Chronicle’s Newest Scholar Hopes To Create Pathways Of Communication For Filipinos, Cultures And Communities
by Lizette Nolasco
My Filipino culture has influenced my outlook on life because I strongly desire to learn more about it. My family left Bohol and Cebu in the Philippines more than a hundred years ago to come to Hawaii. They brought their culture and integrated it with the local culture here. Over time and throughout multiple generations, the language and culture began to disappear.
However, I want to explore my culture and hopefully, one day travel back to where my family is from and be the first to reconnect since my great-great-grandparents. Although there is a gap between my heritage and me, I hope to search out, reconnect and bring back the Filipino culture to my family.
By winning this scholarship, I hope to discover my heritage and be more involved in the Filipino community here in Hawaii and possibly be able to use the platform to make others more knowledgeable of the opportunities that students have within the community as well.
My future career in journalism would benefit the Filipino and general community by driving a focus on intercultural communication and amplifying the voices of the Filipino community.
There are many stories to be shared and I’d like to dive into the stories of Filipino families who came during the plantation era and be able to hear their experiences and share them.
I would contribute to Hawaii’s future growth and development because of my focus on civic responsibility, historical knowledge and cultural awareness. During high school, I was given a platform as the commander of an organization, JROTC, that allowed me to organize community service events and teach others the importance of helping a collective of individuals rather than a focus on individualistic needs.
In college, I joined Silver Wings, a nonprofit that expanded the mission of selfless service to the community and leadership development nationally. As an active member for several years, I’ve made connections and aided the community while expanding my knowledge of its challenges and trying to collect resources and develop plans to help fix them.
I am currently the president of Silver Wings Hickam Chapter and can lead and perpetuate the mission of cultivating leadership and personal and professional development in college students aiming to be civilian community leaders and future military officers.
One of our main focuses is bridging communities and creating open dialogues between the citizens of Hawaii, the Hawaiian community and the military. We create pathways of communication to address challenges that each community faces while promoting diversity and inclusion and amplifying indigenous voices.
We bring in guest speakers from underrepresented communities to talk and encourage our members, many of whom are Filipino. Our primary staff comprises four officers of Filipino descent, and we aim to influence other leaders of cultural backgrounds to take up leadership roles within their community.
By encouraging and aiding students in college to take up these leadership roles, the impact I hope to have lies less in what I can do as an individual, but in the value of what the others who go through the organization can do for the community as a collective, both currently as students and when they graduate and take the lessons they’ve learned with them into whichever field they pursue.