Once in July 2005 I talked to a group of friends about a wild dream of holding eight (8) simultaneous concerts to promote the accomplishment of each UN Millennium Development Goal, they agreed that it was crazy but worth a shot. So we said we wanted it to be on the Sunday closest to Human Rights Day.
We wanted to hold this massive gathering of artists for Human Rights on a Sunday so less people will have to skip work and no student will have to skip school. We wanted it in train stations. We wanted it near or along or beside the metro rail tracks because it meant we won’t disrupt the roads’ traffic flow too much.
We wanted it in separate train stations so the people who want to participate will be forced to choose just one or two stations (a good exercise!) and so that they will learn (slightly) how to commit and forego. We wanted it in separate spaces so that we can imagine the archipelago, our islands separate but somehow cadent.
We said it will be simply to mark and remember Human Rights Day because everyone agrees that Human Rights should be upheld. The definitions don’t vary nor stretch too far apart. It is the one umbrella advocacy that seems to find everyone on the same page. A very big page, I know. Ideology, although very relevant, is reduced to its actual size in the face of the rights of a human being.
Left, Right, and the ‘of and off centers’ can come together on this day. A magnificent shared space.
So with the help of many generous and talented friends who pooled in meager resources and abundant talent - we held the first Rock the Riles in 2005. At the end of that night I remember a photographer friend asking me, “What next?” And I said, “I’m not sure.”
But here we are, aren’t we?
The 7th Rock the Riles is today!
And if after today we reminded a few more young Filipinos that Human Rights Day is just a day we pause and agree on what we still have to work on for the rest of the year - then we have somehow accomplished something.
11 December 2011
MRT-3 EDSA Line
Taft, Ayala, Buendia, Boni, Shaw, Cubao, Quezon Ave, North Edsa stations.
Admission is free but for some stations you may need to pay for the minimum train fare to get into the stage area.
Reminder: Safety First. Rock next.
Gratis et Amore: Pepe Diokno, Leslie Umaly, Laya Diokno, Mike Campillanes, Gerhard Bandiola, Sheila Mari Bandiola, May Umaly, Loreen Eslao, Keavy Vicente, Denise Velarmino Doble, Kris Sebastian, Patti Malay, Nigel Something, Vanessa Cancino, RJ Umaly, Gabby Cantero, Mang Estong, Christian Armamento, Olive Castillo, Heather Abanales, Loki Yamat, Ysab Yuzon, Leni Velasco, Pepper Roxas, Ani Almario-David, CP David, Jaime Garchitorena, Reg Hernandez, Meah Ang-See, Mahar Lagmay, Toti Dalmacion, Darwin Hernandez, Jamie Hipe, Soupstar, Terno, Dakila, Mambo Rat Prod, Philbert Dy, Raymond Lee, Erwin Romulo, Francis and Lourd de Veyra, Ace Esmeralda, Claire Papa, and many more. If I forgot someone ~ it isn’t because I lack gratitude, it is certainly because I lack sleep. // Sincerely, Gang
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