APA Heritage Month: Erin Miller

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The Filipino Connection is real.

There is a small population of us here at Syracuse University, but slowly and surely we are beginning to gravitate toward each other. Once we’ve established, “Yeah, I’m Filipino TOO!” there’s suddenly a welcoming vibe, a friendly sensation, a feeling of home. We’re around, and we keep each other in check.

My mother, who looks incredibly similar to me, is a second generation Filipino American. She grew up in the Bay Area in San Francisco where she worked at the airport. There she met my dad, a white New Yorker with a stellar sense of humor and moderate dance moves. They got married and made two mixed kids: me and my older brother, Connor.

I think being mixed has made me more open-minded about all kinds of diversity. Every person is multifaceted in who they are, where they come from, and what they do. As a student, a business woman, a videographer, a musician, a writer, and a poet, being a Filipino American is an important fact of who I am.

I’m sure my mixed folks can concur that there are times when we feel like we need to pick one side over the other. Good news, friends: we don’t have to.

We are a combination of where our ancestors come from, and the weird series of events that happens after that. And although we don’t have to decide what dominates the whole of us, it is also something that cannot be ignored. It is something to be proud of.

And I am proud to be a Filipino American.

It’s something that brings me together with people that understand cultural traditions, cuisine, and idiosyncrasies. It is never something that separates us.

So let me tell you that the Filipino Connection is real. When strangers on the quad become cousins, and co-workers become older brothers. When cravings for our grandma’s cooking becomes understandably mutual. When having something in common makes you feel part of a Syracuse University family.

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