Our beloved friend, Brandon Lee was shot on August 6 at his home in Lagawe, Ifugao. He sustained multiple gunshot wounds. He has undergone operation and is in very critical condition.
Brandon is a staunch advocate for human rights and has been a volunteer paralegal with Cordillera Human Rights Alliance. Prior to moving to the Philippines, he was active with both the Filipino and Chinese community in the San Francisco Bay Area.
We are saddened, angry, outraged, and worried that Brandon has been targeted by what we believe are agents of the Philippine military to silence critics of the current Duterte Administration and people like Brandon who are raising awareness about the human rights abuses in the Philippines. Prior to the incident on August 6, he experienced intense harassment and surveillance.
Friends, please help Brandon and his family (wife and daughter) get through this difficult time. We ask that you please consider donating for long term medical care and other expenses that may accrue.
For updates in the Philippines please follow:
CHRA KARAPATAN on FaceBook. If you don’t have Facebook, feel free to leave your email address and we can include you on our updates.
Let’s do this for Brandon y’all!
Thank you so much for your donation which is critical at this time for the airlift and also immediate and long term medical costs for Brandon.
For Venmo donations, please put #SaveBrandonLee and send your donation to either of the following people:
We accept checks. Please contact us for payee.
We also encourage you to continue to post poems, songs, personal stories of Brandon on social media and please include #SaveBrandonLee #Justice4BrandonLee #StopTheAttacks #FriendsofBrandon
Friends of Brandon Lee Facebook Page
Other ways to get involved:
+ Share this fundraiser
+ Join us in hosting fundraising activities!
+ Legislative advocacy:
We will continue to pressure our legislative representatives to urge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to help fund the airlift. The US government says they cannot fund Brandon’s airlift because he is not a public servant. But we all know that Brandon put his life on the line for serving the people.
For legislative updates, visit San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines.
A letter from Brandon’s Aunt:
Two months and three weeks after being shot, Brandon is finally home.
On Tuesday morning of August 6th my sister Julie called and said, “Brandon was shot. He’s in a coma.” I left work and rushed to my sister Louise’s home, Brandon’s mother. We are a very reserved bunch; my sisters and I, but I was prepared to give my sister a hug, thinking she must be hysterical. Louise opened the door and calmly told me what she knew so far; that Brandon had been shot in the spine, the shoulder, the face, and the arm. I remember I was so confused. Why was she so calm? Was it a cruel hoax? Is she getting to the punchline soon? Is Brandon fine? When the punchline did not come, I finally had to ask, “Why are you so calm?!!” I continued to stare at her in disbelief and confusion and I noticed the little tear on the corner of her eye never fell.
While my sisters and I absorbed the news that morning, Brandon’s friends- who were also activists like him – had already been gathering, organizing and planning. They contacted Nancy Pelosi’s office, Kamala Harris’ office, and Dianne Feinstein’s office. They knew the SF Board of supervisors and contacted them. They called news reporters and set up a GoFundMe account and donations poured in.
The next day, Wednesday, my sister Louise flew to the Philippines with her other son Aaron. Luckily they already had passports and had visited Brandon before. She did not expect to get there in time. His heart had already stopped 6 times. It was a 17.5 hour flight with a stop in Japan, and five hours by bus from Manila to Baguio. I gave them both a hug at the airport. Hugs are very unusual in my family; at least between sisters. We are more likely to stand around awkwardly than we are to hug affectionately. I noticed a tear again on the corner of my sister’s eye and there it stayed.
That Friday Supervisor Gordon Mar held a rally and press conference in front of City Hall for Brandon’s friends, family and fellow activists to draw attention to the shooting and to call for an investigation, and an end to US military aid to the Philippines. I was both surprised and comforted knowing we were not alone and that so many people, including our community and city leaders, were also outraged at the shooting.
Shortly after, pastors from the California Nevada Philippine Solidarity Task Force (UMC) and Supervisor Matt Haney with a team of activists left for the Philippines for a fact finding mission that included visiting Brandon in the hospital.
Upon return Supervisor Haney held a press conference and went on live with Democracy Now to talk about Brandon’s condition, his work helping indigenous people defend their natural resources and in particular fight against a proposed dam that would destroy their land. My family was so comforted to have someone so important speak for us.
In Baguio General Hospital, concerned friends and family watched over Brandon day and night, as the hospital did not have a security system in place. Strangers barged in and asked about Brandon, claiming to be relatives. Louise and Aaron split up the watch; Louise guarded by day, Aaron guarded by night. Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into a month. Brandon miraculously got a little better and a month after being shot 4 times and having his heart stop 8 times, he was stable enough to be moved.
The next 7 weeks was filled with absolute frustration and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. It seemed for a while that nobody wanted to transport Brandon, now that he was ready. There was so much waiting for people to respond. One time someone took off in the middle of the week and apparently nobody else could send the invoice. An office was closed on Labor Day and again on Columbus/Indigenous People’s Day so nothing got done those days. I saw an email that someone would contact someone in a few days. A few days? Pick up the phone and call now! Send an email! While you are waiting a few days or taking off on Wednesday or on holiday, I am dying! It is so hard to wait when you are in distress. Time just stands still and people don’t move fast enough for you and it is the most maddening feeling.
I could not imagine the pain and suffering that my nephew was going through. Just the fact that someone would want to hurt him was unimaginable. I don’t think Brandon was ever unkind to anyone or ever raised his voice or hit anyone in his entire life. I am just horrified when I think about how after he was shot four times, no ambulance came to whisk him off to a nearby hospital. His brother-in-law put him in the motorcycle sidecar and drove him to a medical facility that wasn’t equipped to help him. I am told he was brought to another facility that also was not equipped to help. Then he rode in a car for five hours to get to Baguio General Hospital.
Two months and three weeks after being shot, Brandon is finally home.
My family would like to thank all the activists and community leaders and friends who came running to help and speak out for Brandon, and held fundraisers and secured donations and prizes to raise money. Raquel Redondiez, Narissa Lee, Dori Caminong, Pixie Castillo, Princess Bustos, Charm C De Lena, Charles Ramilo, Pam Tau Lee, Reverend Norman Fong, Reverend Sadie Stone, Naomi Ishida, Zachary Brown, Mario De Mira, Jillian Mariano, Michael Wong, Terry Valen, Gavril Wells, Jennifer Nguyen, Jonathan Bautista, Shara, Christina, Jack Stevens, David Delena, Win-Mon Kyi, Debbie Tam. It was amazing when 26 of us all got up and lined up to speak at the SF Board of Supervisors Board meeting. You spoke and the SF Board of Supervisors heard you, and they turned to the Offices of Pelosi, Harris, and Feinstein, and everyone urged the US Embassy in the Philippines to help Brandon, and the US Embassy helped ensure Brandon’s airlift and travel back home to San Francisco.
Thank you Pastor Jeanelle Ablola, Reverend Theon Johnson, Dori Caminong, Matt Haney and Raquel Redondiez for also visiting Brandon at Baguio Medical Center.
We thank Congresswomen Pelosi, Feinstein and Senator Harris and their staff for contacting the US Embassy in the Philippines to help Brandon.
Thank you San Francisco Supervisors, for unanimously approving, Supervisor Mar’s resolution for Brandon Lee. When you speak, people listen. You are respected and people pay attention to what you say. Thank you for speaking for Brandon and reaching out to the Congresswomen and the US Embassy and continually following up on the efforts to get Brandon medical attention and transportation home.
Thank you President Norman Yee and Supervisor Sandy Lee Fewer, Reverend Norman Fong, and Shawsan Lui and Eddie Zheng for holding a fundraiser for us and for attending the fundraiser and for your donations!
Thank you Emory Douglas and Fernando Marti for donating beautiful artwork for auction.
Thank you Warriors for donating Suite Tickets and Courtside Experience to Brandon’s cause!
Thank you to the US Embassy in the Philippines for your help in getting Brandon home. You really came through for us. We are deeply grateful.
Thank you also to Congresswoman Judy Chu for holding a press conference and speaking publicly about the shooting. We are grateful to have someone in Congress actually calling for a press conference and speaking out and condemning the shooting.
Thank you Dr. Leigh Kimberg for speaking to the SF Public Health Commission about Brandon. We needed and welcomed all the help we could get to get Brandon safely home and having a doctor come and speak so eloquently for Brandon was more than we could wish for.
My family would like to thank the medical teams of Baguio General Hospital and St Luke’s Medical Center in Manila who did the initial life-saving work of treating Brandon immediately and stabilizing him so that he could make the trip home. Thank you to the excellent doctors and the wonderful nurses who took care of Brandon.
My family is forever grateful to all those who contributed towards Brandon’s medical cost and medical transportation. We could not have done it without you and your amazing generosity. Friends, relatives, coworkers, Brandon’s friends and fellow activists, government officials and complete strangers contributed and thanks to you, because of you, Brandon is back here and slowly but surely, recovering.
Thank you to those of you who prayed for Brandon. I believe all of us praying so hard together for Brandon, kept him alive and got him back home.
Thank you to all the news reporters for attending the rally and the press conferences and the fundraisers and writing the articles on Brandon. Because of your work, people everywhere know of Brandon.
Thank you Airmed and the pilots and nurses who brought Brandon safely and smoothly home to us.
Thank you to those who wish to remain anonymous.
Lastly, I would ask the US Congress to stop providing military aid to the Philippines. Please ensure our tax dollars are not used towards the killings and human rights abuses of the Duterte government. We call for a moratorium on aid to the Philippine government until such time that we know US tax dollars are not being used to kill or support human rights violations. I know our government wants to help other countries fight crime, but you need to see who you are really working with, who you are helping, and who you are inadvertently helping to kill.
-Lita Lee, Brandon’s Aunt