philippines There are more than 2.5 million Filipinos and Filipino Americans in the United Sates, a number that continues to grow rapidly. Yet, despite these numbers, we still do not have the clout to influence public policy on issues that affect our community. We are not preparing our young generations for leadership of a community that is poised to be a dominant minority in the coming millennium.

Laws are constantly being passed by the U. S. Congress, by State Legislatures and by voters in State Propositions which affect the well-being of our community without any organized and effective response from us. We have not played the significant role our numbers and our long history in this continent (since 1587) require from us.

When we are referred to as "the sleeping giant", we beam with pride at the "giant" part of the label instead of feeling shame at the "sleeping" aspect of that image. It is time - PANAHON NA! - to wake up and become dynamic and active participants in shaping the issues and events that affect us as individuals and as members of an ethnic minority in the United States.

But a vision of an empowered community asserting its role in mainstream America needs a bold plan of action. Thus this year’s theme: BUILDING THE INFRASTRUCTURE FOR EMPOWERMENT." Not only do we need a national organization; we have to establish:
  • An Institute for Entrepreneurial Training to promote economic development;
  • A Leadership Academy targeting our promising youth;
  • A Center for Civic and Political Participant through Voter Registration and Get-Out-The-Vote Drives;
  • Scholarship and Youth Assistance Centers;
  • A National Talent Bank, both in the Government and Private Sectors;
  • A Directory of Elected and Appointed Public Officials at all levels of Government; and,
  • An up-dated database of all Filipino American organizations and businesses in the entire country.
On October 16-18, at the Second National Filipino American Empowerment Conference, we are bringing together leaders from the over 3,000 Filipino American organizations, elected and appointed public officials, business leaders, resource persons, community organizers, the youth, the young professionals and senior citizens. We will work together to find solutions. We will need to figure our how we can collaborate effectively among ourselves and network with existing community-based organizations.

Finally, empowerment will occur only when there is a shared leadership, common vision and community ownership.

We invite the reader, therefore, to attend the October Conference and work with us and creat that synergy to move Filipino Americans forward into the next Century, duly unified and empowered.

Our Dreams can come true if we commit ourselves to work hard and make personal sacrifices of time, money and effort to make them a reality!

Come and be part of the awakened giant!

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