The San Francisco Unified School District has created special programs to recognize Filipinx history. (Screenshot)

The San Francisco Unified School District has created special programs to recognize Filipinx history. (Screenshot)

Celebrating Filipino American History Month

SFUSD offers lessons, activity guide

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Did you know that the South of Market neighborhood in San Francisco is also known as SOMA Pilipinas? In 2016, SOMA Pilipinas was officially recognized by The City of San Francisco as the SF Filipino Cultural Heritage District!

This is just one of the many amazing facts you can find about the Filipino American community inside our Filipinx History Resource Guide!

Filipino American History Month

Every October is another opportunity to celebrate Filipino American history together as a community. In SFUSD, schools have offered lessons and other activities to honor Filipino history and culture. For example, Hazeline Mandapat and JustineRay Madarang from Sunset Elementary put together this presentation on Filipino role models, cultural icons and common Tagalog phrases.

You can also catch regular Tagalog lessons from Michaella Isanan, our student instructor from George Washington High School, on our children’s educational TV show “SF Loves Learning” every Friday on KTVU Plus!

To celebrate the history and not only the heritage of Filipino Americans means that we have to see the ways the Filipino community helped build and change this nation. This month and throughout the year, I encourage you to learn about how Filipinos have participated in and helped lead social justice movements in America.

Celebrating together, even though we are apart

In SFUSD, we are committed to uplifting the cultural brilliance and historic contributions of the Filipino community in our city and within our schools. It is absolutely necessary in order to provide each and every student in our care with a humanizing learning experience. This is especially important while we continue our time “apart, but united” in distance learning.

This reminds me of a cultural value known as Kapwa in the Filipino community. In Tagalog, Kapwa speaks to the shared humanity and interconnectivity between living things. Even though we can’t be together right now, we can still learn to understand and stand in solidarity with each other based on what we have in common and in our differences. Isang Bagsak literally translates to “one down”; culturally, it means that “we rise together and we fall together.”

Speaking of Isang Bagsak, please remember to vote. And while voting for all the many important things on the ballot, please look for, find and vote on Proposition J, which would provide nearly $50 million of funds to our schools, prioritizing salaries for teachers.

Vincent Matthews is the superintendent of schools for the San Francisco Unified School District. He is a guest columnist.

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