06/26/2012 06:11 pm ET Updated Aug 26, 2012

Landmark Gathering of Filipino-American Leaders in D.C.

Filipino-American leaders from across the country convened for a series of meetings in Washington, D.C. Friday.

The landmark gathering began with the first-ever White House briefing for the Filipino-American community. Participants heard from goverment officials about what the Obama administration has accomplished on issues of importance to the Filipino American community. Representatives from various federal agencies, including the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, and Homeland Security, and the Small Business Administration spoke at the event.

The briefing was followed by panel discussions on the state and future of the Filipino community, and culminated with the celebration of Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) a solid ally who retires after 36 years of service in Congress.

The series of events was organized by a group of Filipinos in government, advocacy, and research in tandem with Kaya DC. The organizers sought to mobilize participants and raise the visibility and influence of the second largest Asian group in the United States.

Filipinos have been in the U.S. since the 18th century but have remained mostly invisible at the highest levels of government, commerce, the military, and civil society. This gathering marks a new beginning for the next generation of Filipino-Americans who aspire to make a difference and be known not only as world-class singers or boxers but as national leaders.