New York City, NY – Filipino-Americans join the biggest protest to date this Saturday in response to the non-indictment of police officer Darren Wilson involved in the shooting of African-American teen Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Daniel Pantaleo in the chokehold killing of 43 year old Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York.
The protest started at Cooper Union. The contingent then marched towards Washington Square Park to merge with an even bigger march. Estimates say 50 to 60 thousand 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 “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. We join because an injury to one is an injury to all. We condemn the state violence against communities of color and the culture of impunity that breeds Darren Wilsons and Daniel Pantaleos,” said Chrissi Fabro, Chairperson of Anakbayan New York.
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.
On the other hand, Anakbayan is also calling on Filipino American youth to reflect 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 that brainwashes us to be ashamed of our beautiful, brown skin,” 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 trans* women, 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 US and the Philippines. It has 11 chapters in major cities in the United States.