CHICAGO (Oct. 6, 2017) — Gov. Bruce Rauner today hosted the state of Illinois Filipino American History Month celebration together with the Department of Human Rights and the Consulate General of the Republic of the Philippines in Chicago.
Per Pew Research data, Filipino Americans were the third-largest Asian heritage group in the United States as of 2015. The Chicago metro area is home to over 137,000 Filipino Americans.
“Filipino History Month is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and reflect on the contributions Filipino Americans have made to our state and country, including the Filipino veterans of WWII,” Rauner said. “It is a privilege to present leadership and service awards to five Filipino American changemakers who have positively impacted Illinois and are helping to build a better future for our state.”
During the ceremony, Rauner presented awards for community service, business leadership, emerging leader, and lifetime achievement to Filipino Illinoisans Jasmine Hernandez, Edgar Jimenez, Michelle Lura White and Ron Bongat, respectively. Garnering a social service award was the Filipino American Historical Society of Chicago. The governor then presented a special honorary award to Consul General Generoso Calonge for his outstanding service in leadership.
“I am sincerely grateful and honored for the recognition given by the Governor’s Office of the significant and positive contributions and influence of Filipinos and Filipino Americans in the cultural, economic and political developments in the state of Illinois,” Calonge said. “The Philippine Consulate General in Chicago looks forward to further enhancing and nurturing its robust partnership with the Office of Governor Rauner.”
Congress will honor Filipino World War II veterans with its highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal, at a ceremony in the U.S. Capitol on Oct. 25, 2017. The Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act (Public Law 114-265), was signed into law by President Obama. The measure awarded the medal collectively to the 250,000-plus Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers who responded to President Roosevelt’s call to duty and fought under the American flag during World War II.
“As we celebrate Filipino American History Month, we must always remind ourselves why our parents or grandparents brought us to this great nation,” President of the Asian American Law Enforcement Association Ron Bongat said. “We as Filipino Americans have an obligation to give back to our communities and our country in order to ensure that America remains a country that Filipinos can migrate to so they can provide a better life for their families.”