The Kalayaan Atlanta Committee last June 12 virtually celebrated 123 years of Philippine independence as well as 75 years of Philippine-American diplomatic relations and cooperation.
To kick off the program, Kalayaan Atlanta 2021 chairperson Anne Marie Logarta, delivered opening remarks, notably lauding social and humanitarian activities of organizations in Georgia as well as in the Philippines.
Present at the event was honorary Consul General Raoul Donato, who expressed the Filipino-American community’s wish to “gain independence from the virus” and addressed rising hate crimes in the United States. He said: “We are in solidarity with the Asian American Pacific Islanders community that this needs to stop immediately. We are totally against racism and [any of] its forms.”
“We have also pushed the federal government to send Covid19 vaccines that we have paid for and I am happy to say they are on their way,” he added.
Meanwhile, Philippine ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez commended Georgia-based groups Southeastern US that have, in the past year, displayed the Filipino concept of “bayanihan” (nation-building).
A slew of organizations attended the event, among them medical groups such as the Philippine Nurses Association of Georgia, Philippine American Medical Association of Georgia and Galing Foundation, Inc.
The following groups also participated in the program: Filipino-American Association of Greater Atlanta, Philippine American Women’s Association of Georgia (PAWAG), Philippine Chamber of Commerce of Georgia (PACCGA) and the Northwest PhilAm Association of Georgia.
Student organizations such as Kennesaw State University Filipino Student Association, Filipino American Association of Northeast Georgia and University of Georgia Filipino Student Association were also represented.
Coloring the celebration were performances by choral groups Tinig Pilipino, Atin ‘Yan Musikahan, theater actor and singer Jon Joven-Uy and dance troupe Kayumanggi Rondalla. As a finale, the Filipino American Association of Columbus, Georgia performed the iconic Filipino traditional dance, “tinikling.”
The event was spearheaded by the Kalayaan Atlanta committee, composed of 30 volunteers coming from over 20 Philippine-American organizations, with the goal of promoting Philippine culture and heritage through this annual affair.