US Campaign for Philippines’s Kabataan Partylist Ends with Music, Poetry

May. 09, 2007

New York City & Los Angeles?In nationally-coordinated events in California and New York last April 28, 29 and May 4, over 350 Filipino youth gathered to show unwavering support for KABATAAN Partylist, the leading and only partylist representing the youth sector in the upcoming elections in the Philippines. Using rock and acoustic music, hip hop, poetry, and shadow theater, Filipino youth used their creativity to show how their local issues are connected with the issues of youth in the Philippines addressed by the KABATAAN Partylist.

The Musikabataan Festival, held over two nights in Queens, New York, and the Power and Potential of the Youth Block Party, held in Los Angeles, California, were culminating cultural events of the US-based campaign to support KABATAAN Partylist, initiated last March by KABATAAN-Ugnayan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (Linking the Children of the Motherland) and KABATAAN-Kabataang maka-Bayan (KmB, Pro-People Youth). Using all available means from street outreach to the use of blogs and websites, Filipino youth in the US have taken part in various organizing and outreach efforts to amplify the issues of the youth in the Philippines, such as education, employment and forced migration, and to educate the community about the need for clean and fair elections.

Drawing wide support, the campaign was recently joined by the 250-member strong Philippine Workers’ Center Youth, based in Los Angeles .

“Immigrant and second-generation Filipino youth in the US strongly support the KABATAAN Partylist because they represent the interests of Filipino youth worldwide,” expressed Joana Palomar, spokesperson for KABATAAN-Ugnayan. “What pushes our young people to migrate from the Philippines and land in the US only to become a source of cheap labor? What binds the youth being harassed by the Philippine military for supporting KABATAAN and the young Filipinos targeted by racist cops in the US? Our issues are interconnected and are bred by the same system. We want this vicious cycle of poverty and forced migration to end, and we need KABATAAN to echo our issues and demands when elected in the Philippine Congress!”

On Saturday, April 28, and Friday, May 4, the Musikabataan Festival, held in the heart of the Filipino community in Elmhurst, Queens, in New York City, drew high-spirited crowds of over 130 youth each night. Filipino spoken word artists, musicians and emcees used various creative means to convey their experiences as immigrant and second-generation youth while expressing hope for change both in the local community and in their homeland.

On Sunday, April 29, the Power and Potential of the Youth Block Party in historic Filipinotown, in Los Angeles, drew a crowd of over 200 youth. Held on the anniversary of the social uprising known as the Los Angeles riots, the Block Party was an opportunity for youth to speak out against systemic racism while raising awareness about the challenges faced by youth in the Philippines.

“More than just concerts, these events proved that we young Filipinos here in the US are concerned and affected about what’s happening back in our homeland,” added Palomar. “Naninindigan kami hindi lang para sa aming mga sarili kundi para rin sa aming mga pamilya sa Pilipinas (We are standing up not only for ourselves but also for our families back home).”

Continuing efforts through the May 14 elections, the US-based campaign has launched a video featuring Filipino immigrant and second-generation youth, students and popular musicians and artists in response to the much-publicized KABATAAN Partylist video featuring stars Dennis Trillo and Angel Locsin. The KABATAAN Partylist video from the US sends a firm message of commitment to change the current system of injustice and corruption, directly from youth in the US to youth in the Philippines. In just two days on the internet, the video received over 2,000 hits. The video is available on YouTube: .

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

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