Los Angeles city officials, Fil-Ams celebrate PH Independence
LOS ANGELES, California – Philippine Independence Day was celebrated here on June 12 with a commemoration by City Hall and a Filipino community parade on June 7 at Historic Filipinotown.
The City Hall celebration was organized by the Los Angeles Filipino Association of City Employees (LAFACE), and sponsored by the office of Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, who represents council district 13 (CD13), where Historic Filipinotown (HiFi) is located.
A special cultural program-luncheon was held at the City Hall’s Historic Spring Street Steps. The program included a parade of colors (featuring historical flags of the Philippine Revolution) and performances by Annie Nepomuceno, Miguel Vera and Filipino students of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.
Councilmember O’Farrell presented a resolution to Philippine Consul General Leo Herrera-Lim and LAFACE President Linda Granados, proclaiming the city’s commemoration of June 12. It was signed by all members of the LA City Council and former and Mayor Eric Garcetti.
O’Farrell said that he was “particularly proud” to be representing Historic Filipinotown, a neighborhood that has been home to Filipinos in high concentrations since the 1940s and has served as a gateway for many Filipino immigrants in Los Angeles for the past several decades.
“Since the Filipinos first arrived in in this country, they have made significant contributions to our country’s social, economic, political, educational, artistic, scientific and entertainment communities. Filipinos helped build this country’s infrastructure, worked in our farms, plantations, fought valiantly in our nation’s armed services, served honorably in public office, and are now becoming staples in the entertainment and sports community,” O’Farrell said.
He noted a “relatively new dynamic” and approach to America’s multiculturalism. Being of Irish descent, O’Farrell himself has seen immigrant communities of different nationalities pursue assimilation with the intent of “never looking back,” resulting in the loss of connection to cultural heritage.
“I like that in this day and age, we recognize and celebrate our roots and where we came from, so that it enriches us and all of our cultures. I like that [it’s happening] today in modern-day America,” O’Farrell said.
Consul General Herrera-Lim said that the Filipinos’ growing significance in Los Angeles is a positive development, with elected officials becoming more attuned to the needs of the Fil-Am community. Herrera-Lim said that what the community needs to do now is to take the opportunity to voice out their concerns more to local and state government.
Meanwhile, on Saturday, June 7, about 30 Fil-Am groups joined the celebration of the Kalayaan Grand in Historic Filipinotown in an unprecedented show of unity.
The Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA) led by its President Austin “June” Baul, the Philippine Consulate General of Los Angeles and Justice for Filipino Veteran (JFAV) participated in the colorful event.
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