Experience.... RECLAIM.

Experience.... RECLAIM.

For Immediate Release
October 16, 2008
Contact: Chevy Evangelista, 212.564.6057,  ugnayan.nynj@gmail.com

Filipino Youth to Commemorate Filipino American Heritage Month and Reclaim History of Resistance

New York City – On Saturday, October 25, Filipino youth, musicians, cultural workers, activists, and allies will come together to commemorate and reclaim the Filipino history of resistance in the US. The event, RECLAIM: (Re)Affirming Our Culture of Resistance, Vol. 3, will bring together education, celebration and community empowerment through poetry, hiphop, rock, street theater, and visual art.

The significance of the month of October dates back to the earliest known record of Filipino presence in the US. October is celebrated in Filipino communities in Hawaii and on the West Coast but has yet to become an East Coast tradition. Ugnayan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (Linking the Children of the Motherland), a Filipino youth organization based in New York and New Jersey, seeks to integrate the heritage month into the Filipino community in NY/NJ – but with a twist.

"Filipino American Heritage Month is usually a celebration of individual accomplishments by Filipino-Americans. It should also be a reflection of the true Filipino experience and the collective accomplishments of our community against racism and other forms of oppression," says Gladys Fontanilla, a young immigrant Filipina organizer with Ugnayan.

RECLAIM, first held in 2003 and 2006, attracts Filipino youth from across the five boroughs and New Jersey. This year's line-up for the cultural night includes high-energy performances by some of New York's finest Filipino musicians and cultural workers, interspersed with community history highlighting the people and events who have stood up for Filipino rights in the US.

"Our history shows that since the first wave of migration to the US in the early 1900's, Filipino immigrants have had to struggle against racism, glass ceilings, deskilling, and family separation," says Fontanilla.

The reality of the American experience also burdens the second and third generations.

"Filipino history isn't taught in schools. Many second-generation Filipinos don't know their parents' language. How can we have a strong community without these connections to our roots?" says Melissa Gibson, a second-generation Filipina youth.

For many Ugnayan members, re-rooting in Filipino collective history is part of connecting with current issues that Filipinos face today in the US.

"The divide between immigrants and second-generation youth is superficial. We are all part of the same history of migration, and we should continue to struggle together for just wages, compassionate immigration policies, and quality education that reflects our history and culture," adds Gibson.

Saturday's performances will feature Koba & DJ Boo, Kilusan1898, Wonder Marq, John-Flor Sisante, Kay Barrett, Qwadra, Kayumanggi, and Sining Pandayan. Visual art exhibit by Joana Palomar and Soulfire.

RECLAIM 3 will take place Saturday, October 25, 7-11:30 pm, at HK Lounge, 405 W. 39th St., between 9th & 10th Aves. in Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan (A, C, E, 7, 2, 3 to 42nd St ). Tickets are $10 in advance (or if in the guest list) or $15 at the door. All ages are welcome, and 21 years and older to drink.

To purchase tickets, get on the guest list or for more info, please email  ugnayan.nynj@gmail.com or visit www.ugnayan.blogspot.com.

Ugnayan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (Linking the Children of the Motherland or UGNAYAN)

Reclaim our history of struggle!
Reroot in our culture of resistance!
Resurge and advance our role in effecting change!