National Alliance for Filipino Concerns
info@nafconusa.org

statement

Continue the Struggle Beyond 100 Days! Unite Filipinos in the U.S. for Real Change!

Continue the Struggle Beyond 100 Days! Unite Filipinos in the U.S. for Real Change!

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

  1. Endorse the FAA
  2. Hold more town halls and community gatherings on the FAA to further build collective unity 
  3. Launch local actions and campaigns to create concrete solutions of the FAA especially for kababayans most marginalized, impacted, and oppressed in our communities
  4. Push for local legislation and pass city resolutions on the different demands of the FAA
  5. Mobilize our kababayan to pass the Phillippine Human Rights Act 
    1. Lobby city councils to pass city-wide resolutions    
    2. Lobby our congressional representatives and senators to push the passing of the PHRA into law
  6. Join NAFCON, Kabataan Alliance, Malaya Movement, and other organizations to advocate and fight for our communities long term.
Read more

NAFCON Demands Justice for the Murder of Angelo Quinto and Stands in Solidarity with the Quinto Family

On March 10, we celebrate what would’ve been the 31st birthday of Filipino American veteran, Angelo Quinto

On December 23, 2020, Antioch police officers responded to Angelo’s mental health crisis with excessive use of force. Angelo pleaded for his life and died at the hands of the Antioch Police Department (APD) through the carotid hold, the same knee-to-neck restraint used on George Floyd.

Angelo’s case is not an isolated event and highlights a broken healthcare system at the intersection of America’s deep-seated racist policing of Black communities and people of color.

The current system addresses symptoms rather than causes of disease and is not likely to significantly improve the health status of people who are in most need of such assistance. Alternative methods address the issue of power, and how inequalities embedded within these structures of power inversely affect health.The lack of access to affordable mental health services coupled with racial prejudice will continue to perpetuate an endless cycle of stigma and criminalization of our most marginalized communities if we do not address this immediately. Angelo needed support amid a mental health crisis and the system failed him.

His death along with countless victims of police killings could have been prevented if mental health resources were accessible and affordable to working class families. The Filipino-American Agenda (FAA) addresses the issues of Filipinos in the United States and offers immediate to long term solutions to create change and improve the welfare of Filipinos across the nation. Now more than ever, families are in need of social and mental health services as many face unemployment and psychological strains exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Angelo wanted to live and he deserved to be treated with compassion and dignity. Over 54,000 signatures have been collected to demand police accountability.

NAFCON, along with various organizations across the United States, formed the Justice for Angelo Quinto! Justice for All! Coalition in response to the murder of Angelo. Anchored in the Bay Area, the Coalition involves over 130 community based organizations committed to fighting for justice for Angelo Quinto and all victims of police brutality. This week, March 8 to March 14, is a national week of action and the Coalition invites members of the public to submit photos in support of the #JusticeforAngeloQuinto campaign to J4AQJ4All@gmail.com.

Read more

Statement on Anti-Asian Violence

Reference: Ryan Leano, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns – National Steering Committee
Phone: 415-779-5994, ryan@nafconusa.org

NAFCON USA joins the API communities across the US in mourning and decrying the sudden and violent deaths of Asian-Americans in Atlanta who were the latest victims of hate crimes and senseless attacks against people of color. We grieve with their families over their loss and share the same history of racist violence, discrimination, and segregation. We vow to work with the aggrieved families and all people who seek justice and an end to systemic racism. 

We are disturbed and concerned at how Asian-American women are the targets of gendered racial violence. Of the 3,800 Anti-Asian incidents reported during the pandemic, 68% were directed at women (Stop AAPI Hate). These attacks are symptoms of larger systemic problems that intend to sow fear among the people, divide marginalized communities against each other, and hedge the real issues behind these racist crimes and attacks. We encourage the whole API communities and people of color to be vigilant and act in the spirit of solidarity and community in this period of heightened racist violence to fight for justice for the victims and those who are still living. 

Larger systemic problem

The attacks we are seeing are direct manifestations of the history of violence of U.S. colonialism in the Asia-Pacific and other countries that has led to the subjugation of the people as well as the economic, political, cultural and social conditions of these colonized countries. Colonialism is the worst form of national oppression. Even as some countries have their nominal independence from their colonial masters, the economic and political conditions of these countries are still tied to and dictated by the United States. For about eight decades now, countries like the Philippines have been under conditions where the majority of the people are landless peasants and living below poverty line, workers receive very low wages with no job security and benefits because of contractualization, etc. These conditions have forced people to migrate to  advanced capitalist countries like the US, in order to find better opportunities. This results in people from poorer countries becoming sources of cheap labor. Worse, they become victims of systemic racism, misogyny, and inequality. 

History of Violence Against the Asian Pacific Islander Community

The recent deadly attacks on elderly Asian Americans, including Filipinos, are not new. Neither are these isolated incidents. Racism is inherent in capitalism, especially in advanced ones like the U.S. that grew out of the exploitation of the cheap labor and resources of oppressed peoples and nations. In good times or in bad times, crisis or not, state policies and laws are installed according to the needs and demands of capitalism. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was a U.S. legislation that excluded Chinese from migrating to the U.S. to work as low-wage unskilled labor. This resulted from violent reactions among white American workers at the time out of fear of “taking their jobs away.” White workers were pitted against migrant workers. 

We see companies continue to bring in people from other Asian countries as a source of low-wage unskilled labor. Due to violent reactions again, the Asian Exclusion Act of 1924 was enforced barring migrants from Asia to work in the US. Since the Philippines was a commonwealth of the U.S. at the time, Filipinos were allowed to migrate to the U.S. to work as unskilled labor and became targets of violent acts such as the Watsonville Riots of 1930 that targeted Filipino farmworkers. Violent incidents towards Filipinos were part of the resulting Filipino Repatriation Act of 1935, which provided single Filipinos free one-way transportation back to the Philippines, but made it very difficult for them to re-enter the U.S. if they wished to do so. 

Historically, we have seen policies that affirm, uphold, and encourage xenophobic sentiments against Asian immigrants. As we grieve with the community and vow to work for justice, we have to recognize and hold accountable the state-endorsed harassment and violence against immigrants. 

NAFCON USA encourages solidarity, community organizing, and community-led programs amidst increased attacks on the Asian community.

The solution to this violence cannot be increased police enforcement, which has only resulted in brutal murders of marginalized communities, including Filipinos. Instead, we must continue our work protecting and supporting each other, advocating for basic needs and rights of our communities such as economic stability, mental health, healthcare, and to advocate for change so that law enforcement is not perpetrating white supremacy, racism, misogyny and xenophobia. 

The struggle against the root causes of systemic racism and other related problems is part of the democratic struggle of all oppressed people — blacks, whites and people of color. We should all work towards this goal.

###

NAFCON is a national alliance of Filipino organizations, institutions, and individuals that responds to the concerns of Filipinos in the US and in the Philippines by creating an action-oriented platform that brings people together through culture & heritage, education, health & wellness, and advocacy.

Read more