Rachelle Pastor Arizmendi: Let's Make Every Year a Historic Year By Getting More FilAms Into Elected Office

Sierra Madre City Council Member Rachelle Pastor Arizmendi gives a rousing speech at the Fil-Am Victory Celebration on January 31, 2019 in San Francisco. (Photo: Filipina Women’s Network)

Good evening! Magandang Gabi Po- Sainyong Lahat!

As a recent Filipina Women’s Network awardee of 100 most influential Filipina Women in the World- I am grateful to me amongst many of my fellow awardees of previous years-- ALONG with all those recognized in tonight’s event. A special thank you FAAE (Filipino American Arts Exposition (FAAE/Pistahan), FilAm Community Forum, and FWN- with Marily at the helm- for your continuous support and inspiration for all Filipinos around the world!

What a historic night! Do you agree, is this a historic night?

I hope I can speak on behalf of all of us elected officials and appointees being recognized. We are humbled and honored by the ongoing support of all of you here, our constituencies, our friends and family… and most especially, our Filipino-American Community.

Although I was born here in the USA- Carmel, California—It doesn’t matter where we were born. We are all connected today, with the idea, the history, and the culture of being Filipino. Whether the culture be the warmth of our people, of course our food, and even our dance—I know I danced the tinikling in a troupe for at least 10 years—as I’m sure many of you here have too!

According to the 2018 American Community Survey—we are 4M strong in the Country and the 3rd largest Asian Group in the US. Some say we are an “emerging population”—Emerging meaning “becoming apparent”?? I say we’re already here! In California alone- we are THE LARGEST Asian group in the State at a stunning 1.6 million Kababayan strong.

My question to you…my challenge to us…and my call to action for those present tonight is: How do we celebrate a historic night like tonight- EVERY SINGLE YEAR MOVING FORWARD? That is with record number Filipino-Americans elected to office, appointed to influential positions, and leading in our respective communities. We need to ensure that we are represented at policy-decision and legislative-making positions in proportion to our population. That means at city, county, state, and federal levels.

I expect to see at a record numbers for the 2019 elections…For 2020 elections…and every year thereafter.

But this challenge takes each and every one of us. Whether it is helping build the next generation of leaders, supporting the pipeline of potential candidates, walking precincts, phone banking…and just as important- pulling out our checkbooks when we connect with a candidate that we know will represent our best interests.

It is not only our responsibility- but it is our obligation- to continue to make every year- a HISTORIC year!

Congratulations to all of those recognized tonight- and thank you for including me in this celebration.

I wish godspeed to those that follow in tonight’s footsteps.

Thank you and Salamat po!