FANHS San Diego Chapter decided on the theme “Kapwa: Moving Forward in Unity” last fall. It was in early November 2012 just prior to the Presidential Election and after Filipino American History Month in October. We thought about the importance of an action oriented theme as our nationwide Filipino American community just celebrated the 425th Anniversary of Filipinos landing in California, and as our country was about to embark upon a decision–moving forward as a nation.
Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) understands the importance of Filipino Americans moving forward in unity. “Kapwa” refers to an indigenous and decolonized term which means shared identity. The core value of kapwa encompasses 1) interaction with others on an equal basis; 2) sensitivity to and regard for others 3) respect and concern; 4) helping each other; 5) understanding each other’s limitations; and 6) rapport with and acceptance of others.
FANHS has a vision to build leaders for the future taking into account a decolonized perspective which looks at our past, our present and our future. Decolonization promotes the cultural connection to one’s kapwa (shared identity), making it possible to identify with one’s people and history, despite personal, generational, educational, social or economic differences. FANHS returns to California in 2014 where Filipinos 1st landed in what is now the continental United States.
2014 also marks the 100th anniversary of the first sailing through the Panama Canal which accomplished a land divided and a world united. As the first U.S. port of call on the Pacific Coast, north of the Panama Canal, San Diego celebrated the opening of the canal with a grand exposition. This exposition contributed to San Diego’s expansion and attracted many visitors, putting San Diego on the map for the 20th century.
The history of Filipinos coming to the port of San Diego began centuries earlier when Filipinos sailed on the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade ships. Mindful of these significant sailings and the core value of kapwa, as FANHS comes to San Diego we will examine our history, our struggles, and our shared and different identities. With our FANHS 2014 National Conference, we will move our communities forward in unity.