more inclusive place for all of us. Our vision is of a Filipino community that views voting for candidates that support our priorities as not just an act of courage, but an act of duty that honors the sacrifices our Filipino American History pioneers have made.”
“Governor Cuomo’s proclamation honors the historical and cultural contributions of Filipinos. It reminds us of where we have come from and much further we have got to go. Our community is on the verge of realizing its rising potential as a political force,” said Steven Raga, vice president and a founding member. “While we have won so many hard-fought battles for recognition and for progress, we need groups like FADCNY to inspire our community to claim their seat at the table. We are grateful for Governor Cuomo’s support and recognition of our community and our history as valued citizens and leaders in this state.”
“Groups like the FADCNY are important because Filipino Americans are already the least likely to be contacted by candidates and public officials. As the political home for the Filipino community in New York, our club serves as the key to shrinking the contact mobilization gap,” said Marian Guerra, political co-director and a founding member. “Every day, Filipino Americans are standing up to be counted. As the 2nd largest AAPI group in the US, we are simply tired of asking for permission to be included. In response, FADCNY is building the bench of political and civic leadership for Filipino New Yorkers so that future public servants can represent our community’s values and priorities. We also refuse to be silent when Hollywood threatens to misrepresent our narratives, as demonstrated by our rapid response to Mail Order Family, a show that trivializes the traumatic experience of Filipina women who are sexually and economically trafficked in the United States. From politics to film, we are demanding to take our seats at the table.”
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