Legislature(2023 - 2024)GRUENBERG 120
02/28/2023 03:00 PM House STATE AFFAIRS
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HB 23-FILIPINO AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH 3:26:12 PM CHAIR SHAW announced that the final order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 23, "An Act establishing the month of October as Filipino American History Month." 3:26:38 PM REPRESENTATIVE GENEVIEVE MINA, Alaska State Legislature, prime sponsor, introduced HB 23. She presented a PowerPoint presentation, titled "HB 23 Filipino American History Month" [included in the committee packet]. She began on slide 2, highlighting Jose Rozal as a national hero of the Philippines for his aide in liberating the country from Spanish colonials. She discussed the substantial impact that Filipinos have had on Alaska, as the largest Asian American Pacific Islander group and the biggest immigrant group in the state. She conveyed that HB 23 would commemorate Filipino American History Month, which had been celebrated since 1992. 3:29:02 PM REPRESENTATIVE MINA advanced to slide 3, which illustrated the following Filipino contributions to the U.S.: Firstly, in WWI, over 250,000 Filipinos served in the U.S. Army in the far East under general Douglas MacArthur; Secondly, Larry Itliong organized a cannery workers' union in Alaska and persuaded Ceasar Chavez to start the Delano Grape Strike of 1965; Thirdly, more than 150,000 Filipino nurses emigrated to America, strengthening labor shortages in the health care sector. 3:31:58 PM REPRESENTATIVE MINA detailed the history of Filipinos in Alaska on slide 4, which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: Filipinos are the immigrant group in Alaska, with over 27,000 Filipinos residing in the state. Since 1788, Filipinos have been in Alaska through all walks of life: whaling crewmembers, cannery workers, community and religious leaders, small business owners, teacher, and more. 3:33:12 PM REPRESENTATIVE MINA concluded by discussing Filipino American History Month on slide 5, which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: Recognized in 1992 by the Filipino American Historical Society to celebrate Filipino history in the United States Recognized in Congress in 2009 FAHM has been recognized by the California State Legislature and Hawaii State Legislature 3:35:49 PM CHAIR SHAW invited questions from members of the committee. 3:35:54 PM REPRESENTATIVE STORY asked how Filipino American History Month had been historically celebrated in Alaska. REPRESENTATIVE MINA recounted examples of various celebrations, including the annual Filipino festival in Ketchikan and gatherings at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). She emphasized the importance of cultural gatherings to talk specifically about Filipino history and to build connections between different communities. 3:37:21 PM ROSE HART, Staff, Representative Genevieve Mina, Alaska State Legislature, provided additional context on the ways in which Filipino Americans were honored, recognized, and celebrated. Specific to the Alaska State Legislature, she cited House Joint Resolution 15, which recognized the contributions of Filipino vets during World War II, and again via Senate Concurrent Resolution 14, which recognized Filipino American History Month in 2010. 3:38:15 PM CHAIR SHAW, referencing his past military service, mentioned three six-month tours he spent in the Philippines, during which time he worked on behalf of the Philippine Embassy. 3:38:36 PM REPRESENTATIVE STORY asked whether the bill sponsor had a plan to educate students on Filipino American History Month. REPRESENTATIVE MINA said no concrete outreach plan had been developed at present; nonetheless, she acknowledged that it would be a great opportunity to raise awareness. She welcomed the idea of creating relationships with different community members who could teach, educate, and share knowledge with children. 3:40:19 PM CHAIR SHAW proceeded with invited testimony. 3:40:37 PM EDRIC CARRILLO, President, Filipino Community Inc., paraphrased the following written remarks [original punctuation provided]: I strongly urge your support for HB 23, which seeks to establish October as Filipino-American History Month in Alaska state statute. As a Filipino-American and President of the Filipino Community Inc., I have seen the positive impact of recognizing and celebrating culture and community in promoting understanding and success. The Filipino community in Alaska has made significant contributions to our economy, culture, and society. Filipinos have significantly influenced the Alaskan workforce in education, health care, and information technology to name a few. Filipinos have also contributed greatly to the cultural fabric of Alaska through our culinary traditions, music, dance, language, and literature. Celebrating Filipino history and culture has many benefits. Learning about other cultures and traditions can help break down barriers and improve communication and understanding between communities. It can also provide an important context for issues and improve government services. Furthermore, recognizing the history and achievements of Filipino Americans in Alaska can serve as an inspiration for future generations to participate in community services and work towards a better future for all of us. I hope to see this bill passed into law so that Alaskans from all backgrounds can celebrate our common heritage and work together to build a stronger and more vibrant state. Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to working with you and other members of the legislature to pass this important legislation. 3:43:27 PM GABRIEL GARCIA, PhD, Professor, Public Health, UAA, shared his personal history and contextualized the impact of learning about his history as a Filipino American. He stated that knowing Filipino American history made him want to do better as a person and to pay forward the sacrifices of those how came before him. He encouraged the committee to pass the bill, adding that the cost to the state was zero, but the impact would be priceless. 3:46:36 PM E.J. DAVID recounted the history of the first Filipinos' arrival in Alaska. He emphasized the significance of Filipino culture and their long rich history in Alaska, highlighting the large Filipino communities within the state. He noted that Filipinos made deep connection with indigenous peoples of Alaska, adding that Filipinos and Alaska Natives worked together to fight discrimination and other issues. He provided examples of notable Alaska Native Filipino leaders. He concluded by conveying both the hardships and resilience of Filipinos in Alaska and urged passage of the HB 23 to recognize Filipino Alaskans by officially establishing October as Filipino American History Month. 3:51:13 PM CHAIR SHAW opened public testimony on HB 23; after ascertaining that no one wished to testify online or in person, he closed public testimony and announced that HB 23 would be held over.