BY THE KALAYAAN CENTRE ORGANIZATIONS
Posted by Bulatlat
Vol. VIII, No. 12, April 27-May 3, 2008
The Filipino community is once again in the midst of mourning the loss of another young member of our community: Charle Dalde, the 24-year old young worker and student who was stabbed near his home and later died in Richmond General Hospital on Monday night, April 14, 2008. We, member organizations of the Kalayaan Centre, send our condolences to the Dalde family and the Filipino community deeply affected by this tragedy.
Dalde arrived in Canada at the age of 17, in 2000 from the Philippines after being sponsored by his mother, Harlyn Dalde, who worked in Hong Kong before coming to Canada in 1997. Like many women in our community, she came on a working visa under Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s (CIC) Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP), and was separated from her family for many years.
Dalde, who was described by friends and family members as a hard-working, responsible young man, worked part-time in low-paying jobs while attending college upgrading his English in the hope of going to school to become a Licensed Practical Nurse.
Despite media reports that the killing was not gang-related, and that Dalde was not known to the police, the Dalde family believes they were unfairly treated by the Richmond Police. After receiving a call from the Richmond Hospital that their son was in critical condition, Harlyn and Cesar Dalde left their apartment with their younger son, Cehar, when they where confronted by the police in the hallway of their apartment building. Without showing any warrant or giving any explanation, the police drew their weapons, and handcuffed the family. While the family was left handcuffed and lying on the floor on the apartment hallway, the police searched the apartment and simply told the family to “follow orders.”
The mother, who has a shoulder injury requested if the police could handcuff her in front instead of at the back as the shoulder was hurting, but the policemen refused, and instead guarded them as other policemen went inside to search the house. After about 15 minutes, the police let them go, and they drove to the hospital where they were told their son, Charle, was already dead. They were refused by the hospital personnel and an RCMP officer to view Charlie’s body, or even to look from a distance, which the mother pleaded would be enough.
The disgusting abuse of authority from the police and harassment of the Dalde family is just another example of the systemic racism faced by the Filipino community in Canada. Instead of being treated as victims, the Dalde family was treated like criminals by the police.
The experience of the Dalde family is an example of the many instances when our community was victimized by the systemic racism in Canadian institutions, including the justice system. Many Filipinos are being easily targeted, and are victims of racial profiling and harassment. We are unjustly labeled and treated as “criminals.” There is a lack of understanding in Canadian institutions such as the Richmond Police Department of the systemic issues including their racist acts.
Dalde did not reach his full potential to participate in Canadian society. His untimely death reminds us of the common experience of our many immigrant young workers and students whose everyday lives are faced with violence, racism, and uncertainty about their future. Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada / the Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance (UKPC/FCYA) has documented many Filipino youth experiences of harassment and violence in the school system, workplaces, and public places.
We remember that in 1998, a group of Filipino youth was harassed by Caucasian youth in Squamish during a camping trip. Although the Filipino community asserted that it was a racist attack, the media dismissed this as a mere incident of “youth boredom.”
We remember that in 1999, 25 Filipino youths were harassed and threatened at the Vancouver Technical Secondary School, and instead of recognizing the need of these Filipino youth for their safety, the response and solution of the Vancouver School Board (VSB) was to transfer these Filipino youths to different schools, neglecting the root causes of the violence unresolved. Until today, the Filipino community still questions, “Why is it that only the Filipino youths were transferred?” and “Why did these Filipino youth, majority of whom are children of former live-in caregivers, eventually dropped-out of high school?”
We remember that in 2003, a 17-year old newly arrived Filipino youth, Jomar Lanot, was brutally attacked by a group of teenagers in the Charles Tupper Secondary School basketball courtyard and later died in the hospital. The tragic death of Lanot again outraged the Filipino community with regards the safety of Filipino youth in Vancouver schools because during the incident in 1999 when the community asserted the negligence of the VSB, their response was that there was “no one dead yet” although there were threats against the Filipino youth. With Lanot’s death, and up to this day, the VSB continues to refuse to look deeper into the issues affecting Filipino youth, and provide genuine support and services.
We remember that this year in January, 15-year old Deeward Ponte was stabbed in Grays Park and later died in the hospital. His death is also one of the many that have resulted from the systemic barriers affecting the Filipino youth and community. After being sponsored by his mother who came to Canada in 2001 under the LCP, Ponte was separated from his mother for five years. His mother, in an effort to provide for her family, is experiencing challenges in her workplace, facing discrimination and employment instability working part-time / casual. With the fear of an uncertain future for her family, she was forced to work two or more jobs to make ends meet. This is an example of how the lack of resources and settlement for our community has been a major factor in our worsening marginalization.
A University of British Columbia (UBC) study found Filipino youth have the second highest drop-out rate from Vancouver high schools. Many Filipino youth can be found working in McDonalds, factories, janitorial, and other low-paying service sector jobs, resulting in Filipino youth becoming Canada’s new source of cheap labour. Many newly-arrived Filipino youth also face the trauma of migration, family separation and reunification as many Filipino mothers are forced to leave their children behind as they work under the LCP for 24 months straight within three years. Many Filipino youth once reunited with their mothers are reunited as strangers due to many years of family separation. A study at UBC also found that Filipino families who come to Canada under the LCP are separated for an average of five years.
We, in the Filipino community, also notice how under-represented our community is when it comes to issues affecting us. We are easily targeted and labeled as trouble-makers, gang members, or savages. Many Filipino youth and community members are misrepresented, criminalized and victimized in the justice system. UKPC/FCYA has also documented Filipino youth and community members’ experience of the harassment and human rights violations from the justice system, such as police brutality.
We, as members of the Filipino community, alongside with our compatriots and allies stand united to continue to struggle for genuine social justice for our community. We will remain vigilant of the violations against our rights as a community and will continue to fight for the genuine development and justice of the Filipino community here in Canada. Posted by (Bulatlat.com)
Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada / the Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance – BC (UKPC/FCYA-BC), SIKLAB Overseas Filipino Migrant Workers Organization, Philippine Women Centre BC, BC Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (BCCHRP), Filipino Nurses Support Group, Sinag Bayan Cultural Arts Collective