October 2nd, US President Barack Obama honored Filipino-Americans who “helped build and defend” the United States at the first ever celebration that focused on Filipino-American History Month at the White House.
He also recognized the Fil-Ams who led the fight for better conditions and wages for Filipino and Mexican farmworkers in Delano, California, in the 1960s and early 1970s.
“Seventy years ago, the United States and our allies overcame forces of tyranny and oppression that threatened not only the Pacific but the entire world—a victory made possible in part by thousands of Filipino-Americans who fought for our nation but who for far too long were denied the compensation they had earned,” Obama said.
“You know, it’s a good indicator that you’ve arrived when you don’t only have your own month but that the White House is saying they want to celebrate it, too,” said Nani Coloretti, the keynote speaker who is the highest ranking Filipino-American in the Obama administration. Coloretti is deputy secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Coloretti credited her Filipino grandfather, who was a labor organizer in Hawaii, for inspiring her commitment to public service.