Young Readers League 2019 “Hidden History” Writing Contest
(Category 2: ages 12-14)
“Ang pamilya ay lahat (Family is Everything)”
by Jordan Fleischman
Summary: The narrator explains her own hidden history.
“Kumusta po kayo. Ako si Jordan.” “Como esta. Me llamo Jordan.” This is Tagalog and Spanish for “How are you. My name is Jordan.” Most people can’t figure out my ethnicity. This is because I speak English, Spanish and Tagalog, the official language of the Philippines. Many do not know that half of me is Filipina. My hidden history goes far back.
Much of the Philippines identity today was shaped by its colonization by Spain and the United States. Like the Philippines, I am a blend of Asian, European and American cultures. My family’s journey to the United States starts during World WarⅡwhen my Filipino great grandfather fought alongside American soldiers. My lolo (grandfather) would tell stories about the war when he was a child and would run to the mountains to hide from invasions of his small village. To this day my lola (grandmother) recalls the horrible death marches she saw as a young girl during the Battle of Bataan when Filipino and American soldiers were forced to march to prison camps, often to their deaths. She will never forget their eyes pleading for help. My grandparents experiences have taught me to be compassionate, self-aware and resilient.
After the Philippines was liberated from Japanese control in 1945, my great grandfather was allowed to come to the United States because he served in the U.S. Army. This paved the way for my family and me to be born as American citizens.
Being Filipina is my hidden history, but I want to show that I’m proud of this part of my heritage. I’m proud because my family has overcome much adversity. I’m proud to be multiracial. October is Filipino History Month when I can celebrate this part of me and my family. Ang pamilya ay lahat (Family is Everything).