The Filipino community came together in tribute of the 12th Annual Filipino Community Mural celebration at SF State April 8-9.
A coalition of six Filipino student organizations, together known as Mula Sa Ugat, convened in Jack Adams Hall to honor the Filipino Community Mural that depicts the conflicts their ancestors endured and overcame.
The mural was painted outside of the Cesar Chavez Student Center 12 years earlier in April 2003. The theme of the event, “We stand on their shoulders,” was written on the mural in both English and ancient script from the Philippines to remind Filipino students of the struggles and victories their ancestors have endured, according to key note speaker and League of Filipino Students member Jordan Ilagan.
“There’s no mural like that in any other school paying tribute to Filipino-American activism, so it’s really cool,” Ilagan said. “The mural holds a special place in my heart.”
During the first day of the celebration, a student panel of representatives from different Filipino organizations spoke about the history behind the mural.
The following day opened with students singing the national anthem of the Philippines at the front of the stage in Jack Adams Hall. Students performed spoken word that talked about the struggles they have encountered and continue to fight. The commemoration ended with a performance by attorney and SF State alumna Kae Hope Ranoa, better known by her stage name Hopie.
There are four parts to the mural: solidarity, community, struggle in the Philippines and struggle in the U.S.
The Philippines side of the mural shows issues such as U.S. militarization, according to Ilagan. On the other side, workers and nurses symbolize the struggle for equal rights and fair pay.
“(The mural) is a representation of the beauty and strength of our community, how we stand for justice and the right things, and that’s exactly what we need to be doing today,” said Terrance Valen, president of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns.
The mural includes depictions Filipino activists: Al Robles was a prominent poet and activist in San Francisco, Lorena Barros represents youth and students, Violeta A. Marasigan was a prominent Filipina women’s rights activist and Philip Vera Cruz was part of organizing the Filipino farmworkers in order to get rights in Delano alongside with Cesar Chavez.
Glenn Aquino, a graduate student at SF State, was part of LFS while the mural was in progress and said it took several years for the painting process to begin.
Hundreds of students painted the mural alongside artist James Garcia, according to Aquino. He said LFS wanted the community to contribute to the piece instead of just having a say.
Shannon Deloso, a sister of Kappa Psi Epsilon, member of Pilipino American Collegiate Endeavor and LFS said it was great to see people of color depicted in the mural and also women who have done great things in the community.
“Every time I look at that mural, each and every part of it is a symbol of me and what I can be,” Deloso said.