Saysay project captures Filipino American voices

Filipinos make up the largest and fastest-growing Asian group in California, but often their stories are overlooked or distorted in media and the public conversation. I’m very happy to be part of a new effort, from the Filipino community itself, to document and craft its own storytelling through the Saysay Project.

Here’s how FilAm ARTS, the group behind the project, describes the effort:

The SAYSAY Project is a community-sourced documentation project by FilAm ARTS to capture the myriad of experiences in the Filipino diaspora through story telling.

“Saysay” (pronounced sigh-sigh) is a Tagalog word that has a double meaning: to have intrinsic value and to declare. This project aims to engage the community to tell their stories, and to document and preserve these shared stories for future generations.

George Villanueva also has an interesting report in KCET about the recent Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture, where Filipinos from across Southern California contributed stories to the Saysay Project.

Philippine-born Pilar Diaz, who immigrated to and grew up in Colorado and now lives in Los Angeles, was asked about her experience being interviewed during the SaySay Project. She said, “it made me reflect about who I am, how I got here. Even though I go about my everyday life in L.A. operating as an American, telling my story reminded me that I’m Filipino, have Filipino values, and see the world as a Filipino too.”

Check out the full report here.

We’ll be conducting workshops in the Southern California region in the coming months, so to tell your story or to check out more about the Saysay Project, go here. Salamat!


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