300 Youth Leaders Converged for a New Revolution
Amidst Calls for a Revolutionary Government
On the 154th anniversary of the birth of the great revolutionary leader, Andres Bonifacio, 300 youth leaders gathered to pledge to continue his unfinished revolution. Dubbed as the Heroes Hub: Youth Empowerment Summit, the activity aims to empower the youth towards the realization of upholding, protecting and promoting human rights and dignity.
Leni Velasco, Executive Director of Active Vista shared, “Our age sees a plethora of societal and political storms that mostly hit the underprivileged sectors of our society. Too many acts of injustice are being committed by the State itself, and human rights advocates are being silenced, persecuted, and threatened. These circumstances inflict national trauma and cause discord among Filipinos. But it is also when these injustices become so rampant that it stirs the youths’ consciousness, which eventually gives them ardor to call for social transformation. Our history as a nation gave birth to heroes like Andres Bonifacio because of a social awakening from hundreds of years of oppression and injustice.”
Heroes Hub is part of the on-going Active Vista Human Rights Festival, which features human rights themed film screenings, art exhibit, theater play, workshops and a concert in time for International Human Rights Day. The Heroes Hub Youth Summit was launched on Bonifacio Day to pay tribute to the heroism of the great revolutionary, Andres Bonifacio.
“The Heroes Hub: Youth Empowerment Summit in time of Bonifacio’s birth date signifies that in times of inequality, oppression, and injustice, it is constantly the youth that steps up to be in the frontline of the battles for the rights of the people. It signifies that there is no act more patriotic than to do acts of heroism. And perhaps there is no act more heroic than giving voice for the silenced, than defending the helpless,” adds Ms. Rash Caritativo, DAKILA’s OIC Executive Director.
The summit gave the participants a journey through time through discussions and conversations about how our heroes battled with the nation’s past struggles. Participants were guided to identify the existing challenges and atrocities our nation is currently confronted with and to determine how the lessons of the past may help inspire fortitude and nobility among the youth to consequently build a nation anchored in culture of heroism.
In the speech delivered by Active Vista Executive Director Leni Velaso, she said, “This is a call for the youth to respond to the call of the times. Those who stand in the penumbra of history shall never see the light. It is time for the youth to reclaim heroism, to reclaim humanity amidst the attacks on human rights and dignity. We do not need a revolutionary government; we need a revolution in the minds and hearts of our people. This tempestuous awakening of our youth is a process of birthing towards the genuine social change we all aspire.”
The summit presented talks talks from the country’s millennial idols and online influencers. Historian Xiao Chua kicked off the discussion with Hapdi x Kirot: Pinoy POP (Pains of the Past), a look at the history of human rights struggles in our country. Pop culture icon Lourd de Veyra talked about “WASAK!” as the state of the nation. Musician and Human Rights lawyer Pochoy Labog talked about Pursuing Justice and Understanding the Rule of Law. Award-winning photojournalist Raffy Lerma showed Moving Pictures as a witness on the War on Drugs. Spoken word artist Juan Miguel Severo talked about “Words that Speak” in marrying art and advocacy. Indie musician BP Valenzuela shared about Rights and Rhythm in her talk about equality. Actress Chai Fonacier discussed about “Dealing with Diversity” and fashion designer and women’s rights advocate Mich Dulce talked about “Fashion and Passion in Advocating for Women’s Rights.”
In ending, Velasco said, “All heroes are born from great struggles. Bonifacio’s revolution remains unfinished until our nation fails to learn from the lessons of our own history and realize that genuine national development is built on the recognition and realization of freedom, human rights and human dignity. We are in the eye of a social storm. Do not let the pretense of the seeming calmness that surround us deceive us from the perils of destruction this may bring to our country. We urge the youth to resist the culture of apathy and violence perpetuated and to stand up for human rights, for humanity.”
The Active Vista Human Rights Festival will run until December 10, 2017. On December 1, it shall screen the remastered version of Batch ’81 by Mike de Leon at the UP Film Center. Screenings shall continue at the newly opened Cinema Centenario in Maginha Street, UP Village from December 2-8. The festival shall culminate with the Alab ng Puso Concert on December 9 at the Araneta Center to usher in the celebration of International Human Rights Day.
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