For Immediate Release
July 8, 2011
Reference: Valerie Francisco, GABRIELA USA, Solidarity Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org
US Delegates Link Arms with Women From All Over the World at the First International Women’s Alliance Assembly in Philippines
Manila, Philippines–From July 5 to July 6, 10 delegates from GABRIELA USA organizations Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) in New York, BABAE in San Francisco, Sisters of Gabriela Awaken (SiGAw) in Los Angeles and Pinay sa Seattle in Seattle, joined by Monica Moorehead, a representative from the Women’s Fightback Network, NYC joined the first general assembly of the International Women’s Alliance (IWA) in the Philippines. In attendance was over 100 women from 60 or more grassroots women’s organizations from Africa, Latin America, Asia, Oceania and North America. The theme for the assembly, “Advance a Militant Anti-Imperialist Women’s Movement: Strengthen the International Women’s Alliance,” brought these women together to accept new members, ratify the alliance’s constitution, agree on an international plan for the next 4 years and elect the first-ever executive council of the IWA.
Monica Moorehead, one of the esteemed speakers of the first day plenary, shared the hardships and difficulties that are faced by working women, women of color and poor women in the US. She identified austerity measures and rampant attacks on migrant rights as key issues that women in the US struggle against. “It is timely for an assembly like this, an alliance like this to form because the attacks of imperialism on our people are intensifying and therefore the response of women from the grassroots must get stronger.” Moorehead’s contribution to the assembly brought light to the fact that even in the “developed” countries, women, their families and communities still fall victim to neoliberal attacks on social welfare and freedom.
The second day of the assembly called upon the expertise of delegates in women’s organizing and resistance strategies against the impacts of imperialism. Workshops on different global regions and their inputs ultimately became part of the IWA’s 4-year plan of action. Valerie Francisco, GABRIELA USA’s solidarity relations officer and a member of the organizing committee for the assembly stated, “Learning about the conditions and issues of women from different parts of the world allowed us to see the common patterns of imperialism and inspired us to take up resistance strategies that worked for women’s organizations in other places.” The time for delegates from the US to exchange lessons produced productive and informative discussion on forms of action and struggle.
The first general assembly ended with the recognition of “Women of Valor” who have dedicated their lives to cause of women’s rights and issues in the anti-imperialist struggle. The recognized women were Nanay Mameng Deunida of the Philippines, Clelia Santos of Argentina, Leila Khaled of Palestine and Edith Ballantyne of Sweden. The assembly ended on a high note as the delegates accomplished all of the goals set out for them, honored women in their ranks and looking forward to coordinating and working together with other women’s grassroots organizations in the future.