Angela Tulio gathers with friends, family and other supporters to thank them after her court hearing. Anakbayan gave a presentation on education and democracy in the Philippines and U.S. after the short hearing. Photo by Josephine Joliff.

Over 30 allies filled half a courtroom to support UC Santa Cruz alumna Angela Tulio during her court case on May 14 at 8 a.m. in the Santa Cruz Courthouse.

UCSC police officers arrested Tulio at the April 10 AFSCME 3299 labor strike at UCSC for obstructing a roadway. Judge Timothy Schmal concluded the arraignment by scheduling a pre-trial for Tulio.

On June 11, Tulio, her attorney, Judge Schmal and the district attorney will negotiate whether Tulio’s charge becomes a misdemeanor or an infraction. 

Members of Anakbayan, a national democratic organization against colonial, imperialist and capitalist dilemmas of the Pilipino Diaspora, organized to show their disapproval of the arrest. Tulio is the chairperson of Santa Cruz’s Anakbayan chapter.

“When we see our peers and friends who’ve helped us grow go through these hardships, it’s important that we show up for each other,” said second-year student and Anakbayan’s secretary general Julius Abad. “If one person goes down, we all go  down.”

Rather than stage a protest, Anakbayan assembled its crowd for a peaceful community gathering outside the courthouse’s back entrance after the arraignment.

Tulio and Santiago Alvarez, cultural officers of Anakbayan, sat down with their audience of UCSC students to present a slideshow on the injustices caused by imperialism in the U.S. and the Philippines. 

“When we’re inside the belly of the imperial beast — the U.S. — it’s hard to experience the consequences of U.S. imperialism because of our privileges,” Tulio said. “Coming together as a community helps us de-individualize our lives and understand why we make sacrifices for each other.”

The presentation’s topics included state fascism and the suppressed strike movements in the Philippines, in addition to the role of U.S. imperialism. 

Anakbayan intended for community members to heal, learn and participate in educational discussions about these international labor hardships.

“We wanted to build and link Angie’s situation with similar situations in the Philippines,” Alvarez said. “The same systems of oppression that exist in the United States are able to exist because of systems of oppression in the Philippines.”

Tulio said Anakbayan decided against demonstrating because of the risks involved and to instead offer a space for community healing. Peaceful protesting is within everyone’s legal right, but Tulio and other Anakbayan officers planned a low-risk gathering so there’d be no incidents like Tulio’s arrest in April.

“There’s not a lot of time for people to have collective healing,” Tulio said, “so creating shared spaces is important for the community to take care of themselves and not burn out.”