Filipinos in San Francisco march to condemn violence

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Because of the disturbing ascent in the crime rate, over 80 community members, mostly Filipinos, assembled a peace march to suppress the violence in the South of Market neighborhood in San Francisco.

Together with the city officials and the police, community members picket with placards calling for peace at the busiest streets in San Francisco during the rush hour.

Nonprofit groups like West Bay Pilipino, United Playaz, SOMCAN and City Crossroads spearheaded the event. The groups have been known to serving the youth and their families in the SoMa district, home to a large Filipino groups.

The peace march, monikered as “Silence the Violence”, was enkindled by the reports that seven of the city’s 41 murders happened in their area, five of which happened in the first 90 days of the year.

According to the groups, incidents occurred just blocks away from agencies that serve vulnerable populations such as children and the elderly.

“I just noticed that violence was occurring left and right along the perimeter of the family and youth zone in the South of Market. For me, that is unacceptable,” West Bay Pilipino Multi-Service Center Executive Director Vivian Zalvidea Araullo said.

West Bay Pilipino Multi-Service Center condemns violence in the area that has been existing for a long time.

“I know it’s been like that for a long time but it is not acceptable to have violence regularly occur on a very frequent basis in a place where families, children, seniors and our Filipino immigrant community is at,” Araullo stressed.

San Francisco political leaders are in one with the drive to combat the violence in the SoMa and to ensure the future safety of the children.

“This is an ongoing work,” said Jane Kim, one of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. “it’s not starting today. It’s been going on for years and the work continues. It doesn’t get solved at once but making sure we are supporting after school programs, stronger schools programs like West Bay and United Playaz and SOMCAN.”

The youth sector of the community also attended the march to send a strong message of opposition to the crime around them.

“I think it’s really important for our youth to be here because we’re the future and one thing is for sure whatever happens now is what’s going to be effected us definitely in the future,” said SOMCAN participant George Ocampo. “If there’s violence now, there’s going to be violence in the future.  If we don’t stop it now, it’s not going to end.”

(With reports from Balitang America and CBS San Francisco)

(LA Midweek September 10-12, 2014 Sec. A pg.1)

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