Monday, November 23, 2009

Filipino Youth in Montreal Put Pinoyville on the Map!‏

Press Release - November 23, 2009
Kabataang Montreal

Montreal, Quebec – With less than a month away, preparations are well underway to launch the first “Roots, Rhymes, and Resistance" in Montreal. Using the theme of “Pinoyville” (a colloquial term used by members of the Filipino community), this show is meant to be an empowering medium for the Filipino-Canadian youth to create a community identity and to celebrate their forms of resistance through different forms of expression of spoken word, music and art. This historic event will be held at L'Auberge on 3480 Queen Mary Rd. in Pinoyville (Cote-des-Neiges), on Saturday, December 12, 2009. Performers include local Filipino talents like Sinag Bayan Quebec Cultural Arts Collective and more!

Roots, Rhymes and Resistance (RRR) was first introduced through sister organization Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino Sa Canada/The Canadian Filipino-Canadian Youth Alliance BC (UKPC-BC) in 1999. “Roots Rhymes and Resistance has become one of the only annual programs that not only gives an outlet for youth to voice their concerns and issues, but is action towards our community’s settlement and integration in Canada”, says Charlene Sayo creator of RRR. While RRR raises awareness among the community it has become a tool for empowerment by providing new experiences, skills building and opportunities for Filipino youth to further explore their potential as contributing and participating members in our community and Canadian society.

“I’m very excited to see RRR develop in Montreal” said Neil Castro, secretary general for Kabataang Montreal, “It is a chance for KM to work with the youth, as they express themselves, and resist against barriers to integration”. Forming in 2000 as a Filipino youth organization based in Cote-des-Neiges, KM has organized Filipino youth to address the pressing issues facing the community. Issues such as settlement & integration, systemic racism & economic marginalization, family separation, high drop out rates, barriers to education & employment, gender oppression are among the issues that KM tries to address and educate to the Filipino community in Montreal. For instance, the very first production of Sinag Bayan (under the KBC) was the theatre production of “Pinoyville”, a play showcased in Toronto and Montreal. The play highlighted the reasons why Filipinos migrate abroad, and the subsequent difficulties they face in integrating within the Montreal diaspora. Drawing on this theme, “Roots Rhymes & Resistance: Pinoyville” connects the arts with education and awareness. This medium is instrumental in connecting our personal narratives to the community, and is an alternative to developing a deeper/political understanding of the marginalization and social barriers we face.
The objective of Roots, Rhymes, Resistance: Pinoyville is to raise the awareness of the community’s issues through arts and culture while mobilizing the entire community and connecting to their personal experiences. Such initiatives give space for youth members to rise up and take ownership of their conditions and lived experiences – since they are ultimately the ones who will advocate for the betterment of our community. This is an ongoing initiative to strengthen our national work, to give our community a stronger voice. Next year, UKPC-BC, UKPC-Ontario and KM will be collaborating to bring artists and youth from all over the country to showcase their talents, and to speak out on the relevant issues pertaining to the Filipino population on a national level.


For tickets or more information please contact Jillian (514) 941-9267 or Tracy (514) 995-3544.

-- Kabataang MontrealMember Organization of Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada/Filipino Canadian Youth AllianceE-mail: kabataangmontreal@gmail.comTel: (514) 678-3901

Monday, September 28, 2009

Kabataang Montreal and Filipino community to root out the causes of conflict and violence

September 27, 2009

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - On Wednesday, September 23, 2009, Kabataang Montreal (Filipino youth in Montreal), a local Filipino youth group based in Côte-des-Neiges, held a successful press conference to expose the recent series of street violence between Filipino and alleged members of South Asian youth taking place within the streets of the borough.

"We need to identify the root causes of this conflict. The recent series of street violence is not a new thing for the Filipino community in Côte-des-Neiges,” said Neil Castro, Secretary General of KM, during the press conference. “Going after the individuals involved will not end the problem of street violence in our neighborhood. Rather, we need to examine why these events reoccur. Ultimately, this means looking at the barriers we face on a systemic level”. In addition, Castro recounted statements given by Filipino youth who were involved with this latest spate of fighting. He also stated that the municipal level of government is not doing enough to address this issue.

“As young people, we are very concerned about this violence; we cannot be stigmatized as troublemakers,” said Jillian Sudayan, a member of KM. “Our youth hold a very important role in our community's development and future. The South Asian community also faces similar issues as an immigrant community. We believe it is time for us to take leadership together, as youth, to ensure our communities' genuine settlement and integration in Quebec and Canadian society."

As the largest incoming immigrant group in Côte-des-Neiges, Kabataang Montreal sees the urgency to bring these issues to the community forefront. “This is the time for us to take action! The Filipino community must come together and look at how we can resolve the root causes of these problems”, said KM member Tracy Alarcon, after hearing the details of the youth incident at the press conference.

The press conference is only one step in Kabataang Montreal’s action plan to put an end to the violence affecting the community of Côte-des-Neiges. During the next few weeks, they will carry out several anti-racism activities to mobilize the community, including a community forum where youth members can share their experiences and concerns. To support or find out more information on these events, please contact Neil Castro at (514) 690-6345.


Kabataang Montreal
Member Organization of Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada/Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance

Tel: (514) 678-3901

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Filipino Youth Urgently Call to Stop Street Violence in Côte-des-Neiges‏

Media Release
22 September 2009
Kabataang Montreal

Over the past three weeks, incidents of street violence involving Filipino adolescents, and alleged members of the South Asian community have increased in the Côte-des-Neiges area. According to reports received by Kabataang Montreal (Filipino youth of Montreal), several Filipino youth have been involved in fights and were hospitalized as a result. In response to the rise in violence, Kabataang Montreal will be holding a press conference on Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at 4900 Fulton at 10h00 to call for an end to this pressing and urgent matter.

“We are deeply concerned with how frequent and severe these cases have become", says Neil Castro, Secretary-General of KM, "We will not allow this situation to escalate to the point where more people get hurt. We need to talk about this issue immediately”. The Filipino youth hope to join forces with leaders of the South Asian community to address the issues of systemic racism facing the youth of both communities.

With the growing influx of immigrant communities, Côte-des-Neiges has become a densely populated area in Montreal where many citizens experience economic marginalization. For instance, Filipinos represent the largest ethnic group in the area, but despite their very visible presence in the community, they continually face barriers to their successful settlement and integration. Filipinos in Côte-des-Neiges represent one of the most educated and skilled groups in Canada, yet they face low wages and poor working conditions. Their children experience difficulties in accessing education in Montreal, and as a result, have one of the highest dropout rates (among Filipino males) in high school in the country. These experiences are exacerbated by systemic racism and a severe lack of understanding among institutions and government officials about the realities that face Filipinos and other youth of colour.

Despite its growing population of the Filipino community, the city has provided few resources or infrastructure particularly for its youth sector. As a result, youth members are sharing overcrowded parks, where tensions are bound to build. "There's a clear link between marginalized youth members living in a ghettoized, populated area and youth violence. This speaks to a lack of support for the youth" says Roderick Carreon, chairperson of SIKLAB-Quebec and founder of Kabataang Montreal.

While the recent events in Côte-des-Neiges raise serious concerns, it is important to note that these altercations have consistently affected marginalized youth across Canada. Cases like those of Jeffrey Reodica, Deeward Ponte and Mao Jomar Lanot are just some examples of violence that led to the death of these Filipino youth. Given these events, the following question arises: Why does the Filipino community, or members of the immigrant community at large, continue to struggle through these issues of violence? To blame individual youth members is an oversimplified answer, and one that does not address the wide scale barriers and issues affecting marginalized youth. If these cases are generating so many similarities and are manifesting themselves across the country, there is an urgent need examine the factors that divides the community, and pits one group against another.

For more information, please see the press conference details below.Press conference information:

Date: September 23rd, 2009
Time: 10h00
Where: 4900 Fulton
Contact: Neil Castro at 514-690-6345


Kabataang MontrealMember Organization of Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada/Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance

Tel: (514) 690-6345
Tel: (514) 678-3901

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Campaign Concert for Change Unites Supporters for a Night of Local Youth Talent‏

For immediate release
9 August 2009

(Montreal, Quebec) On August 8th 2009, the night before the Filipino Association of Montreal and Suburbs (FAMAS) elections, many gathered at the Chalet Kent in support of Filipino youth issues by endorsing candidate Neil Castro. As a Board Member of the Kapit Bisig Centre, Castro has been a long-time youth organizer with Kabataang Montreal, a Filipino youth organization.

"Since 2004, I have been advocating for Filipino youth rights. Now, I want to bring these concerns to the forefront of the Filipino community by running with Lingkod Bayan's presidential candidate Mel Domingo," Castro stated during last night's campaign concert. These local young artists were in support of raising the engagement level of Filipino youth within the Montreal community.

The lineup really highlighted the diversity of talent among Filipino youth: there were singers like Jennifer Flores and Cherylyn Toca; a Filipina cellist , Christina Gavino; hip hop artists like JP a.k.a. Seeko, Jaycee Pimentel, DJ Panda Zal. There was a spoken word/song performed by Jillian Sudayan and Julie Nieto, both members of Kabataang Montreal. Sinag Bayan Cultural Collective performed a drum instrumental and a song led by Jillian.

Even Indonesian rock group Orchid Blooms came out in strong support of the youth movement. Finally, Neil Castro closed out the show with a motivating rendition of After Image's ‘Next in Line’.

“It was an inspirational event,” said Krystle Doromal, who was one of the MC’s of the event. “So many gathered to show their support. Most of the performers have known Neil [Castro] for years as an active member of KM and they all recognize strong need for us youth to step forward and take charge of our own futures in the community. I think that it’s great that we’re able to be a part of this and I hope that this movement for change continues.”

FAMAS, the oldest community centre in Montreal, elections are held bi-annually to elect its President and Board of Directors. The results of the election will be announced tomorrow.

Kabataang Montreal
Member Organization of Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada/Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance

Tel: (514) 678-3901

Monday, August 03, 2009

Kabataang Montreal's FAMAS Election Platform 2009

KABATAANG MONTREAL has been organizing for change in our community since 2000, with Neil Castro as the current Secretary-General. He has been a member of KM since 2004.

We will continue to raise awareness of the rich history, work and contribution of the Filipino youth in our community.

We will continue to work with other, often overlooked, sectors of the Filipino community, namely students, women, workers and temporary workers, professionals and seniors.

We will continue to address the pressing issues affecting our youth such as the high drop out rates amongst our youth, racism and discrimination and economic marginalization.

We will continue to work to unite the entire Filipino community of Montreal & suburbs towards our settlement and integration and full entitlement in Canadian society.

VOTING Neil Castro for FAMAS director, IS supporting the work of an organization which has been educating, organizing and mobilizing the Filipino community for almost a decade.

Neil Castro is a member of Team Lingkod Bayan with Mel Domingo as presidential candidate.

KAPITBISIG - MAGKAISA para sa Kabataang Montreal!

Monday, July 27, 2009

FAMAS Elections

"High school drop out an issue concerning the entire Filipino community," says FAMAS candidate Neil Castro.

For immediate release, July 27, 2009

Montreal - When Neil Castro first met Kabataang Montreal in 2004, he was unaware of the everyday realities facing Filipino youth. "I met a group of young Filipinos who had dropped out of school, had joined gangs and had experienced teenage pregnancy and drug problems." However, he was quickly inspired and impressed to hear of the resilience and impact the youth were having as they became more aware of the root of their problems. "These youth were turning their lives around, talking about their problems and figuring out solutions to empowering the Filipino community. It wasn't long before I decided that I wanted to be involved in this kind of organizing, in a major way."

And he certainly has. As Secretary-General of Kabataang Montreal, Castro leads a team of 12 core members and hundreds of youth who identify with the group. Using workshops to understand their Philippine history, Kabataang Montreal actively explores their migration to Canada and analyzes issues such as racism, family separation and high school drop out.

Now running for a director position at the Filipino Association of Montreal and Suburbs (FAMAS), Neil hopes to bring the work of KM to a wider Filipino audience. Along with Mel Domingo, and his team of Lingkod Bayan, Castro hopes to unite the Filipino community through a mutual understanding of our settlement and integration in Canada."

Some people think that there is a divide in our community between those who were born in the Philippines and those who were born here in Canada. But that isn't the case," says Castro. "If we study our history of migration and understand our situation here in Canada, we can see that we're all in the same boat. We need to look more closely at the immigration policies imposed on us by the Canadian government that influenced where we are in society today."

These immigration policies include the programs in the 1970's that brought Filipinos to Canada as nurses, teachers and accountants, and the Live-In Caregiver program that today brings thousands of Filipinos to Canada to work as domestic workers. Research conducted by Kabataang Montreal suggest that difficulties with family separation and reunification, along with language barriers and racism in schools, are significant challenges that influence high school drop outs among Filipino youth."

Filipinos have one of the highest drop out rates among youth of colour and this is true across Canada. In Montreal, Filipino boys between the ages of 15 and 25 have one of the highest rates of not being in school," says Castro, "Many of the youth I meet who have dropped out of school already had high school and university diplomas in the Philippines. These are youth who could be working as engineers, accountants, and nurses are in factories, earning minimum wage. This is an issue for our community because it dictates the economic future of our community. And that affects all of us, not just the ones who are newly arrived."

Members of Kabataang Montreal come from a diverse, youth-oriented background: ranging from students in high school, CEGEP and university to young professionals in various fields (education, social work, music, etc.). In May of 2009, Neil formed part of the secretariat organizing "Ugat: Sharing Our Pinoyville Stories, Understanding Our Root" a Filipino youth intercollegiate and community conference that brought together dozens of participants for 2.5 days of workshops, panel presentations and artistic performances. The conference was an important part of recording the history of Filipinos in Montreal, looking at where we are in our settlement and integration in Canada, and bringing out the voices of the most marginalized members of the Filpino community.

Running for FAMAS director, Castro will continue to bring out the voices of the most marginalized members of the Filipino community. One of his objectives is to educate the community on the everyday experiences that Filipino youth face. By lending voice to their experiences, he hopes to create a better understanding of why high school drop outs is a predominant concern within the community. "I think there's a perceived divide between our youth, and the rest of the Filipino community. I think it's time that we look beyond this so-called divide so that we understand the issues that face our entire community. It's time for the Filipino youth to take the future of their community into their own hands. We are the future of our community and the future starts today."

Elections take place on August 9, 2009, 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. at Van Horne Park. FAMAS membership fee is $5 for students and seniors, $7 for singles and $10 for a couple. Membership must be paid prior to voting. Bring photo i.d. as proof of Quebec residency.

For more information on the elections or Neil Castro's campaign, email


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pics from outreaching at Philippine (In?)dependence Day

On Sunday, June 14, members of KM joined the hundreds of other Montreal Filipinos at McKenzie King Park to celebrate Philippine Independence Day. While it remains questionable as to whether the Philippines is truly independent, these youth shared in the Filipino pride with their kababayans living overseas. Armed with brochures for the Kapit Bisig Centre, flyers for the Sigaw ng Bayan Radio Show and a press release announcing Neil Castro's run for Youth Director of FAMAS, these youth outreached to youth, the elderly, overseas workers and all members of the Filipino community on a gorgeous Sunday in June.