Legacy Builder: Recording the Stories of Filipino Americans

A #FilipinoAmerican Story as told by Dorothy Laigo Cordova, founder of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS). Read her full story below: “When I was nine, our neighbor accused my family of stealing his dog so that we could eat it. Our mother was so angry, but I was so embarrassed! The other neighbors might actually believe that because we were Filipinos, we really ate dogs! While we lived in a predominantly white community, I grew up with the trappings of Filipino culture: we went to a Catholic school a couple of miles out of the neighborhood, we ate different food (our playmates loved the “Filipino apples” served with vinegar and salt), and the girls in our family were not allowed to go to dances until age 16. While most kids of immigrants would wish to be called American, I realized that we were living with a dichotomy. We were both Filipino and American. But because our skin was not white and our parents had an accent, a majority of the people would not consider us as Americans. It was very frustrating to grow up aware of that perception, but I stayed silent for many years because I didn’t think I could say or do anything about it. I found my voice when I began capturing oral histories of Asian immigrants—first for the Washington State Archives and later as director of the Demonstration Project for Asian Americans. I discovered the different reasons why Filipinos came to the USA and the struggles we had gone through in making a home here. Meanwhile, we were being left out of the history books—strange, I thought, since we were the largest ethnic group that had migrated at the time. I realized our story needed to be told, accurately and completely. So, my husband and I founded the Filipino American National Historical Society, focusing our research and media expertise here. Today, FANHS houses one of the largest collections of Filipino American history in the world—over thirty thousand written pieces of personal history! Finally, we have on record who we are as a people. We are different, but we are not freaks or dog eaters. We are members of American society, we have fought its wars and sent our own boys to fight, and we continue to contribute to the growth of this country.”About: Filipino American Disruptors is a month-long storytelling initiative powered by NextDayBetter x AARP AAPI Community celebrating the stories of Filipino Americans in a range of disciplines from community activism to tech entrepreneurship. These forward-thinking individuals are trendsetters, trailblazers, and problem-solvers in their respective fields, helping to push America and the Filipino American community forward through their leadership, creativity, and innovation.

Posted by AARP AAPI Community on Monday, October 30, 2017

Legacy Builder: Recording the Stories of Filipino Americans

A #FilipinoAmerican story as told by Dorothy Laigo Cordova, founder of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS).

“When I was nine, our neighbor accused my family of stealing his dog so that we could eat it. Our mother was so angry, but I was so embarrassed! The other neighbors might actually believe that because we were Filipinos, we really ate dogs!

While we lived in a predominantly white community, I grew up with the trappings of Filipino culture: we went to a Catholic school a couple of miles out of the neighborhood, we ate different food (our playmates loved the “Filipino apples” served with vinegar and salt), and the girls in our family were not allowed to go to dances until age 16. While most kids of immigrants would wish to be called American, I realized that we were living with a dichotomy. We were both Filipino and American.

But because our skin was not white and our parents had an accent, a majority of the people would not consider us as Americans. It was very frustrating to grow up aware of that perception, but I stayed silent for many years because I didn’t think I could say or do anything about it.

I found my voice when I began capturing oral histories of Asian immigrants—first for the Washington State Archives and later as director of the Demonstration Project for Asian Americans. I discovered the different reasons why Filipinos came to the USA and the struggles we had gone through in making a home here. Meanwhile, we were being left out of the history books—strange, I thought, since we were the largest ethnic group that had migrated at the time. I realized our story needed to be told, accurately and completely.

So, my husband and I founded the Filipino American National Historical Society, focusing our research and media expertise here. Today, FANHS houses one of the largest collections of Filipino American history in the world—over thirty thousand written pieces of personal history! Finally, we have on record who we are as a people. We are different, but we are not freaks or dog eaters. We are members of American society, we have fought its wars and sent our own boys to fight, and we continue to contribute to the growth of this country.”

About:
Filipino American Disruptors is a month-long storytelling initiative powered by NextDayBetter x AARP AAPI Communityommunity celebrating the stories of Filipino Americans in a range of disciplines from community activism to tech entrepreneurship. These forward-thinking individuals are trendsetters, trailblazers, and problem-solvers in their respective fields, helping to push America and the Filipino American community forward through their leadership, creativity, and innovation.

NextDayBetter Storyteller: Candice Quimpo