Empowering Filipinos in Hawaii: A Journey to Success

Twenty-five years ago, Filipinos in Hawaii made history by leading a national protest against racism. This event, which was reported by The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, is unfortunately not widely known, even among Filipinos living on the islands. This is due in part to the negative portrayal of Filipinos in media, such as in “Blu's Hanging”, where they are depicted as promiscuous and without any positive characters to counterbalance this image. To combat this lack of representation, a group of high school students and recent graduates from Hawaii are taking action by creating a curriculum about Filipino history, culture and identity. The organizers of the protest sought support from the Filipino community in Hawaii and throughout the continental United States.

In upstate New York, where many Filipinos live, they were largely unknown before this event. This is evidenced by an article written by Jamie James for The Atlantic in February 1999 titled “This Hawaii Is Not for Tourists”, which reviews Harry's Heads. This article provides an interesting look at how Filipino immigrants have settled in communities such as Kalihi and Waipahu, where there is a strong support system. Chona Montesines-Sonido and the HFC Staff have written an essay on the journey of Filipino empowerment in Hawaii. They suggest that this journey should be viewed from the inside out, looking at how Filipinos are being empowered today.

One area that needs to move forward is encouraging and empowering the average Filipino. This can be seen in the success of two Filipino-Americans who have won Grammy Awards and represent the future of mainstream pop and R&B in the U. S.IDEAS is a great resource for essays, analyses and opinions on all aspects of life and public affairs in Hawaii. It is a great place to learn more about how Filipinos are being supported and empowered today.

Through education, representation in media, and support from their communities, Filipinos living and working in Hawaii are making strides towards a brighter future. The journey to success for Filipinos in Hawaii is one that requires dedication and hard work. It starts with education; learning about their history, culture and identity will help them understand their place in society. It also requires representation; having positive role models in media will help to counterbalance any negative stereotypes that may exist. Finally, it requires support; having a strong support system within their communities will help them to stay motivated and inspired. The journey of Filipino empowerment in Hawaii is one that has been ongoing for many years.

It has been a long road but one that has been filled with progress. With continued dedication from both individuals and organizations, Filipinos can continue to make strides towards a brighter future.