BAYAN USA Pacific Northwest is an alliance of four progressive Filipino organizations representing youth and students, women, human rights advocates and artists in Seattle, WA and Portland, OR. We serve as the regional campaign coordination center for BAYAN USA, the largest overseas chapter of BAYAN Philippines. We see workers and immigrant rights in the United States as intrinsically linked to the struggle for national liberation and genuine land reform in the Philippines.
2013 was a victorious year for workers, making headlines across the globe as they fought for their rights, dignity and livelihood. Locally, conversations around minimum wage heated up as fast food workers and Kshama Sawant called for a $15 per hour living wage.
Starting in 2012, we as BAYAN PNW decided to focus our internal and external political work on local worker campaigns that impacted Filipinos–primarily Sea-Tac Airport workers, Wal-mart workers, and Seattle hospitality workers. Determined to make an impact on the lives of working-class Filipinos, BAYAN educated and mobilized our membership, and formed the Regional Campaigns Committee (RCC) to lead our region in participating in over 25 actions and events last year alone.
In November, a landmark proposition (Prop 1) passed in Sea-Tac, raising minimum wage to $15 per hour for workers at Sea-Tac airport and surrounding businesses. Claudia Alexandra Paras of Pin@y Sa Seattle was the primary organizer of faith and community groups, and provided Bayan PNW with key insights on how to show our support. In 2013, we were consistently asked by labor unions to participate and give statements during various mobilizations. By mobilizing our membership for actions leading up to ballot initiative, we were an integral part of winning a concrete victory for the workers of Sea-Tac.
What’s Next in 2014?
This year is already looking very promising. With many exciting local, national and international campaigns on the horizon, Eskwela ng Bayan 2.0, focusing on skill-building and campaigns, will deepen the understanding of our leaders on how effective campaign work will strengthen our organizations and expand our membership base. Together, we will analyze our conditions, and determine how the best way to move forward with 2014 campaigns.
We will continue to support campaigns that focus on workers rights:
1. $15/hr minimum wage
2. Sea-Tac Prop 1
3. OUR Wal-mart
4. Migrant Farmer Worker Solidarity
Resource extraction and climate justice:
1. Mining and Militarization in the Philippines
2. Haiyan Relief and Rehabilitation
3. Coal trains and local environmental issues
1. IVOW/ One Billion Rising
2. Lakas: Men’s Dialogue Group
3. Human Trafficking
We look forward to growing our membership this year, looking to Anakbayan as a model for the region. Alay ng Kultura and Pin@y Sa Seattle will be making some changes (to membership structure and name, respectively) as they adjust to the needs of our work.
Philippine exposure trips will be ongoing, as members of Anakbayan will soon be preparing for the next round of exposurists. A committee will form to assist in preparation. And of course, stay tuned for The Epic Expo reportback… coming soon in February 2014.
According to the United Nations, one in three women will be raped or beaten in their lifetime, or about one billion. On February 14th, also known as “International End Violence Against Women’s Day” or “V-Day,” one billion people in 207 countries rose and danced in demand of an end to violence against women. As part … Continue reading February | One Billion Rising
Between 4,000 to 5,000 Filipinos leave the Philippines every day for jobs overseas, often at poverty wages. BAYAN PNW, committed to the rights of workers, made it a priority to support the “Respect for Walmart Workers” campaign. Walmart is known as the biggest retail employer in the world, but also for setting the lowest standards … Continue reading April | Wal-Mart and Bangladeshi Worker Solidarity
Over 30 Members of BAYAN USA Pacific Northwest marched, danced, and chanted on the streets of Seattle on May 1st, joining thousands of immigrant families, workers, community and labor organizers, and allies on International Worker’s Day. BAYAN PNW marched as part of an API Contingent, and for the first time in 13 years since El … Continue reading May | International Worker’s Day
At the Sea-Tac International Airport, more than two hundred Filipinos work as baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, wheelchair attendants, and concession staffers. While it’s back-breaking work, most are contract workers that are paid poverty wages, lack paid sick leave and retention security, and often exposed to unsafe conditions. Through Claudia Alexandra Paras, the faith and community … Continue reading May | Alaska Shareholders
Anakbayan Seattle members travelled to Portland over Memorial Day weekend to watch Portland State Kaibigan’s 8th annual Pilipino Cultural Night (PCN), a play entitled “Our Story, Our Time”. PCNs are a yearly performance featuring dances and skits exploring issues around family, identity, culture, and history, often featuring stories untold by the media and left out of … Continue reading May | PCHRP “We Are Revolution”
In July, Pin@y member Jill Mangaliman went on an exposure trip to the Philippines for the first time. During the week of President Aquino’s State of Union Address (SONA), they were given the task of effigy director, to oversee the logistics from birth to burning. It took 8 days to construct a 13-foot effigy of … Continue reading July | People’s SONA
On August 3rd and 4th Bayan PNW member organizations (including: Alay ng Kultura, Anakbayan PNW, Philippine-US Solidarity Organization, Pin@y sa Seattle, Philippine-US Solidarity Organization and Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines) came together for the bi-annual Bayan Regional Retreat. Gathering throughout 3 camp sites and several tents at Battleground Camping Grounds, time was … Continue reading August | Regional Retreat
2013 has been the most successful year for BAYAN PNW in terms of fundraising. Between Haiyan Relief and fundraising for Expo, we raised a total of over $70,000 as a region. This is indicative of not only of our growing skills as organizers, but also a stronger structure– forming a Regional Finance Committee and conducting an … Continue reading August | Creative Fundraising
Alay ng Kultura, a collective of progressive artists, was integral to the work of our region in 2013. In addition to consistent propaganda to support regional campaigns i.e. such as leading chants at the May 1st march; the U.S. Troops Out banner utilized in the mobilization; and Rays Your Mind on November 8 (the first … Continue reading September | Agitation for the Masses
BAYAN PNW sent five delegates to the 4th International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IAMR4) which took place in New York City from October 1-5, 2013. IAMR has gathered since 2008 to mobilize in response Global Forum of Migration and Development, which is convened by the United Nations to discuss neoliberal policies that promote forced … Continue reading October | IAMR4 in New York
On November 30, 2013 Anakbayan, a national democratic organization of youth and students with chapters in the Philippines and in the U.S. commemorated their anniversary on the same day as the 150th birthday of Andres Bonifacio, a Philippine national hero and the plebian leader of the Philippine Revolution. In south Seattle, nearly 100 community members … Continue reading November | AB150
The super-typhoon that devastated the Eastern Visayas of the Philippines, killed over 6,111 people, and left 1,779 missing was itself a tremendous moment. But, what made this a unique moment for BAYAN-PNW, was the transformative mobilization the region undertook to raise funds for the search and rescue efforts for the survivors. Combined, Washington and Oregon … Continue reading November | Typhoon Haiyan Relief
Every year, BAYAN organizations from around the world send their members to the Philippines to learn from community leaders organizing against U.S. imperialism and government corruption. These same activists, also referred to as “exposurists”, also spend a great deal of time living with peasants and poor farmers to learn first-hand about the conditions they live … Continue reading December | Epic Expo 2013