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Rage and Wu are back!

Guerilla Union’s Rock The Bells music festival is scheduled this summer and is about to make history again with Rage Against The Machine, who will reunite and rock the stage headlining three exclusive sets. Rage will share the hype with hip-hop’s the Wu-Tang Clan, who will also perform and support the release of their forthcoming album, 8 Diagrams.

“It’s a tremendous honor to have Rage and Wu perform together,” said Chang Weisberg, Guerilla Union founder. “It’s incredibly important to put some shine on quality hip-hop. The opportunity to galvanize the social and political consciousness of these groups is undeniable.”

Rock The Bells began in 2003 and is known for its world-class hip-hop platform showcasing epic lineups like Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, Lauryn Hill, Blackstar, De La Soul, Busta Rhymes, Cypress Hill and Jurrassic Five.

Children of Bush’s home state still suffer

“It’s becoming tougher for our children,” Robert Sanborn, president of Children at Risk, told child advocates recently at a meeting in Houston, Texas, that examined recent data on issues affecting the city’s youngest residents. Harris County families there are currently plagued with greater poverty, worsening infant mortality rates and increasing problems accessing affordable health care. Sanborn’s group has been monitoring trends for more than 16 years. Infants died at a rate of 6.5 per 1,000 in 2003, before they reached a year old. The rate has increased every year since 2000.

In 2004 the county had 218,881 children living below the poverty level, which for a family of three was $15,670 a year. Two years earlier the U.S. Census estimated 216,655 were impoverished.

In 2005, Houston’s air quality was so poor that 45 days were considered unsafe for children, who were told to stay indoors. Children receiving medical coverage under the Children’s Health Insurance Program declined from more than 90,000 in 2002 to 57,718 in May 2006.

“We need to continue to work hard to make sure we are giving these kids a fair chance at life,” said Sanborn.

Students halt military recruitment on campus

A Feb. 21 anti-war speak-out during orientation week at the University of New South Wales in Sidney, Australia, halted military recruitment on campus for the day. Resistance, a socialist youth group; Christian Students Uniting; the Bike Club; the UNSW Greens and the UNSW Environment Collective organized the action by circulating leaflets on campus days before the event. Military recruiters from the UNSW Army Regiment decided not to show up at their booked stall during the anti-war protest that called for ending the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq and condemned the visit of U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney to the country later that week.

U.S. Filipino youth and students build unity

Some 150 U.S. Filipino youth and student organizations from 20 states met in San Francisco on Feb. 16-18 for the Third Annual SanDiwa Conference, where they discussed art, activism, and steps toward a national youth and student alliance to address Filipina/o youth and student issues. SanDiwa means “one consciousness and one spirit” in Tagalog. It is a U.S. Filipino national organization founded by Philippine Studies Program alumni. “Forging an alliance is a necessary step to solving collectively the problems of Filipino youth in America,” said Steven Raga with the East Coast-based Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue and SanDiwa Executive Committee. “In a few years, we’ll look back and understand the historical significance of this conference.”

The gathering is in line with the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), an effort to foster alliances among Filipino youth launched in 2003 that fights for social, economic and racial justice and equality for Filipino youth. The alliance hopes to bring broad sectors of the U.S. Filipino community together including women, youth/students, labor, faith-based groups, health activists, seniors, domestic workers, artists, seafarers, war veterans and indigenous groups as well as professionals.

“This conference forged stronger friendships across the geographic barriers and developed a shared understanding that we all share common issues and a passion for justice,” said Ivy Climacosa of NAFCON.

plozano @ pww.org

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