Bay Area Fil-Am community leader, historian passes away

Dr. Dawn Mabalon — a historian — a community leader, a food scholar, a Pinay activist tragically passed away while on vacation with her family in Hawaii.

With a master’s in Asian American studies from UCLA and doctorate in history from Stanford, Mabalon’s research focused on the preservation on Fil-Am history, and the cultural and social impact of Filipino cuisine.

Mabalon wrote “Little Manila is in the Heart: The Making of the Filipina/o American community in Stockton, California” — which is her hometown.

In 2000, Malbalon co-founded the Little Manila Foundation in Stockton because she and the community wanted to save the remaining buildings of the Little Manila neighborhood, which was once known as the largest Filipino-American community in the country.

As a history professor at San Francisco State University, Mabalon constantly fought for ethnic studies — especially when de-funding threatened the program in 2016.

The Filipino community across the Bay Area mourned her passing over the weekend at various Filipino celebrations, including the annual Pistahan parade.

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