History of Filipino Youth Alliance Building

There has been a long history and tradition of Filipino youth organizing themselves to respond to the call of the times. In 2008, Filipino youth and students across the country formed Sandiwa to learn about their roots and advocate for the needs of the Filipino community. Sandiwa organized annual student exchange programs in the Philippines and national conferences in the U.S. Sandiwa contributed to the building of the Filipino immigrant rights movement in the U.S. as attacks on immigrants heightened after 9/11.  They were also at the forefront of relief response when Typhoon Ondoy devastated Manila in 2009.

In January 2014, Filipino youth and student organizations came together to formalize Kapit Bisig Kabataan Network in response to Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the Philippines on November 8, 2013. It started as a national relief network that raised funds and awareness to support typhoon-affected communities in the Philippines as well as advocate for long term solutions to improve disaster preparedness. After the success of its first relief and rebuild mission in the summer of 2014, KBKN expanded its purpose to advocate for environmental justice and human rights, recognizing that the two are intertwined.

In January 2016, Kapit Bisig Kabataan Network with National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) and Anakbayan-USA organized a national Filipino youth conference called Kabataan Magkaisa (Youth Unite) with the theme Strengthen the Unity of Filipino Youth to Build a Brighter Future. It aimed to bring together Filipino youth across the U.S. to learn about the various issues affecting Filipinos and how Filipino youth can stand united to advocate for changes that improve our communities.

We are now in a time of social and political crisis. Black communities are subjected to state violence. First nations people of Standing Rock have been forcibly displaced from their ancestral lands. Immigrants and refugees are in constant threat of ICE raids and deportations. Military spending is prioritized over our education.  Women and LGBTQ communities are met with violence and their basic human rights are violated.

Filipinos are not exempt from these attacks. From the threat of detention and deportation to the lack of access to education, healthcare, and social services, the Filipino community are deeply familiar with these violations of basic rights. Now more than ever is the time for Filipino youth and students all over the U.S. to educate, unite, and act!

In recognition of the history of youth organizing, building upon the success of the Kabataan Magkaisa conference, and responding to the social and political climate, KBKN affirms the need to broaden its purpose to serve the needs of the larger Filipino community from the U.S. to the Philippines by building a national youth and student alliance.

We will hold a conference from September 30 to October 1 and formally launch Kabataan Alliance. At the conference, organizational documents will be formalized, and Kabataan Alliance’s first National Executive Board will be elected.