History

The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) is recognized by Washington policy makers, private industry and national advocacy groups as the voice of the Filipinos and Filipino Americans throughout the Unites States. It is a non-partisan, non-profit association that promotes the active participation of Filipino Americans in civic and national affair. Its 13 regions cover the continental United States, Hawaii, Guam and the Marianas. Its mission is to promote the welfare and well-being of all Filipinos and Filipino Americans throughout the United States by fostering unity and empowerment. Its main function is to monitor legislation and public policy issues affecting Filipino Americans and work in coalition with other national groups around common issues and concerns.

NaFFAA was born out of a need for the Filipino American community to take its place in the American mainstream and participate in decisions affecting its interest. There was a need to harmonize the diverse voices of our community into one clear, powerful voice that could be heard by government, business, media and the American public.

NaFFAA was formed during a meeting between East Coast and West Coast Filipino American leaders in New York in l997. The Philippine News Publisher at the time, Alex A. Esclamado; TLC Beatrice CEO and President, Loida Nicolas Lewis; nationally acclaimed guitarist Michael Dadap; and San Francisco State College Board President, Rodel Rodis, were talking over dinner about how to unite the 3,000 Filipino American organizations all over the country. The four decided it was time to convene a national conference and forge a common agenda for empowerment. Mr. Esclamado volunteered to head the effort. On August l997, over 1,000 delegates, representing various Filipino American organizations across the United States held its first National Filipino American Empowerment Conference in Washington DC.

Spurred by the conference, the Filipino American community, youth leaders, seniors, veterans and civil rights activists and Filipino American elected and appointed officials address four major issues: immigration, affirmative action, welfare reform, and equity for Filipino World War II Veterans. To dramatize the urgency, particularly of the last issue, delegates marched to the White House on the first day of the conference, led by hundred of uniformed Filipino Veterans, to demand “equity now”. For the first time, the veterans issue became a national campaign for justice.

NaFFAA Logo

NaFFAA is the largest national affiliation of Filipino American institutions, umbrella organizations and individuals. Its thirteen regions cover the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, the Marianas Islands, and American Samoa.

Aware that the Filipino American Community is only part of the Filipino diaspora, NaFFAA also convened a series of networking conventions to bring the global community together. The First Global Filipino Networking Convention was held in San Francisco immediately after the “Y2K2” Conference in 2002.

When NaFFAA was formed in the 1997 Empowerment Conference in Washington D.C., the nearly 3 million Filipinos and Filipino Americans did not have a visible presence in the national capital. An office was immediately established with an executive staff running the daily operations. Since then, NaFFAA has built strategic relations with policy makers on the federal level, including the U.S. Congress and the various agencies of the executive branch. As well, NaFFAA has forged partnerships and alliances with coalition partners in the civil rights community to promote their collective interests, particularly on such issues as immigration, voting rights, discrimination and racial stereotyping in the media, and equal opportunity in education. The national office has also coordinated and guided the local work of its 13 geographic regions by institutionalizing regional conferences and other events. National empowerment conferences, now held every two years, provide opportunities for assessing the organization’s programs and structure, and charting NaFFAA’s future directions.

In its years of existence, NaFFAA has continued to promote its empowerment agenda through advocacy, coalition building, voter education and civic participation.

Past National Chairs | Past Board of Directors | Past Conferences | Past Summits | Past Conventions

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“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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