Words as their Weapon: Filipinas in NYC Expose the Realities of Violence Against Women in Their Communities

Press Release
April 20, 2010

Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE)-GABRIELA USA, fire.nyc@gmail.com

Words as their Weapon: Filipinas in NYC Expose the Realities of Violence Against Women in Their Communities

New York, NY–On Thursday, April 22, 2010 at Bluestockings Bookstore in Manhattan, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE)-GABRIELA USA will be holding their third annual “Pinay Herstories”, an event that seeks to put Filipino women’s stories, performance, poetry and literary art on center stage.

Pinay HERstories is a national cultural arts project taken up by GABRIELA-USA that centers on collecting creative efforts of Filipino women in the United States reflecting their life stories, journeys and current lives. This year’s event in New York is in line with a national GABRIELA-USA campaign that seeks to expand the definition, awareness, and dialogue of Violence Against Women in the Filipino community, called “iVOW to Fight VAW”.

Under the theme of “iVow to Fight Violence Against Women”, Filipina performers, community members and organizers will share their reflections on violence against women on different levels: personal, in the community, state and economic violence. By placing these stories in the center of the dialogue, FiRE and GABRIELA USA hopes to shine light on the issue of violence so people who are experiencing it will not feel isolated in their struggles.

Jackelyn Mariano, the educational development officer of FiRE and organizer of the event states, “What we are trying to do through this cultural event is to expand the definition of violence to include a wide range of violence that women and children absorb during intense economic crisis.” Reports in the US have shown that during times of unemployment and economic stress, domestic violence cases increase; and women and children suffer tremendously without proper access to social services, jobs and healthcare.

The current immigration debates are also emerging to become a real threat to immigrant women and children. “With so many cases of undocumented women in the US suffering from exploitation and abuse from employers, and a life in fear of deportation from immigration agencies,” Mariano continues, “The Schumer bill at the forefront of a sham immigration reform effort by the Democratic Party, is a specific example of an attack on immigrant communities, and an attack on women.” The Schumer bill is being hailed as the long-awaited step in immigrant reform, yet it further criminalizes undocumented persons by mandating English proficiency and registering for alien-identification cards. “The Schumer bill was created to monitor these workers and families, will only increase the policing of immigrants, and the number of unwarranted raids will sky rocket in New York,” continued Mariano.

With these issues in mind, the night’s line up will include rapper Rogue Pinay of 1st Quarter Storm from Seattle, Washington, local performers from New York/New Jersey Marie Avetria, Hanalei Ramos, Joanne Mariano, Kristine Solano, Rosalyn Jimenez and Laurel Fantauzzo.

On April 22, 2010, these performers at Pinay Herstories will bring the spectrum of violence against women to light through the words and stories of Filipino women who are shaping these experiences into basis for unity and resistance. The event’s funds will go to supporting Gabriela Women’s Partylist in the Philippines who are combating violence against women and children by making it a priority in their parliamentary campaign.

Join us!

Pinay HERstories: iVOW to Fight Violence Against Women
7 pm on Thursday, April 22, 2010
Bluestockings Bookstore
172 Allen Street (btwn Stanton and Rivington)
New York, New York!
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