BAYAN USA Pacific Northwest Joins Fight Against Heightened State Repression in Seattle

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For Immediate Release
September 20, 2016
Reference: Nicole Ramirez, BAYAN USA Pacific Northwest Regional Coordinator, ramireznicole@gmail.com

BAYAN USA Pacific Northwest Joins Fight Against Heightened State Repression in Seattle

BAYAN USA Pacific Northwest celebrates the victory of Seattle grassroots organizations, led by the Seattle Black Book Club, in stalling the building of the $149 million police precinct in North Seattle. Growing discontent and outrage from the community led to months of organizing, coalition building, and protests and last week, Mayor Ed Murray and City of Seattle council members succumbed to the pressure. They announced, “the City will not move forward with implementing the project at this time…[citing] concerns around equity, cost and community needs.” This is truly a victory of the people of Seattle, without whom city officials may have never stalled nor even questioned the building of what could have been the nation’s most expensive police precinct.

As we celebrate this victory, we also acknowledge and remind ourselves that the fight is not over. We will continue to raise our collective voices, as long as the City of Seattle still plans to allocate $15 million to renovating the North Seattle precinct instead of reallocating those funds to much needed social services for the community. We will continue to put pressure on city officials, as long as the City plans to hire 200 new police officers to the Seattle Police Department, a department that has been under federal investigation for use of excessive force since 2011. We will continue to take action, as long as King County still intends to build a $210 million new youth jail while refusing to invest in community-led alternatives to youth incarceration and offer real solutions for Seattle’s crisis of gentrification and homelessness.

During Monday’s Seattle City Council meeting, organizers demonstrated the unfinished fight against local prison and policing systems using guerilla theater. The speakers (including Anakbayan Seattle Chairperson and Anakbayan USA National Finance Officer, Nikki Caintic) were chained together wearing orange prison uniforms, and spoke passionately for the divestment from prisons and police. City council members encouraged speakers to follow the agenda, then stood and left the room to the disbelief of many community members. Community organizers continued the meeting in their absence, emphasizing that change would not come from city council, but from the power of the people. “As a child of immigrant Filipino parents displaced from their homeland, I’ve come to understand that the struggles of Black and Brown communities will always be linked as we fight against U.S. imperialism which has profited from the militarization and policing of our communities, the gentrification of Seattle, and the mass incarceration of people of color” Caintic shared.

BAYAN USA Pacific Northwest will continue to engage in and link the local and national struggles against police brutality, surveillance, and detention to the militarization happening in our homeland and around the world. The Filipino people have been fighting U.S.-led militarization and state repression in the Philippines for decades. On September 16th, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Philippine Senate’s historic decision to shut down former US military bases Subic Naval and Clark Air Force. A decision brought about by the pressure put on the government by the Filipino people to defend national sovereignty. On September 21st, we remember Ferdinand Marcos’ Proclamation 1081, declaring the state of Martial Law in attempt to crush the growing anti-fascist movement in the Philippines of the 1960s and 1970s. To this day, Martial Law and remnants of it imposed by the dictators after Marcos, have failed to dismantle the national democratic movement in the Philippines.

The victory against the bunker illustrates how people can come together to build collective power and shape history. People are rising up in Seattle, across the U.S., in the Philippines, and all over the globe, demanding genuine people-led solutions towards justice and peace, which cannot be achieved in the confines of existing systems upheld by capitalism and state repression. Increased state repression will only breed a growing resistance among the people to challenge these systems of oppression. Today, we celebrate this people’s victory and we honor and remember those whose lives have been taken from us. We continue the fight to unite with all oppressed peoples to advance the anti-imperialist struggle and defeat U.S. imperialism in all its forms.

Demilitarize Seattle! Block The Bunker!
Defund prisons and police! Invest in Community!
Resist State Repression!
Advance the anti-imperialist struggle!
Makibaka! Huwag Matakot! (Dare to Struggle! Do Not Be Afraid!)

To get involved with Block the Bunker, please visit http://www.blockthebunker.org. For more information on BAYAN USA, please visit http://www.bayanusa.org

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Building Autonomy and Safety for Everybody

The Bayan Queer Collective in partnership with API Chaya and the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods is putting on a Community Wellness and Self Defense class. This 8-week series begins April 11 and ends in June 6, 2015. The class will be held Saturdays from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm at the Garfield Community Center.

*We will not be meeting on May 9th.
* We will be prioritizing the attendance of immigrant, low income, people of color, trans, queer, and survivors of violence.

Please register to be considered for the class. http://bit.ly/1F67lmo

Class dates are:
April 11th
April 18
April 25th
May 2nd
May 9th
May 16th
May 23
May 30
June 6

Bayan PNW is hiring!

Bayan PNW received a grant from the City of Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods to put on a series of self-defense classes focusing on empowerment and self-determination, designed specifically for LGBTQ people and survivors of gender-based violence. Based on and guided by the Home Alive series, Bayan PNW’s Community Self-Defense Wellness Program will focus on communication, boundary-setting and practicing consent, promoting healthy relationships based on trust and respect. There will also be a physical component of building confidence and strength through conditioning and practicing self-defense skills.

We are hiring for 2 paid contract positions. See below for information:

Project Coordinator
https://bayanusapnw.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/bqc-project-coordinator-position1.pdf

Outreach Coordinator
https://bayanusapnw.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/bqc-outreach-coordinator-position.pdf

KILUSAN // MOVEMENT | Anakbayan Seattle 12th Anniversary | Sunday, November 30

2014_N30_Kilusan_PosterKILUSAN / MOVEMENT: Beyond Solidarity and Relief
Anakbayan Seattle 12 Year Anniversary Show
Kapit Bisig Kabataan Network Relief Mission and Expo Report Back
50th Anniversary of Kabataang Makabayan

Sunday, November 30th
Doors & Silent Auction 3pm
Program 4pm – 6pm

at Jaam Rek 
2000 S Jackson St, Seattle, Washington 98144

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 23, 2014
Reference: Jenilee Policarpio, Chairperson, Anakbayan Seattle, anakbayan.seattle@gmail.com
 
Seattle, Washington – Anakbayan Seattle is proud to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Kabataang Makabayan and Anakbayan Seattle’s 12th Anniversary: Kilusan / Movement – Beyond Solidarity and Relief’ (Kilusan means “movement “ in Tagalog). We will be honoring and commemorating Filipino youth and student movements by showcasing several cultural pieces and testimonials of our our most recent exposure trip, where we sent four Anakbayan members to the Philippines. Our performance will take you through all three major regions of the Philippines (Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao), and will share the true conditions of the Filipino people as well as our movement for genuine National Democracy in the Philippines.

Our History – Founded on November 30, 2002 at the Eastern Hotel in Seattle’s International District, Anakbayan Seattle was the first overseas chapter of Anakbayan Philippines.November 30th holds historical significance as the birthday of Andres Bonifacio – founder of the revolutionary society, the Katipunan. In addition, the first comprehensive youth mass organization in the Philippines, Kabataang Makabayan was founded on this day in 1964. Anakbayan Seattle’s formation was influenced by the major protests of the World Trade Organization’s Ministerial Conference in Seattle on November 30, 1999, which introduced unfair trade policies between the Philippines and the United States. All eyes were on Seattle as the people resisted against the neoliberal policies of the World Trade Organization, eventually shutting the international conference down entirely. Students from the University of Washington, Washington State University, and other universities recognized the conditions to create an international mass organization directly connected to the youth and student struggle in the Philippines.

Twelve years later, Filipino youth and students in the United States continue to uphold the proud revolutionary heritage of Andres Bonifacio and Kabataang Makabayan, with Anakbayan chapters in Seattle, Los Angeles, East Bay, San Diego, Silicon Valley, New Jersey, New York, and Chicago. In May 2012, members and allies gathered in Chicago for the historic founding of Anakbayan-USA, a nationwide organization comprised of all Anakbayan chapters in the U.S., in addition to the League of Filipino Students at San Francisco State University.

We welcome everyone to join us on Sunday, November 30th at Jaam Rek Seattle, for a day of celebration and movement!

Youth: $5, no one turned away
Adult: $7

Facebook Event Page

In Community,
Anakbayan Seattle

Remembering Typhoon Haiyan / One Year of Grassroots Fundraising for Relief and Rehabilitation

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Photo by Nikki Deleon

A year ago today Typhoon Haiyan’s (aka Yolanda) 195 mph winds devastated the Philippines. Three days later, over 11 million Filipinos in Eastern Visayas were affected, with over 6,000 recorded deaths.

For this one-year anniversary, rather than focus on the damage done and the Aquino Administration’s slow response to the disaster, we want to highlight a different story. Grassroots Filipino American organizations quickly mobilized to collect donations, gather materials, and send activists to help on the ground.

BAYAN USA organizations in Washington and Oregon raised a combined total of over $50,000 towards Mindanao-based relief organization BALSA. According to the U.S.-based partner organization for BALSA, National Alliance of Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), Washington State was one of the top three states for Haiyan donations, coming out third after California and New York.

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Later, BAYAN activists from both Seattle and Portland traveled to the Philippines for the first two BALSA National Relief Missions, to hand out relief packs and document the aid work. Altogether, over the past year, NAFCON raised over $1 million for grassroots relief in the typhoon-effected areas of Samar and Leyte. View a full report of NAFCON’s Typhoon Haiyan Relief and Rehabilitation work here: http://bit.ly/1w10wuv

Our focus on the typhoon-effected areas in the Philippines continued into this year, as we sent over 20 community members to the Philippines in 2013 to connect the drastic impact of climate change to our own lives and policies here in the U.S.

This past summer, we sent 5 youth and student organizers from Seattle and Portland to the Philippines to join Kapit Bisig Kabataan Network’s typhoon relief missions. A reportback of their experience will be held in Seattle on Sunday, November 30. Visit abexpo14.tumblr.com for more details.

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Currently, organizers in Eastern Visayas continue their relief effort by organizing residents in the movement for a truly accountable government, as well as raising awareness about climate change. BAYAN organizers in Seattle hosted BALSA Mindanao climate activist May Vargas during her U.S. travels. As a delegate from the Philippines, she joined over 2,000 people from 162 other countries for the People’s Climate March in New York this past September.

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May Vargas of BALSA Mindanao at NAFCON’s General Assembly this past October

Please consider making a tax-deductible gift to continue the progress we’ve made in not only rebuilding the Philippines, but also in working towards solutions that affect the root causes of these climate calamities. Please click here to quickly and easily donate for lasting solutions.

Maraming maraming salamat,
BAYAN USA Pacific Northwest

Letter to Jennifer Laude

This letter was written on October 17, 2014 in solidarity with the Global Day of Action. Jennifer Laude, a transgender Filipina woman who was brutally murdered on October 11, 2014 in Olongapo, Philippines. A United States Marine, identified as Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, is the prime suspect in the murder case.

Dear Sister,

We are the bakla, tomboy, genderqueers, bisexuals, lesbians and gays of Bayan PNW. We have spent the last six days remembering. Remembering whose bodies have always been on the line. Remembering whose lives are deemed expendable. Remembering how legacies of colonialism and imperialism have long dehumanized our people. Remembering what it’s like to be told you have no right to be who you are, no place for you in this world.

Jennifer, it is often easier to forget. It is easier to forget that trans women all over the world have been violated, beaten and killed because they dare to be themselves. Easier to not think about all the other ways that you have been treated as less than, other, a joke or a spectacle. Easier to not think that while we are learning about transphobia and transmisogyny, we have also been complicit in your oppression. By not centering your needs as we advocate for the rights and safety of our LGBT community, we have participated in rendering your daily struggle invisible.

This work starts with remembering.

We know there is a fight ahead of us. We know our calls for justice will be amplified by our comrades and allies, trans and cisgendered, Filipin@s and non-Filipin@s who believe that your life matters.

Each of us mourn this loss and the many things your life represents for us. We are grieving in the ways we know how. Some of us write press statements and essays. Some reach out to other queer people to feel connected. Some of us are building coalitions to support our calls for justice. Some are immobilized with rage and sorrow. Some are responding to the hateful ways your story is being portrayed. Some of us are thinking of ways to connect with your family and loved ones. All of us are honoring you.

We want to honor your life by remembering. Remembering so many others who continue to suffer from transphobia and hate violence. Remembering too many lives that have been taken by U.S. militarization in the Philippines. Remembering all those who have been harmed and dehumanized by systems of power and have not gotten the calls of justice they deserve. Remembering that our struggles are deeply connected. Remembering that all our people deserve to live with dignity.

We want to honor your life by taking action. We will be on the streets condemning U.S. occupation, in our communities connecting militarization and transphobic violence, creating space to grow and transform ourselves in this movement. We will let our voices carry across the Pacific until the Philippine and U.S. government recognize that your life matters, that a Filipino trans woman’s life is more than enough to galvanize our people and many others to demand justice and self-determination for you and for our people.

With love and solidarity,

Bayan PNW Queer Collective

Portland Organizations Oppose U.S. Military and Economic Creep on the Asia Pacific

For Immediate Release
April 25, 2014
Contacts: Elizabeth Swager, Director, Oregon Fair Trade Campaign &
Rossella De Leon, Secretary General, Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines
info@oregonfairtrade.org, portlandchrp@gmail.com, 503-736-9777, 503-915-7283

Portland Organizations Oppose U.S. Military and Economic Creep on the Asia Pacific
Administration Attempts to Further Efforts on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and
Military Expansion in the Philippines and Asia Pacific

As President Obama embarks on his April 23-29 Asia Pacific tour, the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign (ORFTC) and Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (PCHRP) stand together to vehemently oppose the U.S. government’s rampant militarism in the region and its economic hegemony through the implementation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Obama is expected to visit Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines to advance the United States’ long-term economic and military interests in the region.

“We oppose further militarization in the Philippines because history has shown over and over again that the U.S. military presence catalyze sexual assaults against Filipino women and children, abandonment of Filipino-American or “Amerasian” children, violence against human rights defenders, and environmental destruction as in the case when the U.S. left toxic waste in former U.S. bases Clark and Subic,” said Rossella De Leon, Secretary General of PCHRP.

The U.S. Asia Pacific Pivot aims to strengthen its military bases and consolidate its geopolitical alliances in the Asia Pacific with plans of moving 60% of the U.S. Navy fleet to Asia by 2020; hence, Obama’s fast-tracked plans to sign a new military defense agreement with the Philippines disguised as the “Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement” (EDCA). Filipinos and allies in Portland, along with progressive individuals and organizations all over the world, have expressed concerns that EDCA violates the Philippine constitution which states that base agreements must go through the parliamentary process. The constitutional authority of the parliament was violated by both governments when they negotiated the terms of the agreement in secret, locking out lawmakers and the public. EDCA would allow the U.S. to set up its own exclusive military facilities within Philippine bases and to operate anywhere in the Philippines under the guise of “humanitarian assistance,” i.e., the most recent deployment of U.S. Seventh Fleet to supposedly provide disaster relief to victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Another major goal for the President’s trip to the region is to attempt to drum up support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which after four years of negotiations, face growing U.S. congressional and public opposition in most TPP countries throughout the Pacific Rim.

Despite attempt to keep negotiations out of the public eye, leaks of TPP documents have fueled strong criticisms in many TPP countries including the Philippines. Amongst the top concerns from civil society groups are: enforceable labor and environmental standards, access to affordable medicine, protecting family farms, food sovereignty, and more.

While Japan and Malaysia are currently negotiating the TPP, both South Korea and the Philippines have expressed interest in joining the trade talks. In fact, Philippine officials have already taken steps to pave the way to join trade talks on the TPP despite its conflict with the Philippine Constitution that limits foreign ownership in some industries to 40 percent.

“The TPP would not only require the Philippines to change their Constitution to allow foreign corporations access to local markets, the TPP will elevate the status of investors to be equal to that of governments,” stated Elizabeth Swager, Director of ORFTC. “Leaked chapters of the TPP have revealed language which grants vast powers to investors by giving foreign corporations the right to sue governments when their investment interests are limited by laws to protect the environment or public health. This is an attack on national sovereignty and democracy itself.”

One major obstacle that keeps the TPP from moving forward is the deadlock between the U.S. and Japan over a score of issues including sensitive market access in agriculture and automobiles. If talks between President Obama and Prime Minister Shanzo Abe reach a breakthrough, other TPP nations may be more willing to consider high-stakes tradeoffs such as U.S. proposals in the TPP: to extend the life of drug patents, allow for investor-state dispute settlements, and limit financial regulations.

The Administration had also hoped to secure trade authority from Congress through enacting Fast Track legislation, which would limit Congressional debate and forbid amendments to free trade agreements including the TPP. Growing opposition to the TPP resulted in an introduction of a Fast Track bill in January that was dead on arrival in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The Philippines is sovereign on paper, but not in practice. The Filipino people have been organizing and mobilizing against the gross violation of Philippine sovereignty by the U.S. for over a hundred years now. Our struggle for genuine freedom must advance and intensify, now more than ever,” De Leon further stated. ORFTC and PCHRP support the people of the Philippines and Asia Pacific in their continuous fight for self-determination, peace, and justice. These progressive Oregon-based organizations oppose the U.S. government’s Asia Pacific pivot and neoliberal economic agenda through the TPP. ORFTC and PCHRP demand the U.S. government to bring its troops back home and spend its military dollars on jobs and education for the American people, not on war and plunder in the Asia Pacific!

Stop the TPP and Fast Track!

Call your Member of Congress now and urge them to oppose any new Fast Track legislation and the TPP. We need trade policy that benefits people and the environment over corporate profits!

Junk the Visiting Forces Agreement and the new military access agreement!

Send U.S. troops back home! U.S. troops out of the Philippines and the Asia Pacific!

Money for jobs and education! Not for war and occupation!

Self-determination for all! Uphold Philippines’ sovereignty!

Oregon Fair Trade Campaign (ORFTC) is a statewide grassroots organization committed to advocating for fair trade policy that prioritizes quality jobs, public health, and the environment in communities across the state and across the world. ORFTC’s affiliate organizations represent over 250,000 Oregonians.

Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (PCHRP) is an organization composed of Filipino and Filipino American immigrant youth, students, professionals, workers, and allies working together in solidarity to advance the national democratic movement of the Philippines in the U.S. through education, leadership development, and political action. PCHRP is a member organization of Bayan USA, an alliance of 18 progressive Filipino organizations in the U.S. representing students, scholars, women, workers, artists, and youth, which serves as an information bureau for the national democratic movement of the Philippines and as a center for educating, organizing, and mobilizing anti-imperialist and progressive Filipinos in the U.S.

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