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Exhibit showcases diverse Filipino American history

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UW students Diana Jorda and Angeline Candido welcome people at Suzzallo Expresso to the opening night of “All the Conspirators,” a photographic exhibit about the history of Filipino Americans at the UW and in Seattle.

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UW freshman Michael Peralta and alumnus Jeff Rice view “All the Conspirators,” an exhibit at Suzzallo Espresso.

Students working on the UW Philippine American Dialogue & Discourse (PADD) history project invite students, faculty and staff to come to their exhibit on the history and social progress of the multifaceted Filipino American student groups and organizations within the UW and Seattle community.

The exhibit “All the Conspirators,” named after a novel by Filipino American author Carlos Bulosan, opened yesterday in Suzzallo Espresso in the Suzzallo Library.

“We’re trying to draw awareness to Filipino American history,” said Diana Jorda, a UW PADD history project leader. “We attempt to show different perspectives and sides within the [local] Filipino American community. It creates perspective for those in the community who may not be fully informed about the many diverse groups that make up the Seattle area.”

Project leader Angeline Candido said the exhibit serves to help remember Filipino American history, which is often forgotten or suppressed in mainstream American history classes.

“I think that, being Filipino American, we have the unique position of revitalizing our history and sort of un-suppressing what has gone on,” Candido said. “I’m hoping that people will come away being educated in Filipino American history.”

Candido grew up knowing little about Filipino American history, aside from reading a paragraph or two on the Philippine-American War.

“I hope this educates more people because I think that there is a gap in what people are being taught about the Philippines,” she said.

The exhibit explores the history of Filipino immigration — beginning in the early 1900s with the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, when Igorot natives were displayed as savages at the UW campus to justify colonization in the Philippines — and the history of the pensionados, a group of government-sponsored Filipino students and other self-sponsored students who studied at the UW.

The exhibit also showcases local Filipino American labor unions and organizations, such as the Katipunan ng mga Demokratikong Pilipino, or KDP, the Filipino American National Historical Society and the Filipino Community Center.

Although the exhibit focuses on Filipino Americans, Jorda said she hopes the exhibit inspires an open interconnection with other minority communities.

“A large history of Filipino Americans has been the interrelations with other cultural groups like the Latin Americans and the African-Americans, just all the minorities within the UW and Seattle area,” Jorda said. “We’re hoping to benefit the whole community, just to inspire people to maybe put up their own exhibits about their histories. We can all just benefit from putting it out there.”

[Reach reporter Sara Bruestle at news@thedaily.washington.edu.]

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