Imelda Martin Hum
Imelda Martin Hum

(Summary of inaugural speech delivered by new FILAMCCO President Imelda Martin-Hum during the Rizal Day celebration at MGM Grand-Detroit on Dec. 21, 2013.)  

I am honored and, at the same time, humbled as I stand before you tonight in my capacity as the new president of the Filipino American Community Council (FILAMCCO).

I am honored because FILAMCCO is not only a prestigious organization but also because FILAMCCO is the umbrella organization of some 50 Filipino-American groups in Michigan. This means FILAMCCO is the organization of organizations, and being the president of FILAMCCO is indeed a great honor. I feel as if I am in Cloud Nine right now.

But the very thought that I will be leading FILAMCCO in the next two years brings me down to earth instantly as I feel the heavy weight of the big responsibility placed on my shoulder.

As I start my term, some questions bother me: Will I be equal to the task ahead? Will I have the capability to rise to the challenges along the way? Will I get the full support of my fellow FILAMCCO officers and the whole community for my programs and projects? Will I prove myself worthy of the trust and confidence you have given me?

Of course, time will tell the answers to these questions. But I have to tell you that I am not afraid of problems and challenges. I have always believed in the saying, “If there is a will, there is a way.” This saying has inspired me no end to rise from my difficult circumstances as a farmer’s daughter from Ramon, Isabela and achieve my American dream.

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And, like Martin Luther King, Jr., I have a dream. Yes, I have a dream not for myself but for our Filipino-American community. This dream prompted me to seek the position of FILAMCCO president.

I dream of community facilities that are comparable to the facilities of other ethnic groups. I am mentioning here as an example the community facility of the Armenians in Toronto, Canada. It is complete with offices, clinics, basketball courts, tennis courts, restaurants, variety stores, meeting rooms, a community center and a gymnasium.

Yes, I know it is a big dream. But as I had said, “If there is a will, there is a way.” I know also that this project cannot be fully implemented during my two-year term, but this does not stop me from embarking on it. My immediate plan calls for, among others, the establishment of what may be called “Fil-Am Dream Fund.” This, I hope, would pave the way for the construction of a Filipino-American Center Complex that would be located in a strategic area.

For this project, FILAMCCO will need the support of everybody in the community. I appeal to everyone to support this particular project, and I also urge you to get involved in community programs that promote Filipino values, culture and traditions.

Dr. Jose Rizal, the Philippine national hero, whose martyrdom we are commemorating tonight, has a nugget of wisdom on this point. He said, “It is a useless life that is not consecrated to a great ideal. It is like a stone wasted in the field without becoming a part of any edifice.”

Thank you, and good night.