MIGRANT HERITAGE COMMISSION
Founding and History
The Migrant Heritage Commission, Inc. (MHC) is a non-profit, service-oriented, non-governmental organization with 501(c)3 status that recognizes and preserves the cultural identity and rights of immigrants. MHC’s formation was inspired by the death of a Filipino immigrant, Reynante Soriano Cabanban, who died of cancer prior to assuming his duty as a nurse. Diplomat Grace Valera-Jaramillo, then Philippine Embassy Official in-charge of the Cabanban case, encouraged the formation of an NGO in recognition of the urgent need for a proper mechanism to help migrants/immigrants in a timely manner considering the limited resources of the Philippine government. During the memorial mass for Reynante at the Philippine Embassy on December 27, 2005, Atty. Arnedo S. Valera, Esq., proposed the establishment of a Filipino Overseas Migrant Fund that garnered support of key leaders in the Filipino community.
MHC founders , who included among others Jesse A. Gatchalian, recognized the need to establish a formal mechanism whereby immigrants could avail of help and resources when necessary and to support the Philippine Embassy’s services to the local community. MHC was founded on December 30, 2005, by six key members of the Fil-Am community in Metro D.C. and was envisioned as a non-governmental organization dedicated to undertaking activities and programs that provide legal, medical, economic, and cultural resources and assistance to Filipino immigrants. Over time, MHC has expanded its services to other immigrant communities, especially to the Latino and African populations. .
Our fundamental goal is to advocate for the protection of the fundamental human rights of immigrants and their families, as enunciated by the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. We believe that the protection of one’s human rights requires a strong awareness of one’s legal, political, and economic rights as a new American. To this end, we support and facilitate the political, economic, social, and cultural integration of immigrants while honoring their cultural heritages and identities.