Carlos Bulosan poem to highlight Asian/Pacific Heritage Month in May

Photo: University of Washington Library

Photo: University of Washington Library

The White House announced that the theme for this year’s celebration of Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May, is: “I Want the Wide American Earth,” a poem by acclaimed Filipino American writer Carlos Bulosan.

The poem was chosen by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center to highlight the event.

The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders made the announcement on April 4. FilAm Jason Tengco from New England is an advisor on Public Engagement of the White House initiative.

“This year’s AAPI Heritage Month celebrates the contributions of millions of AAPIs to the American story and reminds us of the unique and emerging challenges facing AAPIs as they continue to embrace the American dream,” says the initiative in a statement. “Like Bulosan’s poem, the AAPI community is aspirational, unwavering in its belief in the promise of America for all.”

Excerpts from the poem:

Before the brave, before the proud builders and workers,
I say I want the wide American earth
For all the free.
I want the wide American earth for my people.
I want my beautiful land.
I want it with my rippling strength and tenderness
Of love and light and truth
For all the free

The White House initiative is providing state and local AAPI commissions and organizations with resources to mark AAPI Heritage Month and further develop ways to address issues facing the AAPI community, ranging from health care and language accessibility, to small business development, education, and immigration reform.

Deputy Consul General Tess Dizon-de Vega urged Filipinos to be more socially and politically “engaged.” She told The FilAm that Tengco, a second-generation FilAm, is “doing a lot of work” in raising the profile and visibility of Filipinos in mainstream America.

Bulosan is believed to have been born in 1913, making this year the centennial of his birth.

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One Comment

  1. M. Matthews wrote:

    Carlos Bulosan is one of the greatest poet/writer of his generation. Even though his life was not so easy and happy one while living in the USA as an immigrant who never felt accepted for who he was; an immigrant of color who to face discrimination and prejudices during his life time in America.

    It is about time that he is given his due recognition for his body of work as a great American writer from a Filipino descent. Fil-Am Americans should start to get to know and embrace this humble and quiet man who deserves his place in history of the United States of America

    I’m a not a Filipino American, but I do love Carlos Bulosan.

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