Bernadette has been a grassroots community organizer, human rights activist and campaign strategist-writer for over 15 years. She credits the explosive peak in the international mass movement against imperialist globalization in 1999– particularly the presence of BAYAN leaders from the Philippines at the Battle of Seattle against the WTO and the protests in Washington DC against the IMF-WB meeting—as her baptism by fire into the global anti-imperialist struggle. She was integral to the development of several grassroots Filipino community organizations and alliances in NYC and in the US. She also spent time in the Philippines as a full-time campaign staff writer for Migrante International, the largest alliance of overseas Filipino organizations with an anti-imperialist orientation, where she worked on the successful national campaign to save Angelo de la Cruz, the overseas Filipino truck driver in Iraq who was kidnapped and held hostage in Fallujah, that eventually led to his release and withdrawal of Philippine troops from Iraq in 2004. Bernadette was a founding member of BAYAN USA in 2005, serving as the Northeast regional coordinator. She served as Secretary-General in 2007-2009, and then as Chairperson in 2009-2012. Bernadette is currently serving her second term as Chairperson.
Rhonda Ramiro, Vice Chair
Rhonda has been an activist in the ND movement since the 1990s. She was a founding member of Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines-San Francisco in 1999, for which she was the chair until 2003. After taking a short break to have her first child in 2003, she went on to serve as the Secretary of the National Organizing Committee of BAYAN-USA in 2004-5 and then to be a founding member of AnakBayan East Bay in 2007. In 2008, Rhonda was elected to be the BAYAN-USA Regional Coordinator for Northern California, helped re-start efforts to build the International League of Peoples’ Struggle in Northern California, and helped coordinate the Northern California delegation to the ILPS Third International Assembly. Rhonda served as Secretary General of BAYAN-USA from 2009-2012, running the chapter’s day-to-day operations, ensuring that the chapter’s programs and plans were implemented, and communicating regularly with members and BAYAN Philippines.
Major campaigns that Rhonda has participated in and/or coordinated include Justice for Airport Screeners, Stop the Killings/End Human Rights Violations in the Philippines, Justice for Melissa Roxas, US Troops Out of the Philippines. Major projects, programs and activities that she has coordinated include: exposure trips and solidarity missions (PIOM 2010); regional and national actions; establishing and maintaining relations with solidarity allies; and organizing more protest actions than she can remember.
At the Fourth National Assembly of BAYAN-USA in 2012, Rhonda was elected Vice Chair of the alliance and re-elected in 2015. She is honored to continue serving BAYAN-USA and the ND movement in this new capacity, and she has a particular interest in following in the footsteps of the 2009-2012 Vice Chair Kuusela Hilo, by concentrating on developing BAYAN-USA’s solidarity relations with other movements and helping to build ILPS USA.
Rhonda’s favorite activities are writing sound bites and hit pieces that expose the evils of US imperialism, making presentations on the shared history and struggles of third world people, doing media interviews about the Philippines and the ND movement, listening to her partner play the guitar, and cooking up new recipes and science projects with her kids.
Jessica was first elected as the National Secretary General of BAYAN USA at the 4th National Congress held in Chicago, 2012 and re-elected in 2015. She is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the chapter, coordination and implementation of national campaigns with the national council, regional coordinators and member organizations, writing press statements and propagating to the media, as well as communicating with BAYAN Philippines. She is excited to be working with this team of strong women in advancing our ND movement here in the belly of the beast.
She was first introduced to the National Democratic movement in Seattle, 2004 during a youth conference hosted by Anakbayan Seattle, among others. She joined the League of Filipino Students(LFS) at San Francisco State University once she moved to the Bay Area in 2007 to pursue her Masters Degree in Ethnic Studies. Jessica became chairperson of LFS from 2009-2010 where she initiated the formation of an on campus alliance of organizations known as the People of Color Alliance (PoCA) formed with Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlán(MeCHA), General Union of Palestinian Students(GUPS), and Pilipino American Collegiate Endeavor (PACE). She was then elected to be the Regional Coordinator of BAYAN USA Northern California in November 2010-December 2012. During this time, she was able to coordinate the Northern California delegation to the Fourth International Assembly of the International league of People’s Struggles in 2011 and the local report back with ally organizations.
Jessica loves to travel to the Philippines to engage in the strong National Democratic movement with BAYAN Philippines and feel how alive and full it is anywhere you go! She also enjoys playing music with her kasamas in the D-beat punk band Digma, nerding out to almost anything nerdy, and hiking and exploring nature.
Nikole Cababa was elected to serve on the Executive Committee of BAYAN USA at the 5th National Congress in 2015. Nikole serves as the BAYAN USA Deputy Secretary General to strengthen the educational work and campaign materials for the alliance. She also serves as the Southern California Regional Coordinator of BAYAN-USA.
In 2008, Nikole served as the Belmont Site Coordinator of Samahang Pilipino Advancing Community Empowerment (SPACE) leading the advocacy and youth empowerment programming in LA for high school students in Historic Filipinotown. In 2009, she joined local campaign efforts in her hometown of Long Beach, CA and led coalition building efforts to pass the city’s first Living Wage measure to raise wages and paid sick days for over 2,000 hotel workers, many of which are Filipino and Latino workers. Since 2010, Nikole has been involved with BAYAN USA because of her exposure trips to the Philippines providing typhoon relief to urban poor communities in Luzon. She joined Anakbayan Los Angeles in 2010 after volunteering for a typhoon relief project with BAYAN & BALSA post Typhoon Sendong. She realized long-term relief and genuine change could only be achieved through organizing and building power amongst the most marginalized communities. In 2013-2014, she served on the Executive Committee of Anakbayan LA as the organization’s first Solidarity Officer. She has now taken on the role of Organizational Development in GABRIELA Los Angeles, a member organization of BAYAN USA, fighting for the rights and welfare of Filipino women and children. She enjoys developing cultural work for the people, watching live music shows, cooking with friends, hosting potlucks, and jamming on the drums.
Romeo became a member of Anakbayan Los Angeles in December 2010. Within a few months of joining, he was appointed as Deputy Finance Officer for 2011 and also went on an exposure to the Philippines later that year, which he credits as the experience that solidified his lifelong commitment to the National Democratic movement. He was elected as Finance Officer in 2012, where he helped in guiding the members with various fundraising events and the creation of income generating projects, which set the foundation for the financial sustainability that the organization has today. In 2013, he was elected as Secretary General and was responsible for day-to-day operations as well overseeing the development of current members and the recruitment of new ones. In 2014, Romeo served as Chairperson and was responsible for leading the Mass Campaigns committee and the chapter’s Executive Committee (EC). Due to the members’ strong organizing efforts over the years, it was during this time that Anakbayan LA was preparing to expand into two additional chapters in Long Beach and the Inland Empire. After the expansion took place in November 2014, Romeo was elected as Chairperson of the Anakbayan Long Beach chapter, where he still currently holds the position. In July 2015, Romeo was elected as BAYAN-USA’s Finance Officer during the 5th National Assembly in Washington DC. He’s excited to return to finance work and continue building upon the foundation set by those who previously held the position. His aim is for members to understand and embrace the role of fundraising and finances as it relates to our work in the movement. Romeo works with low-income, probation, and foster youth in Los Angeles by providing them with the skills and training needed to find gainful employment. He enjoys cooking, DJing, and producing various forms of cultural work through the use of photography, film, and hip-hop music.