MANILA - "There is no place for racism in this world we all share as humans."
This is the stance of a former American missionary in defense of a Filipino-American couple who received racist remarks from an old woman as shown in a video uploaded by Danika Aquino on Facebook on June 9.
Jared Ammon Gillett, 29, took to Facebook to refute allegations made against the couple and to air his sentiments against the racism Filipinos face in the United States.
“Nagalit talaga ako sa mga sinabi ng babaeng 'yun dahil tumira ako sa Pilipinas at minahal ako ng mga [tao] sa paligid ko doon,” Gillett said.
“Kung alam lang niya 'yung kasipagan, 'yung kabutihan ng bawat Pinoy na nakilala ko, ‘di niya sana sasabihin ang mga bagay na ‘yon,” he added.
In the viral video, the unidentified woman accused a couple at a Daly City, California checkout line of stealing “our food, steal[ing] our money, our jobs.”
The man in the video then replied, “We got a family to feed.”
“So what? Go back to your country,” the woman replied snidely.
In his own video, Gillett said the woman had no concept of the difficulties faced by Filipinos who want to go to the U.S.
"I have spoken with some [families] that have waited 11 years from the time they have applied for entrance into the US till they are finally able to come. So when they do come, trust me, it is legally,” he said.
Gillett lived in Bataan, Pangasinan and Zambales from 2008 to 2010 as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Filipinos welcomed him and treated him like a brother, he recalled.
“[Nung] dumating ako sa Pilipinas, tumanggap talaga ang mga tao sa akin, pinakain ako ng napakasarap na mga ulam, ng mga meryenda habang dumadalaw ako sa mga iba’t ibang bahay… 'Yung mga nakikilala ko, itinuturing ko sila bilang kapatid, itinuturing din nila ako bilang kapatid,” he said.
The purpose of the video, Gillett said, was to show Filipinos that there are people like him who have a high regard for them.
“Gusto ko na malaman ninyo na hindi lahat ng tao dito sa U.S. ay katulad [niya]. At ganun din, gusto kong malaman ninyo na may mga Amerikano na sobrang nagpapasalamat sa inyo,” he said.
Gillett’s video, posted on June 13, has garnered more than 830,000 views, 13,000 reactions and 28,986 shares.