Sunday, April 6, 2008

Woman Activist from GABRIELA Philippines Tours the US

For Immediate Release
April 6, 2008

Joanne Alcantara, GABRIELA National Organizing Committee Coordinator, (641) 715-3900

Woman Activist from GABRIELA Philippines Tours the US

Emmi De Jesus welcomes the first overseas GABRIELA chapter - GABRIELA USA

San Francisco, CA. On April 6, 2008, Emmi De Jesus, the Secretary General of GABRIELA Philippines, will be arriving in the US for a month-long national speaking tour in 4 cities to support the recent founding of GABRIELA-USA. She will be traveling from coast to coast, speaking in Los Angeles, Seattle, New York City, and San Francisco. In the different venues, de Jesus will speak on the burning issues at the forefront of women's lives in the Philippines, the gross human rights violations situation, violence against women, abject poverty and gender and sexual discrimination.

De Jesus was a founding member of GABRIELA Philippines in 1984. Today, 24 years later, GABRIELA Philippines stands as the largest national alliance of women's organizations in the Philippines. As a Filipino women's campaign center, GABRIELA integrates Filipino women's struggles into the Philippine resistance against first world domination and for genuine sovereignty and democracy. GABRIELA is a model for women's movements all over the globe, mobilizing broad communities for state accountability to repression and violence in the Philippines.

"The current economic crisis in the Philippines that is fueled by global trade policies, are forcing Filipina women to leave their homeland at alarming rates. For their families' survival, educated women are becoming domestic workers, entertainers, and even face modern-day-slavery as trafficked persons. Because of this, it is crucial that we continue building an organized movement for true economic justice in the US, from the voices of Filipina women," declared Joanne Alcantara, the National Coordinator of GABRIELA-USA. Emmi de Jesus' speaking tour will highlight the linkages between Filipino women's struggles in the US and the Philippines and, simultaneously, celebrate the rich spirit of resilience they share across oceans and continents.

Emmi De Jesus, after a brief orientation in San Francisco with GABRIELA-USA, will have her first stop at UC Irvine where a community gathering will be held to talk about the women's situation in the Philippines. Her hosts are Strong Womyn of Irvine and The Womyn's Collective of Los Angeles.

De Jesus' will then travel to Seattle where she will be hosted by Pinay sa Seattle on April 12th to keynote for an anti-trafficking conference at the University of Washington called "Asian Pacific Islander Community Responses to Human Trafficking: Working Together to Create Change". This conference is co-sponsored by Pinay sa Seattle, University of Washington Women's Center, Marc Lindenberg Center, UW Center for Global Studies, the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, Asian Pacific Islander Women & Family Safety Center, and the Washington Advisory Committee on Trafficking. It will be held at the UW Architecture Hall from 10am-4pm. De Jesus will also have an opportunity to meet with anti-trafficking advocates, legislators, and community members during her stay.

Following her Seattle visit, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) will be welcoming her in New York with a community reception at the Bayanihan Center on April 18, 7pm on 40-21 69th Street in heart of the Filipino community Woodside; and featuring de Jesus as the keynote speaker during the annual Filipina showcase "Diwang Pinay" ("Spirit of the Filipina") on Saturday April 19, 7pm at Judson Memorial Church on 55 Washington Square South in Manhattan. Lastly, in San Francisco, Babae will host Emmi as a featured speaker at the 6th Annual Diwang Pinay, co-sponsored by the League of Filipino Students, SFSU. The showcase is set for Friday, April 25 at 7pm at the Lincoln Community Center located at 901 Brunswick St. Daly City, and will conclude De Jesus' US tour.

"Emmi De Jesus' historic and momentous tour will only intensify the growing Filipino women's movement in the US," Alcantara states, "She will receive a warm welcome at her every stop in the US. Wherever Filipino women are, we will be proud to carry the flag of GABRIELA as we expand our international women's movement."

Pinay sa Seattle, Babae (San Francisco), and Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (New York) are part of GABRIELA-USA, the first overseas chapter of GABRIELA.