Press Release
June 4, 2008

Reference: Jackelyn Mariano, member of Filipina for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), email:


Madison Avenue, NYC – During last Sunday’s Philippines Independence Day Celebration (PIDC) parade, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) and other member organizations of National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) were consistently harassed by the police for unknown reasons. The NYPD persistently tried to silence and cease their political street theatre, which exposed the commercialization of the PIDC and the current rice crisis in the Philippines. The constant harassment reached its limit, when NYPD threatened to arrest, and violently seized two youth members of Kapatirang Pilipino (Kappa Pi fraternity) for just playing drums. In response, women from FiRE made it loud and clear to the NYPD that enough was enough.

“When the NYPD took our friends away for playing drums, it didn’t make any sense. This is New York City, people play drums everywhere–in the parks, in the street, in the subways! Why can’t we play drums during our celebration of independence? It was JUST MUSIC!” responded Jackelyn Mariano, member of FiRE, to this past Sunday’s incident.

Mariano and other women from FiRE, quickly responded to the possible apprehension by leading the chants with fellow bystanders, “JUST MUSIC! WHAT’S WRONG WITH THAT?!?” NYPD quickly responded as well and made a barricade of officers blocking the rally and the drummers. To support the youth who were apprehended, the FiRE women led the chants non-stop for an hour until the police released them. Although, the women’s voices were already drawn out from the chanting during the parade and the overwhelming stress with the thought they might be arrested, FiRE women stayed vigilant and didn’t stop the chanting until the youth were free.

The Kappa Pi brothers were charged with “failure to disperse” have been sentenced to a court summons, however, this is still an injustice considering that they were only playing drums.

Please join FiRE and NAFCON groups in an indignation rally of last Sunday’s events in front of the Philippine Consulate, 556 Fifth Avenue, this Friday, June 6 at 5:30 p.m.

To see the consistent harassment by the NYPD, please click on this link

For more information, contact ###


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