About a thousand people marched together in the Walk for Respect event held on Sunday, May 25, 2014 in Lakemba. The Walk was initiated by the Member for Watson, Tony Burke to lead the community in expressing objection to the proposed amendments to the Racial Discrimination 1975. He was joined by other Labor Members of Parliament, local government officials and leaders and members of the multicultural communities.
I was with several members of the Filipino-Australian community who were there to join in sending the strong message to the government that we want to keep section 18c of RDA75. We believe that without the protection provided by 18c, it would be “legal” for somebody to humiliate or offend people on the basis of race, nationality, religion, sexuality, etc on the defense of ‘free speech’.
It was great to see the strong presence of the Alliance of Philippine Community Organisations [APCO] led by its President Ruben Amores and Founding President Cen Amores; as well as Migrante NSW and other kababayans.
The Walk started at the corner of Gillies Street and Haldon Street, after a ‘welcome and smoking ceremony’ performed by Aboriginal elders. There was loud beating of drums and chants of “no to bigotry” and “no to racism” as the march progressed peacefully and in an orderly manner through the streets and finished up at Parry Park.
At the conclusion of the Walk, there was BBQ and a short program. I was very proud of the Filipino group VIP Sydney Dancerz [VSD] which performed in the program. VSD is comprised of Victor Valdez [Chief Choreographer], Melanie Mendoza, Ricky Mendoza, Emmy Milan, Malou Bautista, Roman Faner, Lyn Fernandez and Baby Kemkemian. They performed the folk dance “Sakuting”.
In our little way, we were part of Australian history in trying to influence the government to discard its move which could destroy harmony and peace in our community. We will not stop until the government heed our call.