Fil-Ams for Hillary host Kamayan dinner to promote early voting

Fil-Ams for Hillary host Kamayan dinner to promote early voting

LAS VEGAS — Nearly a hundred Filipino Americans gathered on Sunday, October 16 to participate in a Kamayan-style dinner hosted by Hillary for Nevada.

In addition to celebrating October as Filipino American History Month, this dinner was patterned after a political tradition in the Philippines, wherein candidates would feast with their constituents.

“We are breaking bread with our president — our next president, Hillary Clinton. It is a way of showing her, yes we support her…Kamayan originally was a support system in the tribal areas of the Philippines,” said Kate Torres-Recto, a Fil-Am community leader and commercial loan specialist who was one of the dinner’s hosts.

She added, “She has supported us — all our issues, veterans, children, immigration. This is your way of showing that you are supporting Hillary Clinton. When we break the Kamayan up, it’s not just because we want to feed you…but we also want to show that we can be one as a voice.”

Jason Tengco, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) outreach director for Clinton’s campaign, said focus has been placed on mobilizing voters in Nevada in particular, given how the AAPI population in the state is one of the fastest-growing in the country.

The campaign, he said, knows “how important every single one of you are to make sure Hillary wins on November 8.”

According to the last U.S. Census, over 86,000 Filipinos reside in Clark County alone, making up the largest Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) group. The Filipino population is significant enough that the Clark County Election Department has required ballots and election materials be in Tagalog in addition to English and Spanish.

Tengco went on to cite Clinton’s record of fighting for AAPI issues, such as immigration and benefits for Fil-Am World War II veterans.

“As secretary of state, she’s traveled the world, she’s met with the president of the Philippines, she hasn’t called the Philippines names like the other candidate. As U.S. senator, she’s fought for comprehensive immigration reform and a lot of folks don’t know, she stood on the floor of the Senate defending Filipino-American World War II veterans,” Tengco said. “If you ask the other candidate how much he knows about our fellow manangs and manongs, I don’t even know what he’ll say. She’s fought for us, she’s fought for our community, so she needs us to actually fight for her in the remaining days of the election.”

Christopher Cabaldon, the mayor of West Sacramento, California, traveled to Las Vegas for this dinner and to help the campaign with phone bank efforts.

“There is no better candidate in the world to provide the kind of stable leadership for my cousins back home in the Philippines right now and for this world as a whole. But the Philippines desperately needs someone with a steady hand, someone who knows Asia, and no one knows it better than America’s top diplomat, Hillary Clinton,” he said.

With less than three weeks left, Cabaldon said Fil-Ams should be reminded why they should care about the election and what’s at stake if they don’t vote.

Fil-Am community leaders also urged fellow Fil-Ams to avail of the early voting period until November 4. This weekend, October 22 and 23, voters can head to Seafood City to cast their ballots.

“The responsibility and accountability belong to each one of you,” said Rozita Lee, a Fil-Am civic leader and former member of the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs.

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