A Historic Filipinotown Weekend

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Last weekend, key members of our organizing team and our good friends with FANHS Santa Clara Valley packed up and traveled down to sunny Los Angeles!  The reason for our trip?  To take the Pilipino Workers’ Center’s (PWC) “Hidden Hi-Fi Jeepney Tour”, learn about our experiences and stories in Historic Filipinotown, and meet with community advocates and leaders.

Historic Filipinotown is a district in the City of Los Angeles, in the southwest area of Echo Park.  The street boundaries are Glendale Blvd, Hoover Street, Temple, Park and Lake Streets. Several Filipino/a based nonprofits, grassroots organizations, and community groups are working to redevelop and boost the economic prosperity of the district. Organizations such as the Pilipino Workers’ Center (PWC), Filipino American Service Group (FASGI), Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA), and the Filipino American Library (FAL), and restaurants/eateries like “Park’s Finest” and “Tribal Cafe” contribute to the activity and excitement in this historic area.

During our 90-minute Tour, we drove through the district’s boundaries and visited 4 significant sites that pay homage to our Filipino/a American stories, histories, and contributions:

“Gintong Kasaysayan, Gintang Pamana Mural” (A Glorious History, A Golden Legacy)Located in LA’s Silverlake neighborhood in Unidad Park, this is the nation’s largest mural chronicling Filipino/a stories, indigenous patterns, and vestiges of our tribal communities, such as the Rice Terraces of the Cordilleras and Baybayin writing. 150-feet in length, the mural captures historic Filipino/a revolutionaries and visionaries like Lapu Lapu, a datu that fought Magellan and resisted early colonization.

Lake Street Park & Recreation Center: The “VALOR” memorial honoring the sacrifice and courage of our Filipino World War II Veteranos stands prominently at the entrance of the Center’s playground.

Temple Street Seafood Market: A “mom and pop” Filipino/a grocery store that provides the comforts of home, including a seafood butcher in the house!

Tribal Cafe: Nestled in Echo Park, Tribal Cafe dons a delicious assortment of smoothies and juices. Tribal Cafe serves as a space for local artists, musicians, and poets in the neighborhood, often openings its doors to host Open Mics and Cinema Features/Film Screenings.

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July 8, 2017: Gintong Kasaysayan, Gintong Pamana Mural depicting Filipino Labor Leaders Larry Itliong, Philip Vera Cruz, Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, former Philippines’ President Cory Aquino, Filipina Gold Olympic Medalist Victoria Manalo Draves, WWII Bataan Death March, the People Power Revolution, and “Positively No Filipinos Allowed”.
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July 8, 2017: Depicted on the mural: Corazon Aquino, the People Power Revolution, Senator and Activist Nino Aquino (one in life and one in death), Roman Gabriel football player for the LA Rams and Philadelphia Eagles, Alfonso Ossorio, Cecile Licad, and Lea Salonga, Pedro Flores the first yo-yo maker in the U.S., the Historic Filipinotown LA Freeway Sign, and VALOR WWII Veteranos Memorial. 

We were grateful for this transformative and reflective trip to LA and returned to San Jose refreshed and recharged to host our summer Awareness in Action Program (AAP).

Amidst LA’s bustle and clamor, it’s easy to miss Historic Filipinotown’s preservations of our shared cultural past.  Next time you’re in LA, be sure to stop by these sites, as the whispers of our Filipino/a forebears are still heard through the streets, neighborhoods, and communities.

Ingat,

Angelica Cortez
L.E.A.D Filipino

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