Conference for Filipino Youth of New York & New Jersey

New York, NY – This November 3-5, Filipino youth organization Ugnayan ng mga Anak ng Bayan will host a consultation for all Filipino youth in the NY/NJ area at Barnard College in Manhattan. “PASULONG: Our Stories Must Be Told, Our Future Must Be Forged” will be an opportunity to hear and understand the issues Filipino youth are facing, as well as to educate and empower youth by uniting and taking action on these common issues.

Initiative for “PASULONG” came from immigrant and US-born Filipino youth who saw the need for a venue to bring out their issues with a common voice. They recognized that they are forcibly displaced from their homeland due to the lack of job opportunities and deteriorating quality life in the Philippines, caused by a legacy of foreign domination, a corrupt governing elite and a feudal economic system. As part of a growing and increasingly undocumented immigrant community in the US, Filipino youth are subjected to institutionalized racism, discrimination and low-wage service employment despite being highly educated back home in the Philippines. US-born Filipino youth express displacement from their roots and their language due to forced assimilation into US society and inadequate education about their immigrant and homeland history. Undocumented immigrant youth, young Filipina women and queer youth face additional barriers that need to be revealed and addressed.

Filipino youth at “PASULONG” will use a variety of cultural and creative media to tell their stories based on their own lived experiences, find commonalities between immigrant and US-born Filipino youth, and link their personal stories to the struggles of the larger Filipino community, including Filipino domestic workers and World War II veterans. At the end of the three-day event, greater understanding will be reached regarding the situation of Filipino youth in NY/NJ, and a plan of action will be created to address the needs of Filipino youth, and to transform and advance the struggle of the Filipino people both locally and abroad.

Workshops at “PASULONG” will cover the following topics: Forced Migration & Family Separation, US Laws & Policies, Education & Employment, Issues of Young Filipina Women and Issues of Young Queer Pinoys. Arturo Garcia, from Pesante-Los Angeles, will deliver the keynote at the event, and an all-youth panel of community organizers from New York and Los Angeles will speak on each of the topics: Analiza Caballes (Damayan Migrant Workers Association), Christine Araquel (Kabataang Maka-Bayan, LA), Leah Obias (Ugnayan), Olivia Quinto (Gabriela Network, NY/NJ) and Riya Ortiz (Ugnayan).

The conference will also include cultural performances from local musicians and poets, as well as Filipino food throughout the weekend.

Those planning to attend PASULONG must download the registration form at www.ugnayan.blogspot.com or www.myspace.com/ugnayannynj and email it to ugnayan_nyc @ yahoo . com. Onsite registration will also take place Friday evening and Saturday morning. For more information, email Ugnayan at the email address above or call Pandayan Center, Ugnayan’s office, at 212.564.6057.