Kapwa: Shared Identity

An Introduction for USC's very own FASA

by Raynee Quillen / Garnet & Black

October is the month for Filipino Americans to honor their history. Since landing in Morro Bay, California in 1587, Filipinos have become the second-largest group of Asians in America with a population of over four million. With so many Filipinos immigrating to the United States, how do their identities, and those of subsequent generations, adapt to the new environment?

Combining two words in Tagalog, "ka," which is a union with anyone and anything, and "puwang," a small space or gap, "kapwa" is a Filipino core value that is a "recognition of a shared identity, an inner self, shared with others", as defined by Professor Virgilio Enriquez, the father of Filipino psychology. In collaboration with the University of South Carolina's Filipino American Student Association and the Filipino American Association of Greater Columbia, a photoshoot was held on the USC campus along with interviews with the models, where they discussed their participation in USC FASA and how they have navigated their Filipino identity in the United States.

"One thing that I really enjoy about FASA is the overall community feeling," said Jacelyn Arradaza, president of USC FASA. "That sense of community that you get when you join, especially for people who are just interested in learning about Filipino culture and for those who are struggling to identify with their culture. It gives them a place, a safe spot, to express their experiences as well as learn more about themselves."

Stay tuned for the full interview on the Garnet & Black YouTube, and keep up to date with FASA events on their Instagram, @uscfasa.

Originally published on Oct 31, 2023. Edited for adherence to AP Style Nov 14, 2023.

Clothes were provided by FAAGC.