New York City Council Declares Bayanihan Day

by Noel Pangilinan

NEW YORK CITY (June 30)  – The New York City Council has issued a proclamation declaring June 21 this year and every third Sunday of June thereafter as Bayanihan Day.

The proclamation was presented to the Filipino community by City Council Member John Liu at the Bayanihan Cultural Festival held at the Hart Playground in Woodside, NY, on June 21.

Thousands of Filipinos and Filipino Americans attended the whole-day festival, the first ever celebration of Philippine Independence Day held in the heart of the Filipino community in Queens. Among the five boroughs of New York City, Queens has the largest Filipino population.

In the proclamation, the City Council commended the festival organizers, the Philippine Forum and the Bayanihan Filipino Community Center, for their efforts “to foster community spirit within the Filipino American community and to forge solidarity with the larger immigrant community.”

“This year’s theme for the first annual Bayanihan Cultural Festival, ‘Building community. Celebrating diversity. Forging solidarity’, best captures not only the aspirations of the Filipino community, but also the hopes and dreams of the Council for the city as well,” the City Council also said in the proclamation.

The organizers said they are honored by the City Council’s gesture. “This is a recognition of the  Filipino community’s contribution to New York City’s economic growth and cultural diversity,” said Julia Camagong, co-executive director of the Philippine Forum.

At the Bayanihan Festival, a day-long program of performances celebrating the Philippine culture and history kept the audience enthralled. Among the performers were BIBAK (acronym for the five provinces in the Cordillera region in Northern Luzon), Kinding Sindaw, Blue Sholars, Kadena, John Flor, Paaralang Pilipino, Pinoys of Hunter (POH), Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FIRE, Kabalikat Domestic Support Network, 3421 Band, Young Educators for Health and Empowerment of the Youth (YEHEY), Anakbayan New York/ New Jersey, Stonybrook University PUSO, Taospuso, Andrelie Suarez, Paul Riego, etc.

There were also a lot of people, even non-Filipinos, who availed of the free health screening and free immigration consultations offered by the festival. “Bayanihan Day is not only a day for celebration. It is also a day for service,” said Camagong of the Philippine Forum.

The Philippine Forum is a not-for-profit organization that provides training, education and advocacy to people of Filipino heritage. It aims to make Filipinos in the United States aware of their roots, rights and responsibilities.

The Bayanihan Filipino Community Center is an alliance of several Filipino American organizations. Among its members are the Kabalikat Domestic Support Network, the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), the Young Educators for Health and Empowerment of the Youth (Project YEHEY), and Anakbayan NY/NJ.

The festival was sponsored by Jollibee, Census 2010, Filipino Times, Western Union, RCN and Manila Gorilla.

For more information on how to participate in next year’s Bayanihan Day, contact the organizers at 718- 565-8862 and look for Julia or Cling. You could also send an email at Bayanihan.festival@gmail.com or visit the Bayanihan Filipino Community Center at 40-21 69th Street, Woodside, New York City

 

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