SFUSD celebrates Filipino American History Month
Originally published in the San Francisco Examiner.
Kamusta! That’s “hello” in Tagalog, one of the six languages most frequently spoken by our SFUSD students and families
If you’re in our schools, you may have heard this and other Tagalog words even more throughout the month of October as many of our schools have joined in celebrating Filipino American History Month. (Fun Fact: the month of October was chosen to commemorate the arrival of the first Filipinos who landed in California in 1587)!
Filipino American History Month
Many of our schools offered lessons and other activities to honor Filipino heritage and culture. One of the many events celebrated during this month is Larry Itliong’s birthday, which was October 25. Larry Itliong was a Filipino American labor organizer who is perhaps best known for his leadership and advocacy during the famous Delano Grape Strike that began in 1965, which laid the foundation for a partnership with Cesar Chavez and other union leaders to form the United Farm Workers.
Educators from across the City recently gathered at Balboa High School to celebrate Itliong’s important contributions. At Thurgood Marshall High School, students in the Filipino Club held a fundraiser by selling Filipino food (including vegetarian and meat lumpia!) to raise money for field trips and sweatshirts.
Celebrating our Filipino Community Year Round
Here in San Francisco, we have an organization of Filipino educators called Kababayan SFUSD, which helps to organize events and activities for our Filipino community. Kababayan SFUSD works very closely with the Filipino Mental Health Initiative in San Francisco, specifically around identifying strategies to support Filipino youth in our schools. And last year for the first time, we held a districtwide graduation for all Filipino seniors and their families. Some of the students also received scholarships from Kababayan SFUSD.
Some of our schools offer language instruction in Tagalog. In addition to language learning, students are also exposed to the culture and history of the Philippines. We consistently encourage our students to be multicultural and multilingual. In fact, one of our graduate profile competencies is developing our students global, local and digital identities.
Ingat (that means “take care, see you later”)!