GABRIELA USA member featured on CUNY BA

Jackie Mariano: Immigrant Community Organizing

By Beth Kneller, Deputy Director ⋅ October 8, 2009

Jackie Mariano
Immigrant Community Organizing

B.A. Sept. 2011, Magna cum Laude

Home College: Hunter

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Lina Newton, Political Science, Hunter

Jackie Mariano entered CUNY BA in Fall 2009. She is a young Filipino-American woman born and raised in Elmhurst, Queens; she lives in the most diverse borough of New York City and goes to one of the most diverse colleges in the United States. Matters of race and identity are deeply important to her. She says “I am a woman. I am a person of color. I am a daughter of immigrants. I am an activist. I hope every day to fit into this world as an equal.”

Mariano is very involved in a grassroots women’s organization called Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), a member organization of GABRIELA-USA, the first overseas chapter of GABRIELA, the national alliance of progressive women’s organizations in the Philippines. She is also a dedicated advocate of Asian American Studies, and was president of the Coalition for the Revitalization of Asian American Studies at Hunter (CRAASH). She says “I am always inspired by the power of student movements to defend the right to an affordable, accessible education, particularly for the availability of ethnic and gender studies.” In her spare time, Mariano is a poet and spoken word artist who infuses her work, often in a comedic style, with issues of oppression and identity.

Mariano is constructed her area of concentration with courses in Asian American Studies, Sociology, Political Science, and Women’s and Gender Studies, courses such as Asian American Civil Rights and the Law, U.S. Immigration Policy, and Social Movements and Social Change. She is considering going to law school to focus on civil rights law and continue organizing the Filipino-American/Filipino-immigrant community locally and nationally.

Upon graduating, she wrote to update us on her activities:

“I spent a month from August to September in Long Beach, CA interning at the Filipino Migrant Center, a relatively new nonprofit organization that educates, organizes, and mobilizes the Filipino migrant worker community. I did research on Filipino domestic workers while attending the National Domestic Worker’s Alliance Congress in San Francisco; lobbied in Sacramento to pass the Domestic Worker’s Bill of Rights, which has also passed in NY; received training on domestic violence prevention and case management; taught a workshop to youth on globalization and labor migration; and assisted in the day to day tasks of the FMC.

When I returned to NYC at the end of September, I immediately started a position at the Flushing YMCA Beacon 194, a YMCA community center based in JHS 194 in Whitestone, Queens. I am an after school Program Coordinator for middle school youth. I run several educational and civic engagement programs. They include the renowned Youth and Government, a mock NY State government program, Teens Take the City, a mock NYC government program, and Y-Scholars, a goal-oriented program that teach youth to plan for their future.

As for my community organizing volunteer work, I have recently been elected to serve at the Vice Chairperson of Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) – GABRIELA USA. I’ve been very active in the recent Occupy Wall Street movement, highlighting the experience of immigrant workers in the 99% in an anti-labor trafficking campaign launched by the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns and BAYAN-USA.

As for my creative work, I’ve picked up the ukulele and written songs inspired by the communities I work with.”