Filipino leaders and elected officials hold forum to discuss community engagement amid pandemic

NEW YORK — It was a somber milestone in American history on this week, after the U.S. coronavirus death toll breached the 100,000th mark.

On that same day, the National Federation of Filipino American Association, or NaFFAA, came together virtually for their annual national federation forum — where Philippine government representatives, U.S. elected officials, organizations and their leaders brainstormed on ways to better serve their communities in pandemic times.

“We have a, not only a health emergency, but also an economic emergency, we just in the last few hours crossed 100,000 deaths, we’ve also come in close to 40 million people who filed unemployment compensation claims,” said Rep. Bobby Scott.

NaFFAA said the forum’s goal is to provide solutions to problems brought about by the crisis — as cities and states take steps to slowly reopen their economies.

But as the country celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May – NaFFAA leaders also pointed out the rising incidents of discrimination and hate against Asian Americans.

To truly make a difference, the Fil-Am mayor of Brunswick, Ohio, said that fellow Filipinos need to be part of the broader community and also take on leadership roles.

“We need to be more vocal in our communities not just federal but also State level, local levels, so that we can all insert ourselves politically,” said Ron Falconi.

While no one knows when this pandemic will end, naffaa leaders believe that staying united is the only way to survive and thrive during these tough times.

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