SAN FRANCISCO – The theme of “We Stand on Their Shoulders” resonated through different performances and presentations as Filipino American students at San Francisco State University honored past Filipino activists at the 12th anniversary of the Filipino mural above the Cesar Chavez student center.
In 2003, this collaborative effort of over 200 artists became the first mural to depict Filipino history in the entire California State University system.
The mural is divided into four sections: solidarity, community, struggle in the Philippines and struggle in the United States – highlighting noteworthy Filipinos like labor leader Philip Vera Cruz and community activist Al Robles.
Students say they celebrate the anniversary of the mural because the events depicted in the past are still relevant to this day.
“I think for us it’s very important that this mural is here to really represent our struggle and our history as a Filipino people and really understanding and connecting the issues of our people back in the motherland to our experiences as Filipino Americans,” said Patrick Racela, the head coordinator of the Pilipino American Collegiate Endeavor.
National Alliance for Filipino Concerns President Terry Valen acknowledged and applauded how some young Filipino American students decide to go on exposure trips to the Philippines to witness the struggle many Filipinos face on a daily basis.
“The Filipino community mural and the theme of “We Stand on Their Shoulders” is a perfect opportunity when they say mula sa ugat, ‘from the roots’, go back to the Philippines and that is our essence of who we are as a people and there you can see the conditions, what we’re struggling over there, and what we’re facing,” said Valen.
In the spirit of how the mural depicts the struggle of the labor class, the students recognized the working staff at the student center for their often thankless efforts to serve thousands of students.
“We also recognize that everyday working people deserve at least a moment of recognition for the work that they do because they themselves are the backbone of America,” said Racela.
Fil-Am students here at San Francisco State also say that when they walk by the mural they not only see pictures of history but a reminder to contribute to the legacy of Filipino Americans as part of their own generation.
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