On Thursday, December 6th, Malaya Texas attended the Dallas Peace & Justice Center’s “Peacemaker Awards Banquet,” an event that has been a mainstay of the Dallas community since 1987. 

The Peace & Justice Center’s aim is to create a better world through education, dialogue, reconciliation, and advocacy on human and civil rights, as well as ecological, environmental, and climate justice. As they wrote in the program, it was a “celebratory evening to shine a light on well-deserving individuals and organizations.”

The evening’s awardees deserved the spotlight for their genuine efforts to fight for human rights in Dallas, in all of Texas, and beyond. However, none of these organizations or individuals exist solely for the purpose of winning awards and attending glitzy banquets. They work tirelessly and struggle against the various forms of human rights repression that haunt our city. 

We met new friends and solidified our alliances with organizations who will be great allies to Malaya Movement and our struggle to put an end to the human rights atrocities being committed in the Philippines on a daily basis. It is our solidarity mission to work in alliance with all of these human rights defenders to target these systematic abuses of power to galvanize the people of Dallas.

There is the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, who provide free legal and social services to refugees and immigrants; Southern Sector Rising, an ad-hoc group formed to combat racist land-use planning that has led to “Shingle Mountain,” the largest illegal dump in Dallas, several stories high, that is spreading toxic fumes through one of Dallas’s most vulnerable communities; the First Unitarian church of Dallas, which partners with local organizations to affirm the “worth and dignity of every person;” Nicolas M. Hernandez, president of the North Texas Dream Team, a member of several coalitions, including RAICES & F.I.R.E. that are on the ground fighting for immigrant communities suffering through horrific ICE raids and inhumane DHS operations; Akwete Tyehimba, co-founder of the Pan-African Connection in Dallas, a community hub for cultural events and educational programming; and Rev. Dr. Michael W. Waters who delivered a moving sermon in honor of our collective struggle for equitable human rights.

In what many consider to be a mostly conservative state, we were inspired by how many organizations and individuals relentlessly advocate and struggle for human rights. Malaya Movement Texas looks forward to joining their efforts in solidarity and for them to join ours. The evening inspired us to reach deep into our hearts and reaffirm our need to fight for collective justice. 

Malaya Texas also held a social media campaign for the week leading up to International Human Rights Day. We encouraged chapter members, community-based allies, and individuals to write a statement, post a selfie, film a video, write a poem, or create a piece of art addressing human rights in the Philippines. People can tag Malaya Movement Texas to share our platform, inspire others to persevere, and broaden awareness of the US support that is used to commit widespread violence and political repression in service of the Duterte regime and looming dictatorship. Malaya Movement Texas urges everyone to demand the four-point call-to-action and to relate the struggles of the Filipino people to the struggles of people locally, in Texas.

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