(The Law Offices of Miriam B. Riedmiller)
A U.S. Immigration Law Firm
"THE INCREASE AND DIFFUSION OF KNOWLEDGE"
MIRIAM B. RIEDMILLER, ESQUIRE
YOUR IMMIGRATION STORY TELLER
@ The 2010 Smithsonian Folklife Festival
TOPIC: “Local Lives; Global Ties
Immigration Stories: How We Got Here”
Talk Story Stage, National Mall, June 26, 2011, Washington, D.C.
"THE SMITHSONIAN IMMIGRATION STORY TELLER, on the Talkstory Stage beside the Smithsonian Castle. Miriam B. Riedmiller is shown standing (5th from L), with her mother, Mrs. Avelina Bustamante at her right. She is with the Asian Pacific American (APA) community including the President of the University of the Philippines Alumni association (UPAADCVAMD), Art Pangilinan (extreme left) and wife, Dr. Josephine Pangilinan. Also in photo is the President of the PAFC (Philippine American Federation for Charities), Becky Pagsibigan (3rd from R), and NaFFAA (National Federation of Filipino American Association s) Region 2 member, Daisy Tucay (center). To her right are two of the daughters of the late Dr. Anthony Azores, co-founder of the Philippine Lawyers Association (PLA), now the Philippine American Bar Association of Greater Washington, D.C. Inc. (PABA). Ms. Riedmiller was President of PABA in 2002 and 2003."
THE ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN IMMIGRATION STORY
The 44th annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival in June and July 2010, showcased for the first time, the Asian Pacific American community of Washington, D.C., at the event’s first “Talkstory” Stage, with attorney Miriam B. Riedmiller speaking as an “Immigration Story Teller” on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
On June 26, 2010, a panel of APA community leaders, mostly from India and China, spoke to a diverse American and immigrant audience -- live and online, on how they came to America, how they adapt to their new home, and how they keep their ties to their home countries.
Ms. Riedmiller, as the only Filipino American representative on the panel, spoke from dual points of view. She spoke as an immigration attorney on the one hand, and as an immigrant who naturalized into a U.S. citizen, building an immigration law firm in Washington, D.C. , and actively growing with the mainstream and ethnic legal and immigrant community in D.C., while nurturing ties with the Philippines.
IMMIGRATION STORY BACKDROP,THE MARCH FOR AMERICA: COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM (CIR)
Ms. Riedmiller noted that earlier, in March 2010, on the same grounds -- on the national mall -- a massive and diverse immigrant and legal community, held the March for America Rally calling for the passage of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) Bill, in the height of heated debates in Congress, and in the entire country. (See H.R.4321.IH text at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.4321:).
Ms. Riedmiller was a part of that March, advocating for the repair of broken immigration laws and the resolution of the status of some 12 Million undocumented aliens in the U.S., in her capacity as Co-chair for the Immigration Subcommittee of the NaFFAA (National Federation of Filipino American Associations), Region 2, and as member of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (AILA) (www.aila.org). She mentioned family unity and justice for the Filipino American World War II Veterans as the focal point of the FILAM AND APA advocacy.
WHAT GLOBAL TIES AND LOCAL LIVES MEAN
Meanwhile, on the Talkstory Stage, Ms. Riedmiller, joining the APA Immigration Story Panel, covered the topic: “Local Lives, Global Ties; Immigration Stories, How we Got Here.”
According to 2010 Folk life curator, Phil Tajitsu Nash’s article, “the topic is meant to answer questions like: “What does it mean to be a person of Asian or Pacific Island descent living in the United States today? What are the primary strategies for adaptation and change versus sustainability and continuity”.
In her speech, Ms. Riedmiller traced her roots to the Philippines, acknowledging her mother in the audience, Avelina Manuel Bustamante who nurtured her love for the legal profession. She also acknowledged her late father, Ricardo Bustamante, a former Managing Director of a U.S. company, Getty Oil Corporation ,based in Manila, and who taught her, among many life skills, speaking the American idiom.
LOCAL LIVES and GLOBAL TIES TO THE PHILIPPINESMs. Riedmiller, paid homage to her ties to her home country and in America, for her life as an immigration lawyer in Washington, D.C.
She honored her alma mater, the 100 year-old plus, American-founded University of the Philippines (U.P.) (http://www.upd.edu.ph/). She saluted the U.P. for its standard of academic excellence, and for its global presence through its alumni in the U.S and around the world. Ms. Riedmiller stressed the value of mentorship to pass on knowledge and culture to the new generations; she acknowledged her legal intern, Blessing Omakwu, an American Born Nigerian of immigrant parents, and a law student at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
METRO WASHINGTON, D.C. FILIPINO AMERICAN ORGANIZATIONS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS – AGENTS OF CHANGE AND CONTINUITYMs. Riedmiller acknowledged the local Filipino-American audience attired in Filipino costume for the event, and who by their presence were telling their own immigration story to the American audience. She identified FILAM community leaders, as the engine of change, and continuity in Filipino-American community building and culture in the U.S.
She mentioned the UPAADCMDVA , as a prominent local U.P. Alumni Association (http://upaadcmdva.org/Our_Projects.html), and its President, Art Pangilinan and his wife, Josephine.
Ms. Riedmiller acknowledged PAFC (Philippine American Foundation for Charities) (http://www.pafc-inc.org/) and its President Becky Pagsibigan for it’s cultural endeavors.
She also acknowledged key leaders of the NaFFAA Region 2 (NaFFAA http://naffaausa.org/state-of-naffaa-2008-2010-report-of-greg-b-macabenta/) and those attended: Maurese Owens, Rita Adkins, Daisy Tucay, Mencie Hairston, Etc. and their political and educational programs.
Lastly, Ms. Riedmiller honored the Philippine American Bar Association of Greater Washington D.C. (formerly the Philippine Lawyers Association/PLA), represented by the children of its late founding member, Dr. Anthony Azores, and other officers like Butch Tonolete and his wife Trining. She thanked the organization for providing collegiality and for electing her as PABA-DC president in 2002 and 2003 during the organization’s silver jubilee years.
SPECIAL TIES BETWEEN THE U.S AND THE PHILIPPINES
Ms. Riedmiller distinguished the Philippines from among other immigrant countries, for its special ties with America in over 100 years, citing two major historical events.
PHILIPPINE 100 YEAR MILESTONESThe first milestone, according to Ms. Riedmiller, is the celebration of the centennial of the Philippine Republic in 1998, upon the Treaty of Paris in 1898, when Spain ceded the Philippines as a former colony to the United States. The second is the commemoration of the centennial of Filipino immigration to the U.S. in 2006, counted from 1906. (Read more about the article on the 100 years of Filipino Immigration to the U.S. (www.aila.org and www.ilw.com).
According to Ms. Riedmiller, there were three major waves of Filipino immigrants in the century, each wave, fulfilling America’s specific needs at various historical junctures. The first wave in 1906, were farmers, designated to fill the labor needs in Hawaiian plantations. The second were Filipino American Veterans who fought in World War II, and their war brides. Notably, the Veterans continue to fight for justice over promised benefits which were denied by the Rescission Act. The third wave in the 1960s, were professionals like nurses and doctors, under the immigration category of “third preference.”
Ms. Riedmiller said that the Philippines, along with Mexico, China and India, are the four largest immigrant groups under the State Department’s Visa Bulletin, which announces the green card availability, based on the immigrant’s category and country of origin. (http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin_1360html). She commented that the Philippines,while geographically distant and smaller, as compared to its counterparts, nevertheless provides significant presence in the U.S., because of the history of economic, political and other ties between the two countries, both in times of peace and war.
CERTIFICATE OF APPRECIATION FOR THE INCREASE AND DIFFUSION OF KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE CULTURES AND TRADITIONS THAT ENRICH OUR NATION AND THE WORLD
Ms. Riedmiller as Smithsonian Immigration Story Teller, was given a Certificate of Appreciation by the Smithsonian Institution, through Secretary, G. Wayne Clough, Director of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Daniel Sheehy and Acting Director for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Stephen Kidd.
The Certificate expresses appreciation to Ms. Riedmiller’s exceptional contributions, for the increase and diffusion of knowledge about the cultures and traditions that enrich our nation and the World.