Filipino Youth and Students in U.S. vs Trump

Community Opinion & Analysis Jan 27, 2017 at 4:03 pm

IMG_5419We, Filipino youth and students from across the United States, reject Donald Trump’s rhetoric of hate. We pledge to defend the rights and welfare of our communities, both here in the United States and back home in the Philippines through our unity and collective action.

This coming January 20th, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the President of the United States. Throughout the 2016 presidential election, Trump consistently ran on a platform of hate, targeting oppressed and vulnerable communities, particularly immigrants, Muslims, women, and LGBT folks among many others. In an interview, Trump even referred to Filipinos as “animals” and threatened to ban migration from the Philippines for being a “country of terrorists.”

Contrary to his campaign promise to “drain the swamp,” Trump continues to fill-up his cabinet with corporate lobbyists, millionaires and anti-people politicians. Anti-LGBTQ extremist Mike Pence will be Vice President. Climate change denier and big oil ally Scott Pruitt will lead the Environmental Protection Agency to remove governmental regulations on pollution. Supporter of mass torture and the drug war John Kelly will lead the Department of Homeland Security. Known anti-immigrant lawmaker Jeffrey Sessions is set to serve as attorney general.

The appointment of Betsy DeVos to lead the Department of Education is especially harmful to us as youth and students. We will face stronger attacks on public education as DeVos pushes for school choice and charter schools. This privatization of our education–where the government treats schooling more like a business rather than a human right that should be afforded to all youth–will lower both the quality and availability of education.

IMG_5422Despite this gloomy picture, we are not powerless. The youth have always been at the forefront of genuine social change–from the 1896 Philippine Revolution against Spanish colonialism, to the anti-Marcos dictatorship movement, the Anti-War and Civil Rights Era of the 1960’s and 70’s, to the Black Lives Matter Movement of today. The youth continue to carry the banner of change and push society to continuously transform itself into a more positive and progressive society.

In these dark times, we pledge to resist. We call on Filipino youth and students to rise to the occasion and unite to fight against any and all manifestations of oppression under the Trump administration. It will only be through coming together and organizing that we will be able to fight for our rights and welfare.

We pledge to do the following:

1). Educate and organize ourselves and our community to fight for our rights and welfare. We shall organize discussions, forums, trainings, workshops, and other activities which are most appropriate to confront the actions and policies of the new administration.

2). Organize locally and nationally coordinated programs that speak to the immediate and long-term needs of our community. We must keep in mind the most vulnerable groups of our community, particularly LGBTQ-identified folks, women, undocumented immigrants, people with disabilities and Muslims; the most burning issues of affecting youth and our communities; and our support and solidarity with other oppressed peoples in the U.S. and abroad.

3). Mobilize ourselves, members of our organizations, and other groups and individuals to major actions, especially on January 20th and beyond.

4). Encourage individuals to join organizations to ensure solid organizing efforts that contribute to the further development of campaigns and programs which defend our community’s rights and welfare.

5). Build a broad national Filipino youth and student alliance to coordinate campaigns nationally and gather support for the issues and concerns of our kababayan here and back home in the Philippines.