AADAP’s Philippine Independence Day (PID) 2020 Commemoration – A Celebration of Shared Humanity
By The PID Committee
On June 8th, physically separated, but connected by purpose and mission, AADAP marked the 122nd Philippine Independence Day with a virtual presentation thoughtfully created by a cross section of the staff from different units. President and CEO Mike Watanabe has always set the tone of diversity, equity and inclusion in AADAP’s yearly cycle of celebrations and Daisy Asis-Nakanishi, Employment Access Director, mobilized AADAP’s Filipino family to translate tradition through technology.
The diverse voices of AADAP staff shared their authentic relationship with the Philippine homeland. Prompted by the question, what does Philippine Independence mean to you, they offered these glimpses of their voices.
Yvette Enrique, Youth & Family Programs, “Philippine Independence Day in America for me, a US born Pinay, gives me an opportunity to reflect on how Pinoys have been a historical part of Civil Rights. Historical events in the US that included Filipinos remind me that being Filipino, we are determined, resilient, and humble. MABUHAY!”
Through the Filipino core value of “shared identity,” the presentation situated itself in the historic and ongoing racial injustice and solidarity with Black Lives Matter and the focal person in George Floyd. A video about Philippine history and the role of independence was curated by Carol Almeda, Community Prevention said, “The struggle for genuine independence has been interrupted by decades and centuries of colonialism; by Spain and later on by the United States. Independence is borne out of struggle of the people to chart their own destiny towards a society where justice and freedom reign. It is beyond being called a republic and having a flag to wave.”
Filipino people continue to suffer from economic injustices like landlessness, joblessness, exploitation of natural resources by foreign interests, inadequate access to healthcare and education among the fundamental social issues. Thus, the people’s struggle continues. Patty Abrantes, Outpatient: “Philippine Independence means acknowledging my personal history as an immigrant and who I am today, being a daughter of WWII Vet, recognizing my own purpose and role in affecting change for the broader communities around us – to channel the privileges that I’ve been afforded and give back to the true meaning of “Independence” “Freedom” and “Equality” – both personally and in my work thru AADAP.” Nina Autajay of Outpatient said, “Philippine Independence Day is an opportunity to celebrate traditions that were thought to have vanished. Though not traditionally Filipino, endemic body art has ubiquitous purpose: protection from enemies and bad spirits, display of a warrior’s rank and marked success in defending homelands from foreign invaders like the colonial Spanish. This tattooing is slow, extremely painful, and poses great risk of infection. These tattoos represent the development of strength through enduring pain and taking risks for the sake of community, similar to the values we encourage in our clients.” Nelson Matt Nailat “Coching’s comics had a strong influence and gained great reputation to become one of most important Philippines National Artists throughout the 20th century. When a country fights for its independence, we sometimes need the motivation or leadership of a “hero,” even when its conceptual, and no such hero exists. The spirit of a hero can exists in all of us.” Jessica Abaya from Community Prevention appropriately completed the celebration with a virtual nod to Filipino cuisine with a mouthwatering adobo chicken wings recipe tutorial from none other than comic, Jo Koy.
A very special and warm thank to you to the PID Committee members: Patricia Abrantes; Carol Almeda; Daisy Asis-Nakanishi; Nina Autajay; Jessica Abaya; Belen Baculanta; Angela Bartolome; Richard Bis; Yvette Enrique; Joel Jacinto; Marnelle Mascardo; Annel Matias; Nelson Nailat; Eddie Tagle; Francis Tan; Aris Tubadeza and Aishah Yco. Mabuhay ang Sambayanang Pilipino! (Long Live the Filipino People), Mabuhay ang Tunay na Kalayaan! (Long Live Genuine Freedom)! Virtual and physically distanced, AADAP’s Philippine Independence Day 2020 affirmed that we are all family. Connected, always, in all ways!