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Filipinos in Chinatown Will Be Honored on Nov. 17

Categories: News

By Maria Batayola

Back home in the Philippines, accomplished men and women are honored with a statue or a kiosk outlining their contributions at the town square.

On Saturday, November 17, the community is going to honor its own with a 7’ tall kiosk entitled “Honoring Filipino Americans in Chinatown International District from 1911 to 2010”.  It will be unveiled with a program at 11 a.m., lunch at noon, then a free tour of Chinatown International District (CID) through Filipino eyes.  The event will be held at the Nagomi Tea House on 519 6th Avenue South.  Attendees are encouraged to rsvp for the lunch count by contacting Delia Vita at dcvita@gmail.com or calling her at 206 225-3720.

The kiosk unveiling will reveal Weng Gavino’s fantastic 55” tall by 42” wide intaglio mural piece entitled “The Philippine Sun Kindles the Salmon Run”, depicting the story of the salmon akin to the Filipino journey in American society, struggling and spawning a legacy of justice and community building.

Honoring Filipinos in CID is long overdue. They have contributed greatly to the economic, political and social vitality of the CID and beyond with 40 plus establishments.  The 1911 records show the first time Filipinos were dispatched from the CID to work at the Alaska canneries.  Thereafter, they unionized the farm working and fish cannery industry in the late 1930s and reformed it in the 1980s.  Their legacy includes the arts and entertainment, businesses, families, newspapers, lodges and associations, social justice advocacy, social services and low-income housing built under “Uncle Bob” Santos’ long time leadership in the CID.  Emotionally, Chinatown is considered by many Filipinos as their home away from home.

The kiosk project would not have been possible without the OIS Signage Committee coordination of Tom Im of Interim CDA and the guidance of the Kiosk Project Advisors, hard working core team members* and students, namely: Alma Kern Filipino Community of Seattle President, Alex Rolluda Architect*, Dr. Bob Flor Pinoy Words Expressed Kultura Arts (PWEKA) Co-Chair, Cindy Domingo Carlos Bulosan Museum Leader, Dolores Sibonga first Filipino City Council Member, Dr. Dorothy Cordova Filipino National Historical Society (FANHS) Executive Director*, Dr. Fred Cordova FANHS Archivist*, KIOSK Project Chair & Editor Maria Batayola PWEKA Co-Chair*, Olivia Zapata Graphic Artist*, Dr. Pio de Cano FANHS Trustee*, Ryan Catabay Web Designer, Dr. Rick Bonus UW Asian Ethnic Studies Associate Professor, Dr. Vince Rafael UW History Professor, and Weng Gavino, Intaglio Mural Artist* along with Keanna Daba Santos Design Architect, Alexandra Hooper, architectural intern,  student researcher Phillip Bruan and Seattle University interns Daniel Buenafe Griffith, Katrina de los Cruz and Margaret Read.

The kiosk is funded by the City of Seattle Office In Seattle Initiative Grant, Interim CDA, SCIDpda, Filipino American City Employees of Seattle, Filipino American Political Action Group of Washington, Filipino Community of Seattle, Gran Oriente, Inlandboatmen’s Union Region 37, formerly ILWU Local 37, Pinoy Words Expressed Kultura Arts and generous individual donors.  Special thanks to Tom Im for coordinating the kiosk project, it is one of four ethnic planned kiosks to be installed in the CID.

For more information, contact Maria Batayola, mbjumpstart@msn.com