edsa tres

today i met the family and leaders of edsa tres. edsa tres , seven years ago, alerted us to grassroots mobilization but no one i knew has ever interviewed the participants of edsa tres up close. the complete story of edsa tres and their may 1st march to malacanang was dismissed as a spontaneous uprising and was projected in media as a flash in the pan.

joy and the men who came to meet us for a discussion on non-violence were articulate grassroots. they told us the story of edsa tres with feelings. they brought us back to those six days when the urban poor believed they could do something to restore popular democracy. joy exemplified the woman with fire in her belly. she said that fateful week in edsa, bringing her family and even pet dog to protest, changed her whole life. she used to work in makati for a company and realized she had marketing skills that could help. she listened to all the issues aired by the urban poor and decided to act on the national agenda. joy became a community organizer within that six days and marched to malacanang with her whole family. now, after seven years, she has become a very dedicated organizer of market vendors. i will reserve her story for another blog. what i want to share is that the grassroots, urban poor people, or the masa know how to rise from crisis and know they can change the situation.

joy said that she has learned to discern who are leaders and whether they serve those who follow them. she narrated her experiences with some elite leaders and how they distrust and insult the masa. “hampaslupa“, she said, is what these elite leaders call them. joy told us that presidential wannabes have courted their communities and even seduced them with funds but she knows there is no bond that binds them. when i asked her how she felt when they were not able to pursue the goal of restoring estrada as legitimate president, she replied” We feel we won in that round, having learned how to move as one and knowing there are many among us who will stand up for what is right.” this lesson resonated a hundred years ago, when Salud Algabre, peasant leader, ” no uprising ever fails, each one is a step in the right direction.”

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