Interview quotes that touch on the importance of community, appearing in interview order.

In high school, [being Filipino became] more important to me. Realizing, oh, it’s awesome to be Filipino American, and be able to have friends who have the same experience. Like, our parents moved to the United States around the same time, and we have the dumb stereotypes that we totally make fun of, like about our parents being like, “Oh, did you lose something? Then look with your eyes and not with your mouth.” Those little phrases are always constant because I think we all grew up the same and it’s back to the family part of that.

It’s like we all grew up in different households but really, they’re all like the same household because we all somehow started in the same place and it’s just great to see that. No matter how far you can go from home—home being the Philippines—you can move anywhere but everyone kind of has the same experience growing up. I mean, it’s a little bit different obviously, every family is different, but it kind of plays into that idea of universality, being connected to other people who you don’t even know, or people who you haven’t met yet, or people who you used to know but who have grown away, or live any place else—it’s like there’s still a sense of home because people who also grew up in that same environment are very like-minded. And it’s like people who grew up the same way, you know they’re trustworthy because they have the same thinking of, “You know what this is.” We have the same foundation and it’s great to go back to our roots and think about that.

Even though I haven’t made very many connections in college [yet], [. . .] I think I don’t spend enough time with [others] because not a lot of people are Filipino American in my program and so I don’t get to talk to them about stuff like that because I just spent a lot of time in my music building. So, I don’t have time to go out and make other friends, which is totally fine, and I love talking to other people about their different backgrounds, but it’s different when you and this other person can be like, “Yeah, we grew up the same.”

Jessa, PLU, Class of 2023

I think I’m more exposed to thinking about ethnicity, with the [Ethnic Student Center] and the other [cultural] clubs and being more involved with [the Korean Students Association]. I’ve been able to figure out more of my Korean-ness and having those other people whom I would talk to about this stuff and whom I can relate to, I guess, is more different than before because there were other Korean Americans, but I think at Western it’s become more “above level,” with more people whom I can relate to.

Seraphina, WWU, Class of 2022

My aunt owned a—it was like a sari sari store. And so, growing up I just thought whoever walked in there was Filipino. We had a lot of different people coming in, even though they weren’t Filipino by blood, but I saw them as Filipino because, you know, I think that anyone can feel the Filipino spirit, and like, the welcoming [spirit] is in everything and I think that we can expand what Filipino looks like because we all look so different. Filipinos themselves are just, like, a mixed people, because of so much, like, colonization. A lot of influence, a lot of different people. And so, I guess we shouldn’t be focusing on what we look like but what we value and just welcoming people into the sphere.

Kayla, SU, Class of 2022

In general, minorities will group together with other minorities to kind of make more of a majority for themselves within the greater “actual” majority. So that’ll also involve just different, like, Asian students of many different backgrounds. Because they’re already lumped into one group, as minority groups, they’ll just embrace that and come together so you’ll see a lot of groups of people who have different multicultural backgrounds, but their common trait is that they are of different multicultural backgrounds, not that they’re all the same one. And that’s a really common effect I’ve seen everywhere I’ve lived. I think it’s just human nature to find that camaraderie. Wherever you are, you find that common ground with people who understand your position. And it’s certainly been something I’ve also done myself, and I think it just naturally occurs, and it’s just something interesting.

Mish, WWU, Class of 2021

[When I first went to the Filipino American Student Association it was like] “‘Ey yo, ‘ey yo!” And they just got louder and louder and I love having that space to express yourself. I feel really grateful for FASA because I felt like, for about one hour, I get to de-stress and laugh with all my friends and everything. And well, we see the same people every Wednesday, so it felt like, “What’s up?” And I’m also really glad that the MCC [Multicultural Center] opened up too because it allowed me to see more of my peers. [. . .] It just felt really nice, just having that place to share your culture, or have the food. It was like a huge family there. All of us were just having fun and just talking. I’m really glad that FASA was there for my first two quarters [in person], helping me adjust to Bellingham, but also helping me adjust to being a new person, I guess, being more adult.

Jannell, WWU, Class of 2023
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