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Filipino-Americans in NYC Join Unions in Largest “Occupy Wall Street” Demo to Date

Members of BAYAN USA and GABRIELA USA at Occupy Wall Street NYC

Reference: Jackelyn Mariano, BAYAN USA Northeast Coordinator


NEW YORK, NY– Filipino-Americans, under the banner of BAYAN USA, joined approximately 80,000 protesters in New York City last Wednesday in the largest support demonstration for Occupy Wall St. since it began 3 weeks ago. The rally in nearby Foley Square and march to Liberty Park, site of Occupy Wall St., was largely called for by organized labor such as the United Federation of Teachers. Other union forces present at the demonstration also included the Transit Workers Union Local 100, and the Professional Staff Congress of the City University of New York (PSC-CUNY).

Donning bright red headbands, member of BAYAN USA, an alliance of 15 Filipino organizations in the US, marched into the evening with the New York Community Contingent, alongside low-income, grassroots, mainly immigrant and people of color-based organizations such as Nodutdol for Korean Community Development, CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities, Picture the Homeless, FIERCE, and the Audre Lorde Project. BAYAN USA members carried signs reading “Filipino-Americans Support Occupy Wall St.”.

Philippine Congressman Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna Partylist, in New York City for a visit, joined BAYAN USA marchers and urged for more support for Occupy Wall St. from the Filipino community.

“Poverty in the Philippines is brought about by trans-national corporations and American control of our economy and political lives, so these protests of the American people to stop these policies should have the support of other countries like the Philippines,” Colmenares told a reporter before marching.

Protest actions in support of Occupy Wall St. have also unfolded in other US cities including Boston, Washington DC, Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

“Occupy Wall St. has grown into a worldwide movement for economic justice and equality,” stated Gary Labao of BAYAN USA. “As immigrants from poor countries, like the Philippines, we understand the desperation wrought by poverty and joblessness. That and the growing social unrest here in the US because of rising unemployement, foreclosures, and budget cuts are all tied to the same root cause– the hoarding of the world’s wealth by a very small financial oligarchy of banks and firms– represented here in Wall St.– whose interests are put above the needs of the 99% by governments put in power by the 99%.

BAYAN USA and marchers from the International Action Center (IAC), each also carried the yellow flag of the International League of Peoples Struggle (ILPS), a global formation of peoples organizations around the world, of which BAYAN USA and the IAC are members of. ###