The Guam Society of America (GSA) currently has many members from around the Washington, D.C. metro area and throughout the United States. The Society goals are to: 1) to foster and encourage educational, cultural, civic, social programs and activities among the members and friends of the Society in the District of Columbia, its surrounding communities, and throughout the United States and its territories; 2) to foster and perpetuate the Chamorro language, culture and traditions. Any Chamorro (a native of Guam, Saipan or any of the Mariana Islands) or any person who has a bona fide interest in the purposes of the Society is eligible for membership.
The Society was established on April 3, 1952 as the Guam Territorial Society of Washington, D.C when Chamorros living in the DC area decided to form an organization to represent Guam in the Conference of State Societies, formally created on April 3, 1952 by an act of Congress (66 Stat.412 Pub. Law 293, 82nd Congress, HR 4467). The Society’s goals were to promote friendly and cooperative relations between the various State and Territorial Societies in the District of Columbia and to foster educational, cultural and civic activities in the District of Columbia and surrounding communities. The Society was incorporated on October 13, 1976 as a nonprofit corporation under the District of Columbia Nonprofit Corporation Act, and the name was changed to the Guam Society of America on July 3, 1986. The Society brought together former residents of Guam living in Washington, D.C. and the suburbs of Virginia and Maryland. A special venue for these people was made available to gather through receptions, dinners, picnics, and a host of other events.
In 1952, the Society selected its first Cherry Blossom Princess, Eloise Johnston, to represent Guam at the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Eloise was the daughter of the late Agueda Johnston, a renowned educator in Guam. The Society has provided a princess for every festival since 1952, and holds an annual coronation ball where the Society Princess is crowned and recognized amongst the Society’s members and friends. Three of the Guam princesses were selected as Cherry Blossom Queen for the National Cherry Blossom Festival: Angela Bamba McClees (1982), Tonya Manibusan (1992), and Teresa Sablan (2005). They traveled to Japan to represent the U.S. at the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival.
The Society’s commitment to Guam and its people is portrayed by the assistance and support it extends to the office of the Congressional Representative of Guam, the offices of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Guam, the Guam Legislature, and the many Chamorro men and women in the United States Armed Forces. An instrument in bringing people from Guam together, the society hosts the largest Chamorro gatherings in the East Coast during Memorial Day, Liberation Day and the Annual Chamorro Night event. Its members put together annual Christmas parties for members and their guests. The Society also hosts the annual Congressional Reception on Capitol Hill commemorating the Liberation of Guam and the Battle for the Northern Marianas Islands.
The Guam Society began awarding Scholarships to eligible high school and college students in 2009. Funded by the proceeds raised by the Roberto L.G. Lizama Memorial Golf Classic and other donations, the Society has awarded scholarships to member students in the United States and most importantly to students attending college at the University of Guam and the Guam Community College. As part of the Society’s scholarship program, the Brigida Lizama scholarship is awarded to students who meet the scholarship criteria along with providing community service hours in support of the Guam Society.
The Guam Society promotes Guam’s tradition of placing high regard upon its elders. In the Chamorro culture, the blessings enjoyed today were made possible through the labors and the guidance of the previous generations.
With over sixty years in existence, the Guam Society of America has developed into a unique civic, social and non-profit organization for individuals in the National Capital region who have retained ties to the island of Guam. The society and its members have brought together friends and family through its efforts in the preservation and promotion of Chamorro culture. It has strived to be a fruitful, rewarding and beneficial organization to the friends of Guam in the National Capital region. The Guam Society continues to foster the Chamorro culture and promote Guam in all of its annual events in the Washington, D.C. metro area, carrying forward the ideals and intent of its founding members.