Thursday, December 03, 2009

“Learn from the masses, Serve the People!” Says Jersey City Youth Group


Jersey City-“Learn from the masses. Serve the People!” That is the resounding call of the Filipino youth group called Anakbayan New York/ New Jersey as they celebrate their 5th founding anniversary on Sunday at Sinugba, a Filipino-owned restaurant in Jersey City. This event was themed “Aklasan: Rediscovering the Roots of Our Generation’s Revolution” in honor and celebration of Anakbayan-Philippines’ 11 years of service to the people, Kabataang Makabayan’s 45th Founding Anniversary and the Philippine Hero, Gat Andres Bonifacio’s 146thbirthday.


As a new generation of Filipino activists, it is our obligation to go back to our roots and learn, connect and uphold the valuable lessons and principles held by those who came before us in order for our generation to continue the unfinished struggle of our people for self-determination and genuine democracy in the Philippines” said Yves Nibungco, newly elected Chairperson of Anakbayan NY/NJ. “It is very timely and advisable to all the youth, whether immigrant or US-born to know, learn and draw lessons from the Katipunan and Kabataang Makabayan as we continue to face the same issues of foreign domination, feudal exploitation and government corruption.” Mr. Nibungco added.


According to Anakbayan, they continue to struggle for these issues because the Philippines remain a vassal country, dominated by foreign interests and ruled by a minority of landowners and big businesses while the vast majority basks in poverty. They also said that this is the main reason why almost 4000 Filipinos leave the country every day.


The celebration was youthful, intense and meaningful as friends and allies came to share the special day and to show support for the Filipino youth group. The celebration was started by a slideshow of one-year’s worth of Anakbayan’s activities and struggles. It was followed by fiery and heart-warming speeches of solidarity and appreciation from allied organizations and supporters.


One of the attendees was Kalusugan Coalition’s Project AsPIRE Director, Ms. Rhodora Ursua. In her solidarity message, she said, “on behalf of Kalusugan Coalition, we just appreciate how much AB [Anakbayan] has been such a great partner for the work that we do in trying to serve the health needs of Filipinos here in Jersey City, NJ and in Queens, NY. Anakbayan always comes out in full force, volunteering and helping out during Project AsPIRE’s health fairs.”



At the event, newly elected officers of Anakbayan NY/NJ were presented and were followed by a public oath taking, symbolizing their commitment to serving the community. The event was concluded with the breaking of a piñata/Arroyo effigy and a cultural show wherein local Filipino artists played. Artists who supported the event were Bayanihan Kultural Kolektib (BKK), Kadena, Donny Manuel, Taospuso and John-Flor Sisante.



About 70 other supporters filled Sinugba restaurant where the said youth group usually hold its events. Allied organizations in attendance include New York Committee on Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), Kalusugan Coalition, American Pin@y Organization of the Youth (APOY), Philippine Forum New York and New Jersey, Pan-American Concerned Citizens Action League (PACCAL), Garden State Alliance for a New Economy (GAIN), SEIU 1199, Omni Health Workers, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), Sandiwa National Alliance of Filipino-American Youth, Gabriela-USA and Bagong Alyansang Makabayang-USA (BAYAN-USA). Volunteers from Bayanihan for Typhoon Ondoy Relief Drive also attended the event.


“We are so inspired and humbled at the same time by the community’s support. Now, we are even more ready to raise the level our struggle against Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's tyranny. We vow to resist and prevent another dictatorship masquerading as Arroyo's congressional bid in Pampanga.” Ms. Kathleen Dy, Anakbayan’s new Secretary General, concluded while referring to rumors of Arroyo ruling the Philippines forever by running for Congres and Charter Change. ###

Photos by Felipe Asuncion

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