May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and as we wrap up the festivities, a group of Filipinos are flipping the pages to make sure Filipino history lives on.
Among the shelves of the Los Angeles Public Library Echo Park Branch is a special growing section: The Filipino Heritage Collection.
The shelves include dozens of books about the Philippines, written by Philippine authors, and even some modern Fil-Am fiction and non-fiction pieces, a few by community members themselves.
With a thirst for knowledge and a mission to promote Filipino history, community members have launched the “Carlos Bulosan Book Club.”
“Part of the mission of the friends group is to promote more literacy and awareness especially for the youth, Philippine American youth,” said James Castillo, Friends of the Echo Park Library Board. “We need this space so they can have the opportunity to know about their heritage, to know about their roots.”
The first book is Carlos Bulosan’s semi-autobiographical “America is in the Heart.”
Bulosan, a Filipino migrant worker-turned-author, had lived in the downtown Los Angeles area during his life as an OFW.
“The central library became his office, he was there thats where he wrote a lot in the Central library and Echo Park library is part of the LAPL, in a way we are continuing his work,” said Castillo. “The book club is continuing his torch that Carlos Bulosan and other meanings have started.”
With the book centering around Philippine migration, the struggles of immigrants, and finding one’s Filipino identity, the book club discussions bring back old memories.
The book club meets once a month, hoping to grow and push the effort to keep the pages of Philippine history and culture alive.