GABRIELA USA participates in the Montreal International Women’s Conference and the founding of the International Women’s Alliance

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Reference: Valerie Francisco, Vice Chair of Mass Campaigns, GABRIELA USA,gabrielawomen@gmail.com

GABRIELA USA participates in the Montreal International Women’s Conference and the founding of the International Women’s Alliance

Montréal, Québec, August 16, 2010 — In Montreal, women of GABRIELA USA joined over 350 participants representing 32 different countries, including Pakistan, India, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, Mali, the Czech Republic, Germany, Cuba, Guatemala, Ecuador, and Mexicothis past weekend to actively participate in the Montreal International Women’s Conference and the founding of the International Women’s Alliance.

GABRIELA USA was joined by local allies from all across the U.S. including members of VietUnity, Tadaima, Women’s Fightback Network in Boston and New York City, Million Workers March, Picture the Homeless, the International Action Center , Latin American Workers’ Project (NYC), Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST), Transit Workers’ Union, Cihuatl Tlatocan- Maiz, and the May 1st Coalition.

From August 13 to 15, delegates participated in plenaries, workshops, and discussions surrounding a wide variety of themes, including women workers, peasant women, indigenous struggles, developmental aggression, violence against women, racism, discrimination and genocide, as well as resistance to wars and imperialist aggression. From these workshops and plenaries, drafts of resolutions have been created to tackle these struggles on local and international levels.

During a plenary session, delegates unanimously endorsed a declaration in support of the 490 Tamils from Sri Lanka who arrived aboard the MV Sun Sea in Vancouver, Canada, decrying their ongoing detention while calling upon the Canadian government to accept them as refugees. In addition, participants also affirmed their solidarity and demanded the release of the 43 health workers who were illegally detained in the Philippines in February this past year.

On August 16, delegates of the conference formalized the assembly by creating the International Women’s Alliance which will build coordination of local, regional and international campaigns, to promote mutual support and the sharing of resistance strategies, and to mobilize women around the world in the struggle against imperialism, violence and capitalist globalization. The first assembly of the International Women’s Assembly will take place in July 2011 in the Philippines.

“As Filipina women, it is our duty as mothers, daughters, and sisters to come together and strengthen the movement against the exploitation and oppression of women rooted in the global imperialist system. We can no longer take the brunt of the economic crisis brought about by this system which causes so much hunger, unemployment, forced migration, and militarization all over the world. The time is now to bridge our struggles and strengthen the solidarity of women’s organizations worldwide. The formation of the International Women’s Alliance will help fortify the growing people’s movement against imperialism,” stated Raquel Redondiez, chairperson of GABRIELA USA.

GABRIELA USA is a national alliance of progressive Filipina women’s organizations including Samahan ng Kababaihan (San Francisco), babae (San Francisco), Pinay sa Seattle (Seattle), Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (New York City), and Sisters of Gabriela Awaken (Los Angeles).

The initiative for the MIWC and IWA came out of a resolution of the women’s commission of the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) which met during the 3rd International Assembly of the ILPS in Hong Kong in 2008.

For more information about the conference and alliance, please visit http://miwc2010.wordpress.com/.

Local Women Artists Combat Violence Through a Movement to Uncover Self-Expression

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 30, 2010

Reference: Irma Bajar, Chairperson, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), fire.nyc@gmail.com

Local Women Artists Combat Violence Through a Movement to Uncover Self-Expression

New York, NY – On Thursday, July 29, 2010, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), a grassroots Filipino women’s organization under the GABRIELA USA alliance, held its first gallery opening at Gallery 1199 of SEIU.  The exhibit showcased work produced by various women artists during FiRE’s new five-week art program, Movement to Uncover Self-Expression (MUSE.)  Through the generous support of the Bread and Roses Cultural Project, the MUSE program’s workshops invited women in the local New York metropolitan area from diverse racial, generational, and socioeconomic backgrounds and sexual orientations to discuss female identity and issues faced by women in a safe, nurturing, and creative space.

One hundred friends and family of the MUSE artists, and organizational supporters and allies filled the gallery space throughout the night.  “We really wanted to create a safe space where different women could explore their everyday life through art and I’m glad to see its product tonight in this gallery.  The women artists really connected and opened up dialogue about experiences they share,” said Arlene Rodrigo, Cultural Chair of FiRE and one of the teaching artists of MUSE.  Each week was dedicated to a different medium: collage, drawing, watercolor, poetry, and photography. Workshops were also led by Anna Sian and Sara Jimenez, with a guest appearance by Lolan Buhain Sevilla, all of whom are FiRE members.

Within the five weeks, the MUSE participants explored the various forms women experience violence in their lives, and learned more about GABRIELA USA’s nation-wide educational campaign “iVOW to Fight Violence Against Women” (iVOW.)  The iVOW campaign expands the definition of and awareness around violence against women, as well as create ways to combat its various forms in society.  An interactive installation titled “Unpacking Violence,” inspired by FiRE member Julie Jamora, featured the campaign’s Seven Deadly Sins Against Women. The installation featured seven balikbayan boxes (care packages commonly sent by Filipino migrants to family members left behind in the Philippines) each representing sex trafficking and prostitution; domestic violence; sexual harassment; rape, incest, and child abuse; sexual exploitation and discrimination; limited access to reproductive healthcare; and violence as a result of political repression.   “The iVOW campaign not only creates awareness around the physical, sexual, and emotional abuses as experienced by women,” said Irma Bajar, chairperson of FiRE, “but also points to effects created by government repression and economic migration.”

“We see the importance of a safe space like MUSE, which investigates how creative expression impacts society,” said Joseline Davila, Finance Chair of FiRE.  “Through a collective artistic process, we hope to show the intersections between the arts and political action, not only for our members, but for our entire community.”

FiRE members Amihan and Mona taking vows to fight violence against women

MUSE Gallery Exhibition

"Unpacking Violence" installation inspired by FiRE member Julie Jamora

FiRE members and MUSE Teaching Artists - Arlene, Anna, Sara

FiRE - GABRIELA USA

FiRE - GABRIELA USA

FiRE is going to Montreal!

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Montreal International Women’s Conference 2010 ( http://www.miwc2010.org )
August 13-16, 2010
News and links May 21, 2010

Preparations are in full swing for our major international women’s conference involving women from five continents to be held in
Montreal, Quebec, Canada this August 13-16, 2010. The Montreal International Women’s Conference 2010 is an ambitious undertaking to mark the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day and is being organized by a global collective of women including the local group, Women of Diverse Origins.

The opening ceremonies will feature Ellen Gabriel, president of Quebec Native Women, and the talented singing group, Odaya, a Native American drumming and singing group composed of five women belonging to different Nations (Saulteaux, Anishnabeg, Mohawk, Innu and Wendat).

The location of the conference has now been confirmed at Le 7400 Saint Laurent, at 7400 Saint Laurent Boulevard in Montreal with
nearby public transport via the DeCastelnau Metro. The site includes comfortable residences for conference participants as well as meeting rooms and a large hall for plenary sessions.

The final day of the conference, August 16, will lead to the founding of the International Women’s Alliance.

Please visit the official site at http://www.MIWC2010.org