Kawal Ulanday, Chair, BAYAN USA, chair @ bayanusa.org
Berna Ellorin, Media Officer, BAYAN USA, mc @ bayanusa.org
Filipinos across the US, under the banner of BAYAN USA and allied organizations, are supporting the national call for a one-day boycott of consumerism on Monday, May 1st, to drive forward the point that immigrant workers make significant contributions to, and therefore can impact, the US economy.
Dubbed “The Great American Boycott of 2006” the national call would entail no work, no school, no buying, and no selling for one day. BAYAN USA member organizations from New York to Los Angeles have picked up on this call and will mobilize widespread Filipino support when immigrant rights groups take their actions to the streets in massive rallies.
“As Filipino workers and working families, we support this call because this is one dramatic way of proving how essential we are to the US economy, and the economic power immigrant workers truly have. We see this as part of our ongoing call to demand respect, justice, and dignity from the broken US immigration system that is working against the people’s interests,” stated Kawal Ulanday of BAYAN USA.
In a press conference yesterday in New York City, immigrant leaders Javier Rodriguez and Jesse Diaz, the organizers responsible for the March 25th “Mega-March” that drew in over 1.5 million in Los Angeles, joined Filipino, South Asian, Latino, and Caribbean community members in announcing a May 1st immigrant rights demonstration in New York City’s Union Square starting at 4pm.
Even New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s recent remarks questioning the point of a national boycott could not withstand the outpouring of support from immigrant groups, workers, business-owners, and even some politicians in support of it.
“It is understandable that there are those in power who would like to avoid such an impact a one-day boycott could potentially have on the US economy, but the truth is whatever impact we make cannot be compared to the devastating impact US foreign policies have on our home countries that cripple and ravage our economies so much so that they cannot sustain us, and we are forced to migrate to survive,” Ulanday continued.
Worker organizations are also citing the significance of May 1st, celebrated around the world as International Workers Day, is historically not celebrated in the US.
“Immigrants will be rallying side-by-side on this day with the broader worker’s struggle to reclaim May Day,” Ulanday ended.
Among the basic demands of the Filipino alliance are unconditional legalization for all, a restructuring of the tedious family visa backlog system that has kept many Filipino families apart, and full worker rights and protection for undocumented workers.
BAYAN USA member organizations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle will be joining others in organizing Filipino contingents to participate in scheduled May 1st rallies. General information on actions across the country can by found by visiting www.nohr4437.org. For more information on Filipino contingents, contact the nearest BAYAN USA representative near you:
San Francisco/Bay Area: norcal @ bayanusa.org Los Angeles: socal @ bayanusa.org Seattle: pacificnorthwest @ bayanusa.org New York City: ny @ bayanusa.org