Organization for Fil-Am city employees LAFACE celebrates its 35th anniversary
To honor the more than 300,000 Filipino Americans who reside in Los Angeles County, the City of LA celebrated October as Filipino-American History Month.
Although October is already recognized as Fil-Am History Month nationwide, the city’s move is to ensure that the Angelenos understand the role that working Filipinos played in LA’s history was essential in contributing to the city’s vibrant cultural fabric.
On Friday, October 13, the city celebrated Fil-Am History Month at a special commemoration at City Hall, honoring the contributions of the rich Fil-Am community in LA.
“I am particularly proud to be here today as the representative of Historic Filipinotown, a neighborhood who has been home to Filipinos since 1940s and served as a gateway for many Filipino immigrants of Los Angeles,” said Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell of the 13th District.
The City Council also honored the Los Angeles Filipino Association of City Employees (LAFACE), which celebrated its 35th year in representing Fil-Am civil servants who work for the city. Councilmember Jose Huizar of the 14th District also noted that despite “a lack of leadership in Washington” that promotes “xenophobic culture,” Los Angeles stands above adversity and celebrates cultural diversity.
“Here in the city of LA we don’t just talk about diversity, we live it every day and it an imperfect thing. We don’t always get it right but we embrace what it represents and that it represents the very best of our humanity so we need to actively seek it out,” Huizar said. “When days like this, when we as council members have the absolute pleasure to recognize, acknowledge and completely embrace and support the Filipino-American community and all they mean to our great city, when we can stand before these good people and say they bring immeasurable value to our city and to us as Angelenos and as americans, that’s a beautiful thing and that’s what makes Los Angeles so special: it’s because of our diversity.”
Since Filipinos began emigrating to LA and establishing their own network in the city, there has always been a desire to coordinate an association of Filipino city employees. That dream was realized in March 1982 when Larry Rivera, grants management specialist of LA’s Community Development Department, and his office mate Dorothy Orozco Tyndall, executive vice president of the LA City Employees Chicano Association (LACECA), organized LAFACE.
They saw the need for an organized body within the city that provided career resources and advocated for the growing Fil-Am community in the city. LAFACE also serves as a network for Filipinos who seek career promotions and coordinates with other minority groups to promote equal employment opportunities in the city.
Thirty-five years later, LAFACE now boasts a solid and a growing membership and continues to grow and change.
LAFACE President Rea Lazo of the LA Police Department (LAPD) spoke of the enormous early efforts of LAFACE’s past presidents and leadership who have provided the foundation for the group to thrive.
“As we continue to provide a voice for Filipino Americans in the city since 1982, today we come together to proclaim October as Filipino-American History Month and celebrate LAFACE’s 35-year anniversary,” said Lazo, who served for the Department of General Services for nearly 30 years. “It is my pleasure to honor our past presidents who are here today who helped shaped Filipino American history in the city through their impressive contributions in their various areas of expertise for our organization.” (By Klarize Medenilla / AJPress)