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NaFFAA Hosts 3rd Annual National Federation Forum Online
Largest Federation of Filipino American Organizations Compresses a Two-Day Summit with U.S. and Philippine Government Officials and Filipino American Leaders into a Three-Hour Virtual Conference
Washington, D.C. (Updated July 23, 2020) — Nearly 70 participants throughout the contiguous United States, Hawaii, and Alaska logged onto the 3rd Annual NaFFAA National Federation Forum on May 27, 2020. This is the first year that the event was held entirely online.
The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) brought leaders of Filipino American organizations throughout the country together with nationally elected officials, White House representatives, and Philippine diplomatic representatives throughout the United States to discuss the effects of the pandemic on our community and brainstorm solutions to issues from mental health to leadership to nonprofit fundraising in the current environment.
The problems posed by the COVID-19 pandemic loomed large during the conference. That very same day, the COVID-19 death toll in the United States crossed the 100,000 mark.
Tina Wei Smith, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, discussed the White House’s efforts to help Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) who had been hard hit by the coronavirus. Alex Flemister, Deputy Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison stated, “In the midst of these challenging times, it is more important than ever that we pay tribute to the achievement and the contributions that the Asian American and Pacific Islander community has made to our country.”
Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez stressed that “Many Filipino Americans have been serving on the front lines of the fight against this pandemic. Filipino American medical professionals have been recognized as the backbone of the U.S. healthcare system and this is apparent now more than ever.” The Ambassador also pointed to the “increasing hate crimes against Asians and Asian Americans including verbal harassment and acts of violence” as a result of the pandemic.
Congresswoman Grace Meng representing New York’s 6th Congressional District discussed her efforts to denounce discrimination against Asian Americans. The Congresswoman’s district includes the borough of Queens where a large portion of New York City’s Filipino Americans reside. Congressman Bobby Scott representing Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District spoke of proposed solutions to the economic destruction caused by the many months of sheltering in place.
Present on the call were leaders throughout the country including Rev. Herman Martir, Commissioner on the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, local officeholders such as Mayor Ron Falconi of Brunswick, Ohio, and Melissa Ramoso, City Councilmember of Artesia, California, and Philippine consular representatives from Illinois, California, Texas, Hawaii, Florida, and Louisiana.
“COVID-19 is still very viral so we must continue to be flexible and creative in the ways we safely serve the Filipino American community nationwide. We are stronger when we collaborate and leverage our resources to bring the most assistance to our communities,” said NaFFAA National Chairman and President Brendan Flores.
The event was preceded by a meet and greet held on May 20, 2020 that brought together Filipino American organizational leaders throughout the country. Despite the overhang of the pandemic, the conference achieved its objective of bringing together Filipino American leadership, diplomatic representatives, and U.S. government officeholders.
NaFFAA Chairman Brendan Flores summarized the transcendent effect of the conference, emphasizing the gathering of “local, regional, and national organizations united as one to push for a common goal: the advancement of our Filipino American diaspora.”
In the near future, NaFFAA plans to host additional forums to continue to strategize how to best assist those in need and build a coalition of organizations serving the Filipino American community.
Thank you to the organizations that joined: Association of Philippine Physicians in America (APPA), Filipino American Law Enforcement Officers Association (FALEO), Federation of Philippine American Chambers of Commerce (FPACC), Filipino Americans in STEAM, The Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project (FilVet Rep), Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue (FIND), Filipino Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO), Filipino Young Professionals of Washington, D.C. (FYPDC), International Society of Filipinos in Finance and Accounting (ISFFA), Kabataan Alliance, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), KAYA: Filipino Americans for Progress, National Filipino American Lawyers Association (NFALA), Northern California Pilipino American Student Alliance (NCPASA), Northwest Filipino-American Student Alliance (NWFASA), Philippine American Cultural Foundation (PACF), Philippine American Foundation for Charities (PAFC), Philippine Folk Arts Society, Inc. (PFASI), Philippine Humanitarian Coalition (PHC), Philippine Nurses Association of America (PNAA), The P.U.S.O Foundation, and South of Market Area (SOMA Pilipinas).
The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization. Established in 1997, NaFFAA promotes the welfare and well-being of the four (4) million Filipinos and Filipino Americans throughout the United States. NaFFAA’s vision is to serve as the voice of all Filipinos and Filipino Americans by uniting, engaging, and empowering diverse individuals and community organizations through leadership development, civic engagement, and national advocacy.