Watched the premiere of Delano Manongs, the Forgotten Heroes of the United Farmworkers Movement tonight at CAAM Fest and caught up with Johnny Itliong, the son of Larry Itliong. During the Q and A an audience member brought up the hystory of the unity clap and isang bagsak. Coming from UC Davis and also hearing other schools interpret the iconic clap and chant, I’ve heard different interpretations so we asked him about the hystory. Basically isang bagsak and unity clap came from the Philippines when the manongs and manangs arrived in the US since the early 1900s after the Philippines American War. From what I heard, it was used to give praise or to give kudos to someone so people would say isang bagsak and clap to praise someone. Eventually it became iconic during the 1960s Delano Grapestrike and the United Farmworkers Movement where Chican@-Latin@ farmworkers and Filipin@ farmworkers would do the unity clap and say isang bagsak which means “one more down” due to language barriers and also to signify one day down and another day to fight and resist as a united group.
On a side note, I appreciated one of the recordings of Larry Itliong in the documentary where he mentioned that he took a lot of shit when he organized with Cesar Chavez but he did it because he realized that the movement was bigger than him. It was such a great insight because sometimes we may want to push for our own agenda or have a lot of pride but we need to realize that the needs of the community are more important and we need to learn to sacrifice and swallow our own pride.
A Song For Ourselves
34 min, Digital Video, 2009
Directed & Edited by Tadashi Nakamura - tadashinakamura.com
Produced by Karen L. Ishizuka
Exec. Produced by Robert A. Nakamura
A SONG FOR OURSELVES is an intimate journey into the life and music of Asian American Movement troubadour Chris Iijima. Struggling to make sense of their father’s early death, his teenage sons learn that during the 1970s when Asians in America were still considered “Orientals,” Chris’ music and passion for social justice helped provide the voice and identity an entire generation had been in search of. Through animated photographs, intimate home movies, archival footage of Chris’ introduction to nationwide television by John Lennon and Chris’ own songs, their father’s life takes on bigger meaning than they had ever dreamed of.
The full doc, not the trailer!
a few of my good homies good homie doing amazing work
HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!!!
More photos here: 2014-03-08 Int’l Women’s Day protest vs Aquino regime
Hello! Scroll down this page and you’ll find a list of several organizations. I hope this helps! :)
10 examples of #AAPI’s rich history of resistance | from Reappropriate
In the wake of the #AsianPrivilege response hash-tag to #NotYourAsianSidekick and #BlackPowerYellowPeril, it appears as if (among other misguided ideas) there is a prevailing notion out there that, in contrast to other minorities, Asian Americans “lack a history of resistance” (or that we think we do), and that this invisibility and dearth of civil rights history actually confers upon the Asian American community a form of racial privilege.
Putting aside the second half of that assertion regarding privilege for a minute, there’s one other major problem: any argument that relies upon the assumption that Asian Americans lack a history of resistance is patently ahistorical.
Like really, really, really wrong. Like insultingly wrong.
After the jump, here are 10 examples of Asian American’s history of oppression and political resistance.
Fil-Am activists slam Twitter, SF officials for wave of low-income evictions
[Photo captions: Fil Am activists protest Twitter’s tax breaks.
Manilatown Heritage Foundation Board Member Tony Robles (right) turned down an honor from San Francisco officials to protest senior evictions.
Fil Am activist Jeremias David supported calls to reinstate taxes for Twitter. Photographer: Vivian Zalvidea Araullo]
On the same day that Twitter went public, about 200 protesters staged a rally in front of the social media giant’s corporate headquarters in downtown San Francisco to protest the increased evictions of low-income renters resulting from the new high tech boom.
The protesters, among them members of the Filipino-American nonprofit Manilatown Heritage Foundation, denounced Twitter, other tech companies and the city of San Francisco for displacing low-income, immigrant and elderly residents.
Manilatown Heritage Foundation last week declined to receive an award from San Francisco officials on the occasion of Filipino American Heritage Month to protest the wave of evictions that has hit the city.
Manilatown Heritage Foundation board member Tony Robles, who was at the protest rally, said, “Elders are being lied to, and intimidated out of their rent control apartments.”
More evictions, higher rent
Two trends are affecting low-income San Francisco residents—more evictions and higher rents.
Tenant rights advocates say real estate speculation in San Francisco is triggering the highest rate of evictions the city has seen in 12 years, partly because of the influx of highly paid tech workers.
Under the Ellis Act, landlords are allowed to evict existing tenants, in order to build group-owned tenancies-in-common flats or condos. More landlords are evicting low-income tenants, as more affluent tech workers seek to buy real estate.
A similar trend is evident in the rental market, as more high-end rental properties are built to accommodate the wealthier new residents.
“The way this affects Filipinos is you have a company here that employs people making in excess of $100,000 a year. They’re building (apartment buildings) right across Twitter (where) a one-bedroom rents for more than $3,000 a month,” explained Robles. “The (new apartment buildings) have some inclusionary low-income units, but not really enough to accommodate the regular people. What happening here is that immigrant folks and their families are having to move.”
The area where Twitter is located, the Mid-Market, also referred to as the South of Market, has been an enclave for low-income, new Filipino immigrants.
Multi-million payroll tax breaks
Twitter and other tech companies set up headquarters in Mid-Market San Francisco, attracted by payroll tax breaks meant to entice new businesses to the area. Twitter is reportedly receiving an estimated $56 million tax break.
“The city government is giving tax breaks to Twitter, and we know they’re making a lot of money,” said Jeremias David, a member of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, who attended the rally. “We also know that families in San Francisco are struggling. There’s no affordable housing. Giving tax breaks to Twitter does not represent their concern for the people.”
“The mayor and board of supervisors realized the existing tax structure taxed job creation, so to keep startups like ours in the city, they created a limited exemption for the Mid-Market zone,” a spokesperson for Twitter told the New York Times last week.
On the eve of its initial public offering, Twitter priced its shares at $26 on Wednesday night, giving it a market value of $18.1 billion. On Thursday, the same day as the protest, Twitter closed at $44.90 a share, 73 percent above its initial public offering price, reported the New York Times.
Erasing the legacy of Filipino seniors
Manilatown Heritage Foundation is known for fighting the eviction of elderly Filipino tenants of the International Hotel in 1977.
“One of the reasons we have rent control is because of what happened in Manilatown. (With the rise of evictions and gentrification) they are erasing the history, the legacy of Manilatown, of the manongs and manangs,” said Robles.
“We’re trying to honor the people who came before,” said Robles, which is also why the organization turned down an honor from District Supervisor David Chiu on Filipino American Heritage Month.
In a statement after the snub by Manilatown Heritage Foundation, Chiu’s office said: “(Chiu) agrees that protecting tenants from displacement should be a top priority, and that’s why he has worked hard to pass legislation to put a moratorium on condo conversions and to make it easier for tenants to apply for rent increase exemptions at the Rent Board. He has also introduced legislation to ensure that tenants who get evicted because of the Ellis Act do not become homeless by giving them a priority in affordable housing projects.”
Chiu’s office instead conferred the honor instead to Filipino youth leader Genevieve Jopanda, for her work to combat Hepatitis B in Chinatown.
“Filipino American History Month in October is a celebration of the contributions of individuals and organizations to the fabric of America. It is unfortunate that Manilatown, a very prominent organization in District 3, used (the celebration of Filipino American History Month) to voice their opinion on the current housing issues in San Francisco,” said Jopanda. “(But) I respect their voice and applaud their courage,” she added.
Robles said his organization plans to be involved in a tenant campaign to strengthen laws to protect rent control laws, along with a coalition called “Eviction Free San Francisco.”
Twitter was contacted for comment on the protest but has not responded as of press time.
Gidra, January 1970.
(note: The top left picture refers to S.I. Hayakawa, the president of San Francisco State College (now SFSU) from 1968-73. He opposed the Third World Liberation Front strike for Ethnic Studies, and many Asian students made it clear they did not stand with him. The strike was won in December 1968, establishing the first Ethnic Studies program in the country).
Hello! It’s great you’ll be taking an Asian Am class! I remember when I took my first Asian Am class my first year of college—it completely changed my life and encouraged me to major in Asian American Studies. Expect a lot of reading (books, articles, etc.), writing (essays, journal responses, etc.), class discussion, and hella learning. You’ll be reading about events and experiences you never had a chance to learn in previous classes. You’ll be able to apply your own history and perspectives in writing. You’ll be able to dialogue with your classmates and be engaged in pertinent issues. I guarantee you’ll learn a lot but in the end, this class will be what you make of it! Have fun, enjoy, and keep advocating for Asian American Studies!