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