On January 20th, Biden became the 46th President of the U.S., and made promises to solve the current economic, health, and social crises. Millions of people, including Filipinos, clamored to his campaign with hopes for change, however much of the problems remain the same. As a result, Filipinos across the country united together on the Filipino American Agenda on solution-based demands to address the deep-rooted problems plaguing our kababayan and heightening the current situation. Still, there is a need to further unite all Filipinos across the U.S!
Biden’s 100 day mark is fast approaching and the situation of Filipinos continues to worsen! Racial violence continues to heighten, especially with attacks on Asian communities. Filipinos are no exception, as we saw in the killing of Angelo Quinto by police forces in Antioch, CA and assaults on numerous Filipinos, the most violent ones being on Vilma Kari, Noel Quintana, and Jessica Dimalanta. COVID-19 cases continue to escalate across the country and Filipino nurses and other health workers responded day in and day out working the front lines and giving their lives to assist COVID-positive patients. Filipino health workers amounted to a staggering one third of all health worker deaths in the U.S in the fight against COVID-19. Filipino workers, especially undocumented workers, continue to struggle to make ends meet, going from one odd job to the next or remaining jobless without support from the U.S. government or the Philippines. In order for us to address the demands raised in the Filipino American Agenda our struggle for change must go beyond the first 100 days of the Biden Administration. We must unite and work towards real change for our kababayan!
Through the Filipino American Agenda, Filipinos across the U.S. held numerous town halls across the country, in the Pacific Northwest, California, Texas, Georgia, Florida, Chicago, Washington D.C., New York, and New Jersey. Through these town halls, we engaged Filipino organizations and individuals representing frontline workers, migrants, youth, women, LGBTQ, educators, and small businesses owners. Within the span of three months, over 100 Filipino organizations endorsed the Filipino American Agenda and further developed our points of unity.
Our work has only just begun. We must go beyond these initial town halls which only touched but a small fraction of our community in the U.S. We must unite Filipinos at the local level – from the neighborhoods we reside in, to the churches where we congregate, to the hospitals and other health facilities where the majority of our kababayan work, to cities and towns that we have yet to reach across the U.S! We must continue to understand the plight of the most exploited and impacted of our community, especially our undocumented Filipino workers, and involve them in our campaigns and struggles for change!
Filipinos in the U.S. have not forgotten about the ever worsening situation in the Philippines. In addition to the COVID-19 situation which remains in a state crisis, attacks on communities have been ramping up from state forces paid for by our U.S. tax dollars, to the point where military and police are targeting community pantries by calling them “terrorist plots.” In actuality, the people are only helping each other out by setting up these community pantries to mitigate the hunger crisis exacerbated by the pandemic.
Given the need to advance our work, we reaffirm and reiterate our demands in the Filipino American Agenda! We must meet with different government bodies to hold the Biden administration accountable to our demands. We must continue hosting community town halls on our issues and concerns, as well as gather more endorsements for the agenda. We must use the Filipino American Agenda to launch local and national campaigns to advocate for concrete solutions to the problems our kababayan are facing here. And we must continue advocating for our kababayan in the Philippines by demanding the passing of the Philippine Human Rights Act.
There is much more work to do for our people, but with a united Filipino community, we are stronger and more effective in holding government officials accountable! Let us continue to build unity and make the Filipino American Agenda a reality! Let us continue to struggle for real change!
Calls to Action
- Endorse the FAA
- Hold more town halls and community gatherings on the FAA to further build collective unity
- Launch local actions and campaigns to create concrete solutions of the FAA especially for kababayans most marginalized, impacted, and oppressed in our communities
- Push for local legislation and pass city resolutions on the different demands of the FAA
- Mobilize our kababayan to pass the Phillippine Human Rights Act
- Lobby city councils to pass city-wide resolutions
- Lobby our congressional representatives and senators to push the passing of the PHRA into law
- Join NAFCON, Kabataan Alliance, Malaya Movement, and other organizations to advocate and fight for our communities long term.