Cherie M. Querol Moreno for INQUIRER.NET:
Filipinos and Americans, two identities in one. Born in the Philippines, the United States and elsewhere. Baby Boomers, Gen X’ers, Millennials. Democrat, Republican, Green and Independent. Liberal and conservative, progressive or centrist: Over a hundred of them assembled Jan. 31 at a Google outpost in San Francisco for the exact same reasons — to toast each other, celebrate their Filipino heritage, cheer their collective victory in the recent midterm elections, and work together to multiply their ranks.
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This gathering was like no other as it welcomed United States Representative TJ Cox, the first Filipino American elected to represent California in the U.S. Congress. Bay Area-born Cox, the third son of the former Perla de Castro (now Davis) and Kenneth Cox, joins California Assembly Member Rob Bonta as the two Golden State FilAms to smash racial barriers in the halls of higher political power.
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Having strong women for mothers, Cox and Bonta unsurprisingly emphasized who were missing from their offices, urging their predominantly female audience to double-down on their aspirations and grab their own seats in the California and U.S. Legislatures.
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Show up they did, including newly elected Artesia Council Member Melissa Ramoso and re-elected Sierra Madre Council Member Rachel Pastor Arizmendi, who flew in from Southern California. They were among 9 fresh and 15 re-elected Fil-Ams trading congratulations and digits at the reception hosted by the Filipino American Community Forum, the political engagement program led by longtime collaborators Marily Mondejar and Al Perez.
“I was born here, but our birthplace does not matter because we are all Filipinos and Americans,” Arizmendi enunciated in the third event keynote representing local officials.