HomeBad Ass AsiansFilipino American Innovators and Leaders Gather for Iconic Photo

Filipino American Innovators and Leaders Gather for Iconic Photo

Filipino American leaders
Dreamscape Studio Photography / dreamscapestudio.net / Via Courtesy of Kevin Nadal
Front row (sitting, from left): Kevin Nadal, Ayesha Vera-Cruz, Kalayaan Mendoza, Geena Rocero, Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish, Richard Mendoza, Mark Bustos; Second row (kneeling/sitting, from left): DJ Neil Armstrong, RJ Mendoza-Nadal, Ernabel Demillo, Lea Salonga, Stella Abrera, Judge Lorna Schofield, Liz Casasola, Chef Cristeta Comerford, Cecilia Pagkalinawan, Monette Rivera, Jaygee Macapugay, Lucille Javier; Third Row (standing, from left): Ken Natori, Luis Francia, Ryan Letada, EJ Samson, Mia Alvar, Rafe Totengco, Nancy Bulalacao-Leung, Ching Valdes-Aran, Nicole Ponseca, Jason Tengco, Marissa Aroy, Joe Bataan; Fourth Row (elevated, from left): Ben de Guzman,
Marlo Gamora, Jose Llana.

By Ed Diokno

THIRTY-FOUR Filipino/Americans gathered in New York for a family picture last month, Filipino American Heritage Month. Each has excelled in his or her particular field and each could be an inspiration for Filipino/Americans across the country.

Some of the names you’ll recognize: Lea Salonga, Cristeta Comerford, Joe Bataan and Geena Rocero. Others are a little less known to the general public but no less deserving.

Some may quibble on who’s in the picture but just getting all these busy people in place is an accomplishment in itself.  It’s a historic shot and one we should all appreciate. I’m sure if the picture was taken on the West Coast a few more people would be added to the group portrait. Perhaps a politician or two, a few actors, a couple more journalists and certainly some civil rights activists would be included.

In an essay for Buzzfeed, Dr. Kevin Nadal, one of the organizers of the photo shoot, wrote:

Throughout our history in both the Philippines and the U.S., we have overcome these instances of tyranny, brutality, and inequality. We have fought for independence in the Philippines and marched for civil rights in the U.S. We have organized movements, formed coalitions with allies, and persevered against systemic discrimination, ignorance, and oppression.

We have comforted each other in times of despair and have supported the trailblazers who have represented us well. We have moved forward and persevered, usually with a smile, and always holding the hands of future generations behind us.

To fully appreciate it, though, click here to find out why these individuals were invited to be in the picture.


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