"TAO PO ?/!"
An Art Exhibit presenting the Human Rights Conditions in the Philippines and Abroad
by the Artists' Collective of Anakbayan NY/NJ and Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE)
When: 16 December 2007
Where: Alwan for the Arts, # 16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor (between Broad and New Streets, 1 block east of Whitehall & Bowling Green)
"TAO" is the Tagalog term for "human," and "PO" is a word used to show respect. When used conjunctively "TAO PO" is an expression used in the Philippines (by the Tagalogs) when one calls out to see if anybody's home. It usually comes with a knock on the door.
On December 16, in celebration of the International Human Rights Day featuring members of the artists' collective of Anakbayan New York/New Jersey and Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), "TAO PO" takes on double meaning, thus the punctuation marks "?/!"
"TAO PO?" (with the question mark) calls out and knocks on other people's doors to heed the calls of Human Rights victims in seeking for justice.
"TAO PO!" (with the exclamation point) on the other hand, simply and straightforwardly asserts the HUMANITY of those who have been subject to oppression and exploitation. This proclaims that they are HUMANS and that they deserve the RESPECT due to them as human beings with rights and a life to uphold.
Taking off from the reality of human rights conditions back in the Philippines, wherein 900+ activists and progressives had been killed and 200+ missing, including children, youth and women, since the de-facto Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo took office in 2001, and at the same time, from the human rights conditions of Filipinos abroad who have been the leading export of the country in form of cheap labor for the past few years/decades, "TAO PO?/!" calls out to all entities of society: "WE'RE NOT ANIMALS! WE ARE HUMANS!"
"Let the Stones Cry Out," a community forum on peace and justice in the Philippines by the NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) will also be held at 7-930pm on the same day and venue.
For more information, please contact Christina Hilo (818-281-3134) or Hanalei Ramos (201-790-0995).