11th EC Welcome Message &
Special Thanks to the NaFFAA Region 10 Organizing Committee !!!
Like the break of dawn arising
From sullen earth sing hymns to heaven
For remembering the wealth of things we’ve done
That then I would not change my position in life with kings….
– To paraphrase one of Shakespeare’s sonnets
It is my pride and pleasure to welcome each one of you to San Diego, the host city of the 11th National Empowerment Conference! As we celebrate this eventful gathering of leaders across America, we bring honor to NaFFAA. Today, we are re-affirming our commitment to stand by the ideals of our organization that we, and our founders forged about 17 years ago in Washington D.C. The impact that NaFFAA had sustained in the lives of almost 4 million Americans of Filipino ancestry surely inspired us to move forward, get better and create more advocacies. Through the years, NaFFAA has strengthened a Filipino American community, by creating one voice to further social, economic, cultural and political empowerment. Our theme, “We Break the Dawn, Master Planning the Future,” will usher us more positive changes, and new directions as a lead organization of Filipino Americans.
Our outstanding accomplishments at NaFFAA since its inception, we owe to the dynamic and dedicated leaders who evolved in our organization. We continue to be inspired as we remember and reflect on the good deeds and intentions of our founder, Alex Esclamado, when he criss-crossed the United States to create a concerted support for the first ever held Filipino American Empowerment Conference in the United States. My great memories with Alex bring me back to the time when he first came to organize NaFFAA in Michigan. I will never forget that night before the meeting when we were at Kinko’s, making copies of the handouts up until midnight, and later, enjoyed “dim sum” at 1:00AM in a local Chinese restaurant nearby. Special NaFFAA moments like these are embedded in our thoughts and hearts. We should never let go of the values of hard work and perseverance as exemplified by our founding fathers. These are the same values that became the trademarks of leaders who walked into the portals of NaFFAA, and the same values that we should impart to those who are joining NaFFAA today and tomorrow.
As we complete this four-day conference, we hope to achieve a meaningful engagement as we successfully reach our goals. We will explore through our discussion by discovering positive thoughts within us on what we can do better for NaFFAA. We will embrace the idea of involving and defining the significant roles of our youth to the future of our organization. We will employ a respectful resolve, with utmost consideration on individual’s differences, on pressing issues that are confronting our communities. Together, we will bring NaFFAA at the forefront of building a stronger federation of Filipino American associations. Allow me to reflect on the wisdom of my favorite leader, Mahatma Gandhi when he said, “Keep your values positive because your values become destiny.
After four years of serving as your National Chair, I will step down with a grateful heart. Thank you to this year’s conference organizing committee for setting this memorable event. Your exemplary hard work is truly appreciated. Thank you all for the support of this year’s conference. Thank you to all the state and regional chairs and their members for your dedication to NaFFAA. Your mere presence and active involvement clearly spell out the success of this conference and our organization. Let’s continue to keep NaFFAA empowering you and our communities. I hope you will enjoy yourselves here in San Diego, and make sure you meet as many friends as you can until the end of this event.
Mabuhay ang NaFFAA!! Mabuhay po tayong lahat!!
Eduardo “Ed” Navarra
NaFFAA National Chair