Filipino Youths in US to Hold Festivals in Support of Kabataan

Apr. 28, 2007

New York City In the final two-week push before the May elections in the Philippines, Filipino youth, musicians, spoken word artists, organizers and allies are coming together in New York and Los Angeles to show support for the KABATAAN Partylist, the largest youth party representing the youth sector in the upcoming Philippine elections, and to call for clean and fair elections. Youth of KABATAAN-Ugnayan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (Linking the Children of the Motherland), based in New York and New Jersey, and KABATAAN-Kabataang maka-Bayan (KmB, Pro-People Youth), based in California, will speak out for the rights of Filipino youth, both in the Philippines and here, in the US.

The MUSIKABATAAN Festival in New York City and Power and Potential of the Youth Block Party in L.A. are part of a nationally coordinated campaign initiated by KABATAANUgnayan and KABATAANKmB to educate the larger community about the Philippine election process and the essential role of Filipino youth to unite and change a corrupt system. KABATAAN-Ugnayan and KABATAAN-KmB encourage the youth to work collectively with the people for a bright future, and uphold, promote and defend the interest of the youth to harness its full potential in making a democratic, prosperous and peaceful society in the Philippines.

Contrary to claims of the Philippine government, KABATAAN Partylist President and 1st nominee Raymond Palatino said only a few of the more than 400,000 students who will graduate in April will land a job within the next two years. They will be forced to migrate abroad due to lack of opportunities, even after attaining college degrees. Filipino youth in the US likewise face difficulties in their path towards education and employment due to high tuition, backtracking, loss of credits and low wages. They will also face the additional barriers of police harassment, raids and deportations.

“Supporting KABATAAN Partylist is part of the fight of Filipino youth against systemic racism,” said Chevy Evangelista, a 25-year old immigrant youth, full-time worker, part-time student, and KABATAAN-Ugnayan organizer. “It is accepted as normal that the only choices for Filipino college graduates are call centers [in the Philippines] or migration, and that educated Filipino youth are doing domestic work, or serving hot dogs and flipping burgers here in the US.”

“We are here to rock, rhyme, and sing to amplify the voice of the youth, continue our duty in effecting change and progress in our country, and support KABATAAN,” says Ree Obaa, KABATAAN-Ugnayan organizer and MUSIKABATAAN performer.

In New York City, the music festival MUSIKABATAAN Festival will take place over two nights and feature an all-Filipino line-up of youth, students, cultural workers and Ugnayan members: Part One, on Saturday, April 28th, will feature Ugnayan’s all-women band Yan Yon, acoustic musicians John Violago, Myke Christian, and Marvin Kwong, poets Ree Obaa and Calamity, and hip hop group New York’s Finest Pinoys (NYFP). Part Two, Friday May 4th, will feature hip hop act Koba, Fil-Am rock bands The Happy Analogues and Qwadra, and a performance by the cultural group Sining Pandayan.

In Los Angeles, Power and Potential of the Youth Block Party in L.A. will take place in Historic Filipinotown on Sunday, April 29th, and will feature hip hop acts Bambu of Native Guns, celebrating the release of his new album, as well as Ise Lyfe, The Attik, Eye A Sage, The Committee, and Micah, with DJ Phatrick and other special guests. Bringing together youth from the surrounding communities of Los Angeles and young people from cities as far as San Diego, Oakland, and San Francisco, the event will take place on the 15th anniversary of the social uprising known as the Los Angeles Riots, when the beating of black motorist Rodney King by four white police officers, and the subsequent acquittal of the officers by a predominantly white jury, revealed the inherent systemic racism of US society.

“It’s more than racist attitudes, it’s racism embedded in institutions and laws,” says Evangelista.

“It’s time that we, the youth, connect our issues from around the world to every street in urban communities of the United States. Imagine a youth in the United States Congress advocating for issues that affect the young, while actively participating and advocating in pro-people legislation. That’s what is possible with the KABATAAN Partylist in the Philippines, and that is why we strongly support and propagate their efforts here in the US,” says Jason Geaga Yap, the current Vice-Chair of Kabataang maka-Bayan USA.

For information on the KABATAAN Partylist chapters in the US, or the events, please call 212.564.6057 (New York City), 213.247.4909 (Los Angeles) or write

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