Night of Kulturang Makabayan: Food, Land and Justice!

Night of Kulturang Makabayan, or the People’s Culture, is an annual event hosted by Anakbayan Chicago. This event takes place in June around the date of the Philippine Independence Day, to share the violence and oppression our community faces, to recognize that the Philippines is not a truly sovereign nation, and to uplift the resistance movements towards national liberation and democracy. It is a space for song, dance, poetry, art, and more to raise up the stories and struggles of the people of the Philippines and around the world.

This year, we focused on the struggle of the Lumad people, the Indigenous peoples of Mindanao. In continuation of the Lakbay Lumad (the journey of the Lumad) and their recent visit to the United States coordinated by the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, we worked to expose and oppose policies that criminalize human rights activists, militarize Indigenous communities and schools, and force the Lumad off their ancestral lands. We titled our event Food, Land, Justice! in solidarity with their call for their basic human rights. This event was also an opportunity to fundraise for two Anakbayan Chicago members, Lorena and Love, to attend the International Conference for People’s Rights in the Philippines and to integrate with the Lumad and see their struggles firsthand.

Performers shared works on homeland, justice, farmers’ rights, evacuation, violence against the LGBTQIA community, police brutality, and more. Elgin Bokari, of Elephant Rebellion, shared two pieces with us, expressing solidarity with the Lumad peoples, connecting their struggle to the movement for Black lives in the United States, and calling for justice. The crowd was moved by these pieces, and many members of the audience approached us to share how they could connect the violence Lumad experience to their own lives. Due to the dedicated work of everyone who made that night happen--Elephant Rebellion, the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, and the Fellowship for Filipino Migrants to name a few--as well as the engaged and passionate audience members, we were able to continue the campaigns to protect Indigenous life, protect ancestral lands, and end U.S. intervention in the Philippines. Makibaka, huwag matakot! Dare to struggle, dare to win!

Anak Bayan Chicago