Wednesday, April 9, 2008

New York Filipinas Act Through Art

For Immediate Release

Reference: Valerie Francisco, Secretary General, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment, 925-726-5768,

New York Filipinas Act Through Art

Women's Organization Calls Attention to Human Rights Violations in the Philippines

On April 19th, 2008, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) will celebrate the first year by honoring Filipino American and Filipino women's talents and art. The anniversary of women's organization's first year in service to the Filipino community in New York is reflected by the cultural night's women-centered and women-powered night.

FiRE's first annual cultural show Diwang Pinay (literally translated as"Spirit of the Filipina"), focuses on the rich and growing Pinay art community in New York city. The show will feature Filipino women singers, bands, poets, dancers and visual artists. Pinays from all over the United States are also coming to celebrate the night in hopes to build a national network of Filipino women interested in art and activism.

Through a night filled with art and performance Filipinas will call attention to the gross human rights violations situation in the Philippines. In the past year, this issue has garnered international attention and Diwang Pinay aims to contribute to raising awareness in our community through Filipino women's art.

"No human rights case in the Philippines has yet to be solved. The disappearances, killings and harassment of community leaders and members have consequences for Filipino women," states Valerie Francisco, secretary general of FiRE, "As women work hard to combat the ill effects of landlessness and lack of jobs their partners, children, cousins, loved ones and sometimes even themselves experience the wrath of state violence."

The one-of-a-kind Filipino women's event hosts a special guest speaker, Emmi De Jesus, the secretary general of GABRIELA, a national alliance of women's organization in the Philippines. De Jesus will highlight the impacts of the human rights violations on Filipino women there.

Diwang Pinay promises to fill the historic Judson Memorial Church in New York City with the cutting edge artistry of young Filipino American women who, even thousands of miles away from their motherland, insist on connecting their lives here in the US to the lives of women in the Philippines.

"The first step to solving a problem is being aware that it is there in the first place," stated Jackie Mariano, an active member of FiRE. "I hope that Diwang Pinay serves as a wake-up call to all art-lovers out there. Art imitates life. While our art will depict our struggle, it will also depict our international solidarity."

As a member of GABRIELA-USA, FiRE is mounting a momentous event in initiating action around the human rights violations in the Philippines through showcasing Filipino women's art. Diwang Pinay will serve as a testament to the struggles and triumphs of Filipino women all over the world.

There will be a community reception on Friday, April 18 at 7:30pm at the Bayanihan Community Center, 40-21 69th Street in Woodside, Queens with Emmi De Jesus and the Filipino community in New York.

Diwang Pinay will be on April 19, 2008 from 6pm to 9pm at Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South in Manhattan, New York. General admission is $10 and a discounted rate of $5 for young people.