By Bert Eljera
LAS VEGAS – Kids brandishing miniature swords simulate a martial arts fight onstage as people gather around information booths to get information on healthcare and other services Sunday during the Mabuhay Expo at the Boulevard Mall in Las Vegas.
Around 2,000 were on hand for the day-long event organized by the Las Vegas chapter of the National Association of Filipino-American Federations (NaFFAA) for the community, the fastest growing Asian ethnic group in Nevada.
“We thought we’d come up with something like this to provide information to Filipinos, such as social security benefits, medical insurance, mortgage and foreclosure and related services,” said Bernie Benito of NaFFAA.
The first of hopefully a regular annual event from here on, Benito said the expo attracted 44 booths from various advertisers hoping to tap into the Filipino-American community in Las Vegas, now at over 30,000, according to the 2010 Census.
In addition to the information booth, a table was set up to allow new voters to register for the 2012 elections.
Rozita Lee, who headed the voter-registration team, said there was a steady stream of new registrants all day long as more Filipino-Americans, considered a key demographic in what is expected to be a close election, are becoming more engaged in the political process.
Local Filipino-American singers also entertained the crowd, in addition to the martial arts demonstrations.