September 30, 2007
Reference: Valerie Francisco, secretary general, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment, 925-726-5768
Filipino American History Month with a "HER" twist
New York, NY--The women of Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment brought in October, Filipino American History month, with a bit of a twist. The organization's public introduction was an Open House, aptly called "Pinay HERstories."
Due to the trends in Filipino American immigration, much of the early communities set up in the US were largely bachelor communities. The history of our earlier American generations are reflected in the often male-dominated accounts of Filipino American lives.
Filipina-American poets and perfomance artists Lisa Ascalon, Marie Avetria, Kimmie David and Tamara Llosa-Sandor shared their stories of womanhood and being Filipino in the US. Their artwork re-writing the history of Filipino Americans in the US. Organizations doing work with the Filipino community in New York also came to speak in solidarity. Filipino American Health Services, Inc, CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities, and Domestic Workers United expounded on their resilient and imperative work with Filipino women.
On the same night, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was at the Waldorf-Astoria attending the 3rd meeting of the Women Leaders Working Group. The theme of the night was "Progress on Women's Empowerment."
Ironically, the woman president of the Philippines addressed the crowd with statistics of billion dollar remittances and solicitations for more business investments in the Philippines without the even batting a lash at exploitative conditions that Filipino migrants, especially women, experience outside of the country.
"GMA is a poor example of Filipino women's empowerment and progress. She has made sure that Filipino women are the largest export out of the Philippines and maintains no accountability to their suffering when Filipino women are out of the country," stated Valerie Francisco, secretary general of FiRE.
September 2007 promises the 14 billion dollars in remittances from migrant workers. Simultaneously, the human rights crisis in the Philippines is still at a staggering slow.
"As a woman, she must be held responsible for the depraved Martial Law-like conditions of Filipino women in the Philippines," Francisco added.