Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Photos from Ugat: The Fundraiser

Please read press release below.


Filipino Youth showcase powerful performances at fundraiser for upcoming UGAT Conference

Kabataang Montreal
Philippine Women's Centre of Quebec
Press Release

Filipino Youth showcase powerful performances at fundraiser for upcoming UGAT Conference

May 12, 2009

Montreal, QC, Canada - Saturday, May 9th, 2009 marked the Kapit Bisig Center’s UGAT: The Fundraiser, a night of spoken word and acoustic performances by prominent members of the Montreal community which took place at MUCS, a co-op space in the NDG/CDN area. The objective of the fundraiser was to raise awareness of the upcoming conference, UGAT: Sharing our Pinoyville Stories, Understanding our Roots. The event was well received, with over 70 audience members being treated to a bevy of performances by Filipino artists such as Julie Nieto, Neil Castro, Josie Caro and Jillian Sudayan of the Sinag Bayan Cultural Collective, former Philippine Idol winner Cherylyn Toca, and local Filipino artist Yuri Billiones.

“It was a great show”, says Jillian Sudayan, a performer in Saturday’s event, “I felt a strong connection with my songs, and most importantly, with the crowd. I could see that these issues are relevant to the community, and to express them through art was inspiring.”

The night also featured spoken word performances by hip hop artist Angelica Le Minh, Zibz of the Kalumunity Vibe Collective, comedian George Hamilton Braithwaite, and musicians Raa and long time supporter and musician, Jesse Guttman. All these contributions were in solidarity with the efforts of the Kapit Bisig Center.

Audience members reflected on the themes of the event, which touched on the predominant issues facing the Filipino community in Montreal. Issues such as family separation, discrimination and racism were at the heart of many performances. “I’m glad I came to this event. There was a good diversity of performances that kept me entertained and inspired”, said Aaron Santos, a Filipino youth and member of Kabatanng Montreal. “The songs and poems were particularly powerful – to hear the issues facing the Filipino community in this way has encouraged me to learn more. I’m definitely going to the conference.”

Organizers were also pleased with the turnout, with 70 members of the Filipino community and supporters filling the MUCS venue. “This event was a testament not just to the talent of our Filipino youth, but to their strength in the belief that we can make a difference in this society”, says Josie Caro of PWC-Quebec “I'm looking forward to bringing more of that energy to the conference at the end of May when we will be tackling our community issues through discussion groups and workshops to really bring out the voices of all of our youth”. While the regional conference will predominately be attended by Montreal youth, participants from other parts of Canada and the United States are expected to attend.

One of the main issues that the conference would like to address is the growing marginalization of Filipino youth in Canada -- a social issue rooted in Canada’s Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP). Since its inception in 1992, the LCP has brought close to 100,000 Filipino women to Canada to care for children, older adults and people with disabilities. In this context, LCP workers encounter poor working conditions and improper compensation -- which often places workers vulnerable to psychological, physical and financial abuse. Long-term implications of the program can be found in the negative impact toward families-- where LCP workers are reunited with children after an average of five years of separation. Changing family dynamics and integration into a new society are among the challenges that face Filipino Youth.

UGAT: Sharing our Pinoyville Stories, Understanding our Roots is a conference meant to gather Filipino youth to share their stories of migration, develop their understanding of the situation of the Filipino community in Montreal, and engage in policy initiatives to empower Filipino youth. Participants will be encouraged to bring their ideas to the workshops and panel discussions as a means of contributing to the development of the Filipino community in Montreal. The conference will take place May 22-24, at the Amphitheatre of the Institute of Community and Family Psychiatry (ICFP) at 4333 Cote-Ste-Catherine.


For more information on the conference or to volunteer, email or call:

Josie Caro at 514-962-9615
Julie Nieto at 514-659-5857
Neil Castro at 514-690-6345