SAN BRUNO – A new network of Filipino groups and individuals from different backgrounds across the Bay Area gathered at Skyline College on March 12 to unite against the divisive and oppressive policies and actions of the Trump administration. They united to stand together to advance the rights of communities. Representatives from more than 15 organizations launched Filipinos United Against Trump, or Filipinos United, and united on a plan of action in the current political climate.
Filipinos United will not just stand by as the Trump administration enacts policies that tear families apart, cut social services, and prevent workers from having a safe working environment. The group’s basis of unity states that it will “educate [members] and others, and take action collectively to ensure our families live at peace and thrive in our community. (It) will work in solidarity with all affected communities of all ethnic backgrounds.”
Though each organization addresses specific issues such as immigration, labor, gender justice, environmental justice, self-determination, and education in its work, the groups came together knowing these issues are linked to each other. Filipinos United chooses not to be divided by particular concerns, but to build strength through collective unity and resistance.
Eugene Gambol of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) discussed Trump’s executive orders and emphasized that attacks on immigrants are not particularly new.
Organizations that were present have been working on issues such as trafficking, wage theft, discrimination, and other abuses in the workplace for many years. Noel Abalos from Migrante Northern California underscored the poverty and lack of livelihood pushing Filipinos outside the Philippines, where they often face abuse and exploitation yet receive little to no support from the Philippine government.
Daly City Vice-mayor Juslyn Manalo sent a message of support. Attendees also discussed specific issues affecting Filipinos such as threat of deportation and budget cuts for social services. The group plans to continue to reach out to other Filipino organizations, businesses, government officials, lawyers, educators, faith groups, and others to grow the coalition and further strengthen the united voice of Filipinos in the Bay Area to protect our communities and defend our human rights. Filipinos United will organize Know Your Rights trainings, mobilize for actions like International Workers’ Day (May 1), and develop legislative advocacy and rapid response (e.g. in case of detention of an undocumented community member) structure.
Patrick Racela of the Kapit Bisig Kabataan Network (KBKN) concluded the event urging continued outreach to individuals who would like to get involved in assisting fellow Filipinos. Filipinos United is ready to respond to protect their fellow kababayans from deportation and other forms of abuse and harassment