On Friday night, The People Power Tour made a stop in Sacramento as part of itsnationwide hip-hop benefit.
Members from Students Organizing for Change, Muslim Student Association, MeCHA and Acción Zapatista Davis co-sponsored the show. This year, Students Organizing for Change is focusing on raising awareness for the Killer Coke campaign, an effort to stop purchasing Coca-Cola products, and D-Q University. Friday’s concert aimed to direct attention to two issues: D-Q and Filipino rights.
“We’re raising awareness and money for Bayan USA, an organization that works with Filipino immigrants and helps build ties with Filipinos and Americans,” said Max Hayashi, UC Davis fifth-year senior sociology and Spanish double major.
In reference to D-Q’s loss of accreditation Hayashi said, “The students are the only things keeping the school alive.”
The concert was planned to be held at California State University, Sacramento, but had to be moved to the Silver Ballroom in Central Plaza in downtown Sacramento three days before the show.
According to Students Organizing for Change member Gilden Posada, Sac State did not uphold the contract and then backed out.
Students Organizing for Change had the venue at Sac State’s ballroom reserved for 1,400 people on Wednesday until Sac State cancelled.
“First, they said we needed security and an insurance policy three days before,” said Students Organizing for Change member and junior anthropology major Molly Reagh. “They said we had illegal publicity and that we never got a sound permit.”
Some of the proceeds were originally meant to be donated to D-Q University, but between the change of venue and audience turnout, the members were not compensated for their own costs.
Although 1,400 people were expected to come to the show atSac State, the emcees performed to an intimate and welcoming setting of about 60 people at the Central Plaza venue.
The concert kicked off with Bentley and Wyzdom from Verbal Venom, artists from Hip Hop Congress, a nonprofit organization that promotes hip-hop culture on campuses or communities for different causes.
The Cuf from Sacramento followed, and then Mark Jaquez, a resident elder from D-Q, made a speech.
“What we allow to go amok in the world will come back to us,” he said. “[Indigenous people] lived here in paradise. It was taken. They gave us diseases – alcohol, diabetes, chemical warfare – it’s killing us. It exists today. It’s getting worse. We live on a reservation and we are under siege right now.”
In reference to the Mar.31 arrests at D-Q, Jaquez said, “At 4:30 a.m. [the sheriff] dragged us out of our rooms at gunpoint and arrested elders, mothers with their babies. We were in the middle of a ceremony and classes. They were kicking our doors down. They didn’t show us one piece of paper.”
Yolo County District Attorney’s Office has since dropped criminal charges for the 18 individuals arrested for alleged trespassing.
Lupita Torres from San Jose is a D-Q student who also spoke at the event.
“It’s not just D-Q. It’s all over the world. Indigenous people are being attacked,” she said. “Everything is being capitalized-our bodies, our minds and our spirits. Indigenous people are the ones who suffer first because they live off the land. But there are solutions. D-Q is a solution. We want to be an international peace center. In some ways this is all happening for a reason. Sometimes you can find that positive side of things. You can find that in healing.”
Emcees Manifest One and Caprice performed next, before the headlining artists Kiwi and Geologic went onstage.
Filipino American emcees Kiwi from San Francisco, formerly of Native Guns, and Geo, a.k.a. Prometheus Brown of Seattle’s Blue Scholars, were inspired by the 1986 People Power Revolution that brought down controversial president Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda Marcos. The People Power Revolution was a four-day series of demonstrations in the Philippines.
The tour aims to spread awareness and initiate change for human rights and the Filipino government. Proceeds from the tour will go to Bayan USA, an alliance of Filipino American groups promoting for social and political change in the Philippines.
The current state of the Philippines includes deteriorating political and economic circumstances and U.S. military presence. Terrorism is a major issue, including groups such as the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Jema’ah Islamiyah. On Jan. 3, a bomb at a Cotabato City disco pub killed one and injured eight,and the deaths at the Sulu Massacre on Feb. 4 are the most recent violence.
OnFeb. 13, the United States Department of State issued a travel warning to caution Americans of the risks and safety concerns of traveling to the Philippines, especially the southern island of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago.
Twenty-four-year-old Manifest One from Los Angeles began his career in high school when he began listening to socially conscious hip-hop.
“Everything I write about is something I value – politics, friends,” he said. “The cause is one of the things that really motivated me to come out tonight.”
The next stop on The People Power Tour will be at 9 p.m. on Wednesday at the La PeñaCultural Center located at 3105 ShattuckAve.in Berkeley. Tickets are $15 and all ages are welcome. Kasamas & Nomi of Power Struggle will also be performing. For more information visit lapena.org.
There will be a Mother’s Day Ceremonial Gathering and community potluck on Saturday at D-Q University on County Road 31 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. All are welcome.
POOJA KUMAR can be reached at email@example.com.