June is Filipino Heritage Month, and two Toronto entrepreneurs have spearheaded a brand new movement to push for more representation across the globe.
Argentina Beltran and Joycelyn David are fellow Filipino-Canadians who are passionate about highlighting the invaluable contributions of the growing Filipino diaspora.
And like all successful movements, they started a hashtag: #FILIPINOW.
#FILIPINOW is a social media campaign calling on the Filipino diaspora to tell their stories throughout the month of June.
“Our hope is that Filipinos of all backgrounds, and our allies, will stand up to proudly represent and celebrate each other,” David said in an interview with 6ixBuzz.
“There’s about 12 million of us outside of the Philippines that are doing amazing things but most times are not getting the right recognition that we deserve and we’re looking to change that,” Beltran said.
Filipinos are the third largest ethnic group in Canada, and many of them call Toronto home. In fact, they play an integral role in Canada’s health care system and have been essential in the battle against COVID-19.
The first three of five people to be vaccinated for COVID-19 in Canada were Filipino frontline workers, yet voices from the community are not heard or represented the way they deserve to be.
“We want to elevate the Filipino community and importantly tell their stories through our own words,” David said.
So how can you participate and show support?
It’s easy! Just post on social media using the hashtag #FILIPINOW and share your story. If you are Filipino, tell your audience who you are, and if you are an ally, share a story about a Filipino that inspires you.
“I didn’t learn how to speak Tagalog until later in my life, because I wanted to learn more about my heritage. When I asked my mom “why didn’t you want to teach me Tagalog at home,” she replied matter of fact ‘I didn’t want you to have an accent and experience hardship like I did,” David said.
“I honestly didn’t know whether to thank her or cry.”
And it’s for this reason that highlighting Filipino stories and voices is so important. It gives them a chance to share their unique struggles, break stereotypes, and create their own narrative.
“To my Filipino brothers and sisters, I encourage you to keep showing your knack for innovation, speak up and keep building our legacy across the world,” Beltran said.
“To our allies, make space for us and acknowledge our contribution. Filipinos are here. We matter and we are visible.”