President Dr. Mark Sanchez, school board trustees, students and faculty gathered at the corner of H Street and Otay Lakes Road to hoist the flag. The event also included student speeches, music and folk dance performances. Student representatives from the school ‘s Filipino-American clubs, Bayan Learning Community and Pagkakaisa were also in attendance.

Filipino Americans are the second-largest Asian American group in the nation and the third-largest ethnic group in California, after Latinas/os and African Americans. According to U.S. Census figures, roughly 200,000 Filipino Americans live in San Diego County, and nearly one in 10 students, staff and faculty at Southwestern College identify as Filipino.

“By raising the Filipino flag, Southwestern College proudly demonstrates its unwavering support and solidarity with all members of the community,” a statement from the college reads. “This act symbolizes the college’s commitment to fostering an inclusive environment where every individual is treated with respect, dignity, and provided equal opportunities

for success.”

According to the Filipino American National Historical Society, Filipino American History Month commemorates the first recorded presence of Filipinos in the U.S. When Filipinos arrived in present-day Morro Bay, California aboard the Spanish Galleon Nuestra Senora de Esperanza on Oct. 18, 1587.

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