Groups, family, advocates commemorate Jennifer Laude’s 4th death anniversary through Call Her Ganda screening
Quezon City, Philippines – DAKILA through Active Vista and Youth Against Sexual Harassment (YASH) with UP Babaylan and Filipino Freethinkers, shall gather an audience today at Cine Adarna, UP Film Center, UP Diliman, from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm, to commemorate the tragic death of transgender Jennifer Laude through the screening of Call Her Ganda, a documentary film by PJ Raval that follows Laude’s case and her family’s pursuit for justice.
With the presence of Laude’s family and friends, LGBTQIA+ community members activists, groups such as UP Babaylan and Filipino Freethinkers, and advocates, a candle lighting shall be held before the screening in remembrance of Laude and in support to the campaign against the extreme violence and discrimination that transwomen face around the globe. A symbolic blank board will also be hung in front of the doors of the theater for the audience to show their solidarity by signing their names in calling for the immediate and final resolution of the Supreme Court for Laude’s case. A document translation of this act will be submitted to the Supreme Court.
After the screening, Atty. Virgie Suarez, Laude family lawyer; Naomi Fontanos, LGBT advocate; Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala, producer, CALL HER GANDA; and Malou Laude, Jennifer’s sister; will be present for a panel discussion.
“In these times when the members of LGBTQIA+ community still suffer from discrimination, hatred, inequality, and persecution, films like Call Her Ganda show the need for our society to be more engaged in discourses tackling LGBTQIA+ rights,” Active Vista Executive Director Leni Velasco said.
Call her Ganda follows a cast of willful women as they take on some of the most powerful institutions in the world. Fusing personal tragedy, human rights activism and the little known history, and complex aftermath, of U.S. imperial rule in the Philippines, the film forges a visually daring and profoundly humanistic geopolitical investigative exposé.
In 2014, Laude was killed in a motel room in Olongapo supposedly after the suspect 19-year old US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton found out that Laude was a transgender. Laude’s unjust and tragic death ignited the discussion of transgender rights in the Philippines and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between United States of America (USA) and the Philippines. The involvement of US Marine Pemberton pressed the Filipino people to call for the Philippine government to repeal the VFA between the US and the Philippines, a vital force that protects Pemberton from the due consequences of his actions. The VFA ensures Pemberton, and all US soldiers in the Philippines, are under US jurisdiction throughout their time outside American territory.
“[Call Her Ganda] is a protest against the extreme violence and discrimination that transwomen face around the globe. It is a tribute to the 3.4 million Filipinos living in the U.S. and diaspora.“ Raval said.
While the government has changed hats over these past years, the face of injustice robed in the culture of impunity remains the same. Pemberton, was convicted guilty in 2015 by the Olongapo Trial Court and is incarcerated while waiting for the final resolution for the case still pending in the Supreme Court of the Philippines. Though this is a major victory in the history of cases of aggression by the US in the Philippine territory, the path towards genuine national sovereignty is still miles away. Pemberton is currently being held in a US-guarded camp enjoying benefits that no ordinary Filipino prisoner would ever get.
“It has been almost three years since the Olongapo Regional Trial court gave the decision to convict and incarcerate U.S. Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton. This victory is a first in the history of human rights violations since the US military presence in the country through the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). But since then, Jennifer’s case has been pending in the Supreme Court,” Velasco related.
In the eve of Laude’s 4th death anniversary, DAKILA, Active Vista, Youth Against Sexual Harassment (YASH), UP Film Institute, along with UP Babaylan, and Filipino Freethinkers call for the just, immediate, and final resolution of the Supreme Court to finally close this dark chapter for Jennifer and the Laude family.
Velasco added, “Many drastic changes have already taken place in our government and country. Justice and accountability for the crime against Jennifer has been long overdue.”
“LGBTQIA+ rights are human rights. It should be upheld, promoted, and protected at all times,” she concluded.
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DAKILA is a group of artists, students, and individuals committed to working together to creatively spark social consciousness formation towards social change.
Learn more at dakila.org.ph and facebook.com/Dakila.Philippines
ACTIVE VISTA is a human rights education platform to empower audiences in bringing about relevant social change. By showing and creating films that address core human rights messages, it aims to stir critical thinking among its audience as a step towards their education as citizens.
Learn more at facebook.com/ActiveVista
Youth Against Sexual Harassment (YASH) is a non-stock, non-profit, and politically-unaffiliated women’s organization that aims to combat sexual harassment, and other forms of abuse against women.. Learn more at facebook.com/yashorgph/
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