Monday, March 10, 2008

FilAm Women March in Large International Contingent in New York

March 9, 2008

Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairwoman, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE),,

FilAm Women March in Large International Contingent in New York

New York, NY--Not even the heavy rainstorm could stop, Filipino American women from Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) from marching and chanting in the streets of downtown, Manhattan on March 8, 2008, International Women's Day. Alongside 300 people and various New York women's organizations, the soaked marchers kept their spirits up and their voices to the sky.

"Women all over the world are celebrating resistance on International Women's Day," stated Valerie Francisco, chair of FiRE, "Filipino women, especially, have much to be proud of." In New York, FiRE celebrated by participating in the women's festival at CUNY Hunter College and as a part of the International Women's Day Coalition in New York.

As member organization of GABRIELA-USA, the Filipino contingent in New York carried placards calling for the Philippine president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, to step down from office. Accounts of corruption coming from Malacanang have been unfolding the past few weeks, pointing to the president's acquiescence in deals that put millions and millions of dollars in the pockets of politicians.

In the meantime, Filipino women across the globe are facing critical issues. The Filipino woman in Japan raped by US marines in Okinawa is still awaiting justice. Neither GMA nor the US government has issued apologies. The trial for this Filipino woman has been prolonged as the Philippine government awaits for the US' lead on this case.

Although, no governmental bodies have sought justice for her, streets in Okinawa, Manila and New York were filled with outraged Filipino activists demanding justice. The women rallying side by side with the Filipino woman in Okinawa and Nicole and the countless others victimized by US militarization are the ones calling for change.

"A woman president is only as good as what her puppeteer will allow her to be," Francisco continued, "The real women's power, the real international women's power is in the everyday woman. We will organize and mobilize until our demands are met and our collective voices are heard!"

GABRIELA is spearheading a global women's movement, FiRE in New York along with Pinay Sa Seattle and babae in San Francisco are harnessing power from US-based Filipino women to strengthen an international struggle.

With their umbrellas painted with "OUST GMA" and their rain boots in tow, FiRE is leaving a trail blazed with solidarity. Even a little rain couldn't stop them.