NY/NJ Filipinos Launch Philippine Solidarity Week, Protests Plans of U.S. Military Build-Up in the Philippines

February 1, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Reference: Yves Nibungco, Regional Coordinator, BAYAN-USA
Contact: bayanusa.ne

NY/NJ Filipinos Launch Philippine Solidarity Week,

Protests Plans of U.S. Military Build-Up in the Philippines

New York, NY- BAYAN-USA launches Philippine Solidarity Week, a week-long series of events that raises awareness and solidarity for the continuing struggle for Filipinos to gain national liberation. As a result of the experiences during the Philippine-American War, the US government and military developed war tactics, torture, killing, occupation, and counter-insurgency operations they have used in many other countries such as in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. This year, Philippine Solidarity Week begins on February 4th, the 113th anniversary of the 1899 Philippine-American War with a rally in front of the Philippine Consulate in New York to protest the proposed U.S. military build-up in the Philippines.

Protest against militarization in the Philippines

Government officials from the U.S. and the Philippines recently confirmed reports by Washington Post regarding ongoing talks of increasing U.S. military operations and stationing in the Philippines. According to an unnamed Philippine military general, the talks allegedly aim to increase drills to test military readiness to protect offshore oil and natural gas platforms in the South China Sea.

This, according to Filipino activists, is a renewed assault on Philippine sovereignty and is more of a threat to Philippine national security. “This is clearly part of the U.S. government’s attempt to maintain its domination over the region’s economic sphere and contain its biggest economic rival, China”, stated BAYAN-USA Chairperson, Bernadette Ellorin. Following the demonstration outside of the Philippine Consulate, BAYAN-USA will be marching to Times Square to join the larger No War on Iran rally, a nationally coordinated event via the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC).

Building Solidarity for the Philippines

Philippine Solidarity Week is organized by BAYAN-USA to raise awareness regarding the struggle of Filipino people back home and to build support for it here in the U.S. It is a whole week of events starting from February 4 onwards, to signify the beginning of the Philippine American war of 1899.

Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012

Stand Against U.S. Imperialist Aggression on Iran & Military Build-up in the Philippines

Description: This Feb. 4, exactly 113 years since the Philippine-American war of 1899, BAYAN-USA calls on the community to come and join us in front of the Philippine Consulate in New York to protest President Benigno Aquino III’s continued puppetry to American governments’ hegemonic schemes. We will be holding a picket in to register our opposition against Aquino’s puppetry, against the planned military build up in the Philippines and the throughout the Asia-Pacific region. We will then be marching to merge with the bigger anti-war on Iran at Times Square.

Venue Information: Feb. 4, 12:00pm-12:30pm, Philippine Consulate General, 556 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10036

No War On Iran: National Day of Action

Description: BUILD FEB. 4 EMERGENCY DEMONSTRATION TO STOP U.S. WAR AGAINST IRAN

NO WAR! NO SANCTIONS! NO INTERVENTION! NO ASSASSINATIONS

A broad spectrum of U.S.-based anti-imperialist and anti-war organizations, including the IAC, agreed on a Jan. 17 conference call to hold coordinated protests across the country on Saturday, Feb. 4. The demands will be: “No war, no sanctions, no intervention, no assassinations against Iran.”

Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012

International Migrants Alliance: 1 Million Signatures Campaign Launch

Description: The International Migrants Alliance (IMA) invites community organizations representing immigrants from different countries to an assembly to coordinate the campaign for the collection of 1 million signatures for a just and humanitarian immigration reform promoting the integration of the undocumented into society, permitting a dignified life, access to education, healthcare, and work without being victims of exploitation, abuse and violence. The petitions will be delivered to the White House and the US Congress.

Venue Information: Feb 5, Sunday, 2:00pm at the Bayanihan Community Center, 40-21 69th St, Woodside, NY 11377; Take 69 St (7), Jackson Hts – Roosevelt Av (E, F, M, R), 74 St – Broadway (7)

Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012

Philippine Social Realities Exposure Trip 2012 Info Session (Sponsored by NYCHRP)

Description: This summer NYCHRP is going on a Philippine Social Realities Exposure Trip and we want YOU! Join us for a special information session to find out about the awesome summer that is to come!

Venue Information: SATURDAY FEBRUARY 11th, 7:00pm; doors open at 6:30pm; at the International Action Center, 55 W. 17th Street / 5th Floor, NYC

Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012

NEIGHBORHOOD WORD: “LOVE & SOLIDARITY IN QUEENS”

Pinoy Poets and Writers Celebrate Love Stories, Philippine Independence, and the Filipino-American Community in Queens

Description: FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Please join us for a fun-filled literary and community reading celebrating love stories and love of country. A gathering of acclaimed Pinoy poets and writers come together with Filipino community members in Queens to share fiction, poetry, hip-hop, and more. Join us for a rollicking afternoon of storytelling, camaraderie, and mouth-watering Filipino food!

Venue: Feb 12, Sunday @ 3:00pm at the Bayanihan Community Center, 40-21 69th St, Woodside, NY 11377; Take 69 St (7), Jackson Hts – Roosevelt Av (E, F, M, R), 74 St – Broadway (7)

Monday, Feb. 13, 2012

Portrait of a Freedom Fighter: A Book Launching of the Selected Writings of Jose Maria Sison Vols. 1-4

Description: The Selected Writings of Jose Maria Sison, Volumes 1-4 is a comprehensive compilation of Sison’s writings on socialism, imperialism, war and plunder, peace, terrorism, and peoples resistance spanning over 40 years, a period of time in which Sison served as fiery young leader in the Philippine revolution.

Venue Information: Monday, February 13, 7-9pm at Bluestockings Bookstore, 172 Allen Street (between Stanton and Rivington), New York, New York 10002. Trains: F/M to 2nd Avenue or J/M/Z to Essex/Delancey Sts.

Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012

Why Occupy? Teach in @ St. Peter’s College (Social Justice Dept)

Description: St. Peter’s College Social Justice Program and Occupy Jersey City is bringing “WHY OCCUPY: Inspire, Organize, Mobilize For a Brighter Future” to Jersey City! An all-day event on the origins of the Occupy Wall Street Movement and other social movements. Discussions, exhibits, arts, culture, connections and making history. FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! Light refreshments will be provided.

Venue Information: Wednesday, February 15, 2012; 8:30am to 1:00pm; McIntyre Lounge, St. Peter’s College, 2641 John F. Kennedy Blvd, Jersey City, NJ

For more information and a full listing of events during Philippine Solidarity Week, visit http://www.philippinesolidarity.wordpress.com.

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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

Weight Loss Plan for Aquino: Drop Arroyo’s Baggage and Adopt the 4K Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 25, 2010

Reference: Rhonda Ramiro, BAYAN-USA, secgen@bayanusa.org

Weight Loss Plan for Aquino: Drop Arroyo’s Baggage and Adopt the 4K Program

Filipinos in the U.S. Urge Philippine President Aquino to Present Plan to Address the People’s Needs at This Year’s State of the Nation Address

BAYAN-USA will conduct actions in four cities across the United States on Monday, July 26, to mark the first annual State of the Nation Address delivered by Philippine President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.  President Aquino’s term began ominously this month with the killing of five activists in less than two weeks, a troubling sign in the wake of the violence-ridden presidency of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

“We want action, not excuses, from President Aquino,” said Bernadette Ellorin, Chair of BAYAN-USA. “If President Aquino feels weighed down by the mess left by Arroyo, he can shed the former president’s legacy by abandoning Arroyo’s failed policies and implementing programs that provide decent jobs, redistribute land, safeguard national sovereignty, and end state-sponsored terror by the armed forces and paramilitary.”

The demonstrations in the U.S. will coincide with actions conducted by BAYAN in the Philippines as well as in Hong Kong, Canada, and Australia where millions of overseas Filipino workers reside.  Demonstrators will express their concern about the continuing human rights violations targeting activists, as well as present the “People’s Agenda for National Survival.”  The Agenda includes specific recommendations to increase the “4K’s”:

  • Katarungan [Justice] – investigate and prosecute Gloria Arroyo and all perpetrators of human rights violations; free the Morong 43 and all political prisoners; justice for victims of human rights violations
  • Kalayaan [Sovereignty] – terminate the U.S.-R.P. Visiting Forces Agreement; eject all foreign military personnel from the Philippines; repeal the Mining Act of 1995
  • Karapatan [Rights] –  end state-sponsored violence; stop the killings of activists; terminate Operation Plan Bantay Laya and all counter-insurgency programs; advocate for the rights of Filipino migrants abroad including comprehensive immigration reform in the U.S.
  • Kabuhayan [Livelihood] – institute a living wage increase; end the Value Added Tax on basic commodities; implement a genuine agrarian reform program; scrap the unfair stock distribution option

“The Filipino people suffered far too long under the deepening crisis of poverty and rampant state-sponsored violence perpetrated by the US-backed Arroyo regime.  We need immediate relief, and President Aquino has the power to deliver it, if he so chooses,” stated Ellorin. “Aquino needs to stop the killings, prosecute GMA, and end the culture of impunity by conducting thorough investigations of past human rights abuses and prosecuting the abusers now.”

Actions in the U.S. will take place this week in the following locations:

Jersey City

Demonstration

Monday, July 26, 5:30 PM

Meet on corner of Summit Ave and Newark Ave near the Journal Square Path Station

Los Angeles

Demonstration at the Philippine Consulate

Monday, July 26, 5:30 PM

In front of the Philippine Consulate

3600 Wilshire Blvd (between S Harvard Blvd and S Kingsley Dr), Los Angeles

San Francisco

Demonstration and March to the Philippine Consulate

Monday, July 26, 5:00PM

Gather at Powell and Market Street, San Francisco

March to Philippine Consulate (447 Sutter Street) begins at 5:30 PM

Seattle

Informational Action

Sunday, August 1, 12:00 noon

At the Pista Sa Nayon festival, Seward Park

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The US Chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, or BAYAN USA, is an alliance of 14 Filipino organizations across the US representing youth, students, women, workers, and human rights advocates. As the largest overseas chapter of BAYAN Philippines founded in 2005, BAYAN USA serves as an information bureau for the national democratic movement in the Philippines as well as a campaign center for anti-imperialist Filipinos in the United States. For more information, visit www.bayanusa.org.

Filipino Women in NYC Share Stories, Strength, and Vows to Fight Violence Against Women

For Immediate Release
April 24, 2010

Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chair, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE)-GABRIELA USA, fire.nyc@gmail.com, 925-726-5768

Filipino Women in NYC Share Stories, Strength, and Vows to Fight Violence Against Women
3rd Annual Pinay Herstories in NYC ——

New York, NY–On April 22, 2010, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) held its annual Pinay HERstories at Bluestockings Bookstore on the Lower East Side, Manhattan. The well-attended event, part of GABRIELA USA’s national showcase, explored the Filipina experience through personal narratives, focusing on the important and often-silenced issue of violence against women.

During the event, audience members participated by reading aloud the seven categories of violence against women and children GABRIELA USA is highlighting in their campaign “iVow to Fight Violence Against Women”– sex trafficking and prostitution, domestic violence, rape, incest, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual discrimination and exploitation, limited access to reproductive health care, and violence as a result of political repression. An impressive lineup of Pinay performers from New York, New Jersey, Seattle, California, and the Philippines gave voice and depth to these issues sharing their experiences through poetry, music, and spoken word.

CUNY Hunter student and a first time performer, Rosalyn Jimenez, shared a poem about the disgust and shame that she feels when she is harassed by men in the street. Kristine Juntura, a 17-year old student at Archbishop Molloy High School, performed an emotional piece about a story of a friend who was in an abusive relationship. Joanna Mariano, another 15-year old high school student, dedicated a cover of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” to any woman who has ever felt insignificant or weak, reminding us that we are all beautiful.

“Although this year’s theme was a bit more serious than past years, it also featured the cultural and creative work of young Filipinas which showed the audience and our community that it is important to talk about this important issue with our younger sisters, siblings and children,” Jackie Mariano, one of the organizers of the event stated.

Laurel Fantauzzo took us back through time in a funny yet poignant nonfiction essay, as she tried to make sense of the history of violence in her family that has been passed down from mother to mother. Maria Avetria and FiRE members Hanalei Ramos and Melanie Dulfo also performed, sharing poetry that directly pointed to globalism and militarism as main factors that have forced many Filipinas into prostitution.

Valerie Francisco, FiRE’s chairperson, extended an invitation to the audience to become more involved in their communities especially on the issue of violence. She noted that Gabriela Women’s Party in the upcoming Philippine elections will be raising this issue at the forefront of their campaign and that our work echoes the brave women who are blazing trails in stopping violence against women in such a patriarchal culture. Francisco reminded the audience that everyone in the audience can take a stand as well, “Exploitation of undocumented workers and ICE raids in our community is violence too! Let’s take a stand together on May 1st, we ask you to march for genuine U.S. immigration reform at Union Square!”

A surprise performance by representatives of the Cordillera People’s Alliance, Jen Awingan and Jill Carino, who are participating at the annual UN Forum on Indigenous People, engaged the audience through an indigenous song and dance in Ilocano. Rogue Pinay of 1st Quarter Storm closed the night off with poetry, interpretive dance, and hip-hop. Her work addressed violence against women in a global, capitalist context. Audience members moved and danced while shouting, “Makibaka, huwag matakot!” along with the hip-hop artist. The night concluded on an energetic note, as audience members and performers alike shouted their participation in the “iVOW” campaign.

On its 3rd run of Pinay Herstories, the audience and FiRE members are reminded of how important and significant all women creative spaces and events are to bring to light the issues that are pressing in their lives. The event brought violence into the center of the dialogue and encouraged the audience to take up violence as a community issue, not just an individual problem. “We need to keep talking about violence against women and children. We need to keep creating spaces that empower women and put their stories in the forefront,” Mariano continued.

Pinay HERstories is a part of GABRIELA-USA’s national campaign to end violence against women. “iVOW to Fight VAW” is a comprehensive campaign that addresses violence against women as issues of sex trafficking and prostitution, domestic violence, rape, incest, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual discrimination and exploitation, limited access to reproductive health care, and violence as a result of political repression. The campaign, which launched in February 2010, urges people to take a stand and commit to ending violence against women.

Join FiRE on May Day!
Saturday, May 1, 2010
12:00pm – 4:00pm
UNION SQUARE 14th St. & Broadway, Manhattan

“iVOW to Fight VAW” @ CUNY Hunter College

As a part of GABRIELA-USA’s campaign to fight violence against women (VAW), Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) participated in CUNY Hunter College’s V-Day Fair, a space that addresses and combats violence against women. Thank you to the Women and Gender Studies Program at Hunter for organizing the event!!!

Here is a compilation of the Hunter community’s VOW to fight VAW.