SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The San Jose City Hall tower and rotunda glowed on Friday to reflect the colors of the Filipino flag.
This October marks a special anniversary of "Filipino American History Month."
Filipino American history, culture and contributions made here at home were on display in Downtown San Jose.
A celebration marking 30 years of Filipino American History Month.
The month-long observance commemorates the first recorded presence of Filipinos in the continental United States--ancestors who arrived in what is now Morro Bay on October 18, 1587.
"Every time I come to this events, I'm reminded, I'm reminded of those people that did so much for this country. And for the new ones, the young ones that are coming now," said Corazon Tomalinas, community activist.
"I'm really proud to be part of this community and I'm lucky that I even have this community here in San Jose," said Brent Cantillas, Akbayan Dancer at San Jose State University.
Local Fil-Am groups and city leaders are behind the annual flag raising and lighting ceremony, spotlighting this special anniversary.
It's meant to put attention on the community's contributions to American life that many feel has sat in historical shadows.
Stories that are finally being told today.
"We have that responsibility to ourselves and our families and our larger collective to tell those stories accurately and fully and completely," said Angelica Cortez, Executive Director at LEAD Filipino.
"There's an old Filipino adage, said Tomalinas. "All of us must look to our roots and who we are," she said.
Organizers are making it clear. Filipino American History Month is not interchangeable with Heritage Month. The distinction lies with legacy.
"For us, it's about history, or herstory, and really uplifting that for our collective consciousness to have that knowledge and awareness that we have been here, we have been here for over 435 years," said Cortez.
Every detail reflective of deep rooted Filipino American pride.
If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live