Barbara Jane Reyes on Filipinx American History Month

Oct 26, 2021

black and white close up image of author barbara jane reyes

Photo of Barbara Jane Reyes by Peter Dressel

We asked Barbara Jane Reyes, one of our favorite poets, to write about what Filipinx American History Month means to her. She also shares her awesome list of recommended Filipinx American titles.

Barbara Jane Reyes is the author of seven books of poetry including Invocation to Daughters (City Lights, 2017) and Letters to a Young Brown Girl (BOA Editions, 2020).

Barbara Jane Reyes: According to the Filipino American National Historical Society, “In 2009, U.S. Congress recognized October as Filipino American History Month in the United States. Various states, counties, and cities in the U.S. have established proclamations and resolutions declaring observance of Filipino American History Month. The late Dr. Fred Cordova, along with his wife, FANHS Founder Dr. Dorothy Laigo Cordova, first introduced October as Filipino American History Month in 1992 with a resolution from the FANHS National Board of Trustees.” 

For me, Filipino American History Month is an important assertion of our presence, lives, and work in a place whose citizens still regard us as aliens and foreigners. I would like to amplify the words of the great poet José Garcia Villa, who once wrote, quite simply, “Have come, am here.”

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