Anakbayan joins protest, calls on FilAm community to reflect on racism, prejudice

Members of Anakbayan hold ‘Filipinos stand with Ferguson’ sign

Members of Anakbayan hold ‘Filipinos stand with Ferguson’ sign

Filipino Americans join the biggest protest on December 13 in response to the non-indictment of police officers involved in the deaths of teen Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and the chokehold killing of 43-year-old Eric Garner in Staten Island. Brown and Garner are African American.

The protest started at Cooper Union. The marchers then proceeded towards Washington Square Park to merge with an even bigger group. Estimates say about 60,000 protesters took to the streets chanting “Black lives matter,” “I can’t breathe,” and “Fist up, fight back!” This is only one of the many demonstrations happening as part of the larger protest called “Million March Day of Anger.”

“We, as Filipino-American youth and students, stand in solidarity with the families of Mike Brown, Eric Garner and everyone who has lost loved ones as a result of state-sanctioned violence,” said Chrissi Fabro, chairperson of Anakbayan New York, in a statement. “We join because an injury to one is an injury to all. We condemn the state violence against communities of color.”

According to the young activists, this experience is not far from the experiences of Filipinos.

“The killings of people of color and impunity that is prevalent in the United States resembles the killings of community leaders and activists and the culture of impunity that allows perpetrators off the hook in the Philippines,” Fabro added. She pointed out that 204 cases of extrajudicial killings of activists remain unsolved under the Aquino administration, while those responsible for these human rights violations continue to walk free.

Anakbayan is calling on FilAm youth to reflect on and challenge existing “anti-Black racism” within the Filipino community.

“We recognize that anti-Black racism has permeated even our own community. We acknowledge that this is a product of centuries of Western colonialism and assimilation to American culture,” said Joelle Eliza Lingat, chairperson of Anakbayan New Jersey.

Anakbayan activists challenge Filipinos to play an active role in what they call as the “new” civil rights movement in the United States.

“Every 28 hours a Black person is shot by the police. We challenge Filipinos, especially youth and students, to stand in solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters by being agents of change in our own community. We must actively challenge racism and prejudices against other oppressed peoples,” said Lingat.

“Let’s conduct discussions, dialogues and fora to educate ourselves and our community about the evils of racism and its systemic roots. We must do more than just show up, but actively uphold the demands of Black leaders, especially queer and transgender people, and participate in the various protests that are sweeping the country,” Lingat concluded.

Anakbayan is a national youth and student organization working to educate, organize and mobilize the Filipino community to address important issues that affect Filipinos in the U.S. and the Philippines. It has 11 chapters in major American cities.

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