Velez: Why Fil-Ams are joining the anti-Trump resistance


DONALD Trump wasn't the only one in the news during the inaugural. Three million people of the United States were also in the news.

These three million joined the anti-Trump Women's March all over America, representing voices of whites, blacks, Latinos, LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer), other cultural minorities and even Fil-Ams (Filipino-Americans).

My friend Jade Palma Gil, a Davawenyo now based in New York working with Damayan Migrant Workers Association, was also in the news.

Interviewed by an online news, Jade joined other Fil-Ams in the march to express their worries of immigrant workers, including the undocumented Filipino immigrants.

Jade said in the interview that undocumented Fil-Ams his group have been helping are very worried with Trump's statements during and after the campaign that illegal migrants will be sent back to their home countries.

Aside from his strong statement on immigrants, Trump also branded Filipinos as “terrorists” and “animals” with the presence of “Muslim terrorists” during the campaign.

Such statement angered Fil-Ams, who number 3.5 million all across United States of America, with nearly half of 1.5 million people in California.

A placard in the Chicago rally from the Fil-Am youth group Anak Bayan takes a shot at Trump. “We are not terrorists or animals. We are nurses and caregivers.”

Many of the Fil-Ams work in the health care sector, one of the sectors that will be affected with Trump's decision to remove Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act that will remove health services for around 18 million Americans.

Anak Bayan is also concerned over Trump's pick for education secretary as someone who favors cutting down state budget for schools.

The protests were dubbed as “Women's March.” Some media even called it a “pro-Hillary rally.” But the rallies were not about Hillary, or about sexism, which is one of the biggest issue against Trump who teased to “grab (women) by the pussy.”

“It is about wage, economic discrimination of women and people of color, jobs and rights,” says Omar Bantayan, a labor activist from Davao now working with unions in California.

The rally is about everything Trump is crushing, the American beliefs in freedom and opportunity. In his inaugural, Trump promised to bring back jobs and industries to America and building a wall from drugs, terror and immigrants. That means isolation and protectionism of the elite American corporations. At worse Trump rears racism, discrimination, and even a global war to the rest of the world.

Bantayan said Trump is the “worst iteration of the ruling class representative, which was able to divide the working class through racial, gender and sectoral divides and maximized it to the hilt.”

But it is not all fear that the people in America are feeling. The rallies against Trump, Bantayan said, were “electric.” Looking at news feeds online, the protests in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Washington DC and in other places like Raleigh, North Carolina, is indeed charged with a positive air of resistance, diversity and affirmation of women, mothers, migrants, workers, youth, PWDs (persons with disabilities) and LGBT.

Activist Eve Ensler said in her piece that Trump is the unifier. Indeed, Trump has awakened the people in the US to come together fight for their rights and for freedoms. Let us watch and join them as the energy unfurls.

tyvelez@gmail.com
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