How the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle Helps Gen Z Connect with Our Culture

by Lizette Nolasco

Growing up as a fifth-generation Filipina in Hawaii, I felt disconnected from my Filipino heritage.

After more than a hundred years of being on Oahu, my family, whose origins are from Cebu and Bohol, has embraced the local and mixed cultures of Hawaii. So much of our Filipino identity, history and language have faded away.

However, the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle has played a significant role in helping me and others in Gen Z (a demographic cohort born between the mid-to-late 1990s and early 2010s) reconnect with our roots. This is especially meaningful during October—Filipino American History Month.

For generations, families left their homes in the Philippines to seek new opportunities abroad.

During this shift, some decided to leave behind their culture, believing it would ease their assimilation to where they moved. In doing so, subsequent generations lost the traditions and knowledge of their homelands.

Recently there has been a resurgence of Pinoy pride, largely due to the representation of Filipinos in the media.

Through the media showcasing traditional food, dances, clothing and customs, an audience of youth grew up feeling proud to see people who looked like them on screen.

My friends and I are pleased to see famous Filipino American Gen Z celebrities, such as Grammy winners Olivia Rodrigo and H.E.R., movie star Jacob Batalon (from Hawaii) and even the current Miss Universe R’Bonney Gabriel, to name a few, in the spotlight lately.

Besides the entertainment industry, there are many successful Filipinos in government, philanthropy, the arts, business, education, science and technology, medicine, media and more.

The Chronicle publishes narratives centered on local Filipinos, highlighting individuals who share similar backgrounds, serving as a source of inspiration for young readers as we learn about their achievements and contributions to the community.

The paper has given Gen Zers examples to follow so we can learn to work hard and reach our greatest potential like these Filipinos have done before us.

Gen Z also grew up understanding that diversity enhances our society and the importance of embracing our identity. This mindset sparks conversations among the younger generation, making us actively seek out resources to help us better understand our Filipino culture.

The Chronicle serves as a valuable resource for Filipino youth looking for this connection. We can learn about upcoming events centered around Filipino culture and encourage others to join.

By reporting on many local cultural activities, like Filipino festivals, concerts and musicals, pageants and educational workshops, the paper helps to bring the community and multi-generations together.

Moreover, the paper allows people to share their perspectives and builds access to the community that the youth can utilize. It provides Gen Zers with a sole resource focused on uplifting and telling stories within our demographic.

As a recipient of the Chronicle’s journalism scholarship, I have been given the opportunity to write about issues relating to my generation. Three scholarship winners before me also got to interview their peers and tell their stories and experiences about growing up Filipino today.

We also learned more about our history and heritage in the research and editing process.

The Chronicle holds the materials that can significantly benefit the lives of Gen Z individuals like me by helping us reconnect with our Filipino culture and history after years of disconnect and distance from the Philippines.

By showcasing our heritage’s rich customs and traditions, promoting representation and providing information to the youth determined to reclaim their roots, the paper has become a valuable resource that inspires, educates and empowers young Filipinos in Hawaii.

Through its words, the Chronicle helps us rediscover our identity, amplify our voice and take pride in our historical background, becoming an essential part of our journey toward reconnecting with and preserving our culture.

Though Filipino American History Month is only in October, it is evident that for three decades now the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle has been making it special for all generations of Filipinos throughout the entire year.

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