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Pilipinx American Heritage Month Celebrated at MiraCosta College

Oceanside CA— MiraCosta College will celebrate Filipino history and culture with an inaugural Pilipinx American Heritage Month in October that includes workshops, films, art exhibits and more.

MiraCosta College’s Pilipinx American Heritage Month calendar of events evolved through discussions among Student Equity Director J.P. Schumacher, Counseling Operations Supervisor Taylor Tirona, and Associate Counselor Desmond Morente regarding the need to honor and celebrate the Philippine community, which includes several hundred students at MiraCosta College and which the U.S. Census Bureau reports is the largest Asian population in San Diego County with approximately 160,000 residents.

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“This is the first time we’re having something like this at MiraCosta College, and it’s important because our culture has become homogenized within the larger Asian community,” Morente said of the events that are co-sponsored by the San Diego chapter of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. “We have a unique history that is too often overlooked.”

Although known nationwide as Filipino American History Month or Filipino American Heritage Month, organizers at MiraCosta College reason that “Pilipinx” is, in fact, more accurate, as the “f” sound is not native to the Philippines. The “x” replaces the letter “o” at the end of “Pilipinx” to embrace inclusivity.

“In celebrating Pilipinx American Heritage Month, we not only honor Pilipinx cultures and the contributions of Pilipinx and Pilipinx Americans, we acknowledge the inextricable ties between U.S. and Philippine history – ties that many are unaware of,” Shchumacher said.

Pilipinx American Heritage Month events kick off October 10 with a workshop entitled Colonial Mentality Workshop at noon in Aztlan A&B on the Oceanside Campus. The workshop, led by Morente, looks at how the history of the Philippines has imbued its people with a colonial mentality and offers strategies on how to eliminate the shackles needed to liberate that mindset.

Events scheduled to take place on the Oceanside Campus at 1 Barnard Drive include:

  • The Miseducation of the Mostless. October 12 in the Little Theatre (OC3601). Jason Magabo Perez employs poetry, essay and documentary film to relay stories and sympathies full of familial and historical trauma through a cast of widely divergent figures that include personalities such as Perez’s own mother–a Filipina migrant nurse, who in 1976 was framed by the FBI for murder. Perez, who is from Oceanside, is an assistant professor of English and creative writing at Cal State San Bernardino. The 6 p.m. performance, preceded by a 5:30 p.m. reception.
  • A screening of the film Out Run. October 16 in the Little Theatre (OC3601). This film tells the story of the leader of the world’s only LGBT political party, Bemz Benedito, who dreams of being the first transgender woman in the Congress of the Philippine. In a predominantly Catholic nation, rallying for LGBT representation in the halls of Congress is not an easy feat. Benedito and her eclectic team of queer political warriors must rethink traditional campaign strategies to amass support from unlikely places. Culminating on election day, Out Run provides a unique look into the challenges LGBT people face as they transition into the mainstream and fight for dignity, legitimacy, and acceptance across the globe. The 6 p.m. screening will be preceded by a 5:30 p.m. reception.
  • A Mixed Heritage Workshop. October 25 in Aztlan A&B (OC3400). This 2 p.m. session serves as a gateway to exploring mixed-heritage identities, especially within the Pilipino-American community. Attendees will discuss their “mixed-experience” and express their identities through art and storytelling.
  • A special College Hour event featuring artist Ron Recadio creating a portrait illustrating his experiences growing up in southeastern San Diego as a first-generation Pilipino-American. College Hour begins at 12 p.m. at the Hub Fountain and will also include discussions and plenty of Pilipino food.

In addition to the preceding events, Southern California-based artist Iz Inocencio Jr. is creating a painting of the 1930 Watsonville Riot, during which mobs of white men beat dozens of Pilipino men, vandalized Pilipino businesses and opened fire on Pilipino homes. Fermin Tobera, 22, was shot and killed during the riots and his body was sent to Manila where he is seen as a martyr in the fight for equality and independence. The painting will be displayed at the Oceanside Campus MiraCosta College library during Pilipinx American Heritage Month.

Further information can be obtained by visiting www.miracosta.edu/pahm.