For Immediate Release
March 8, 2016
Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA, email@example.com (925) 726-5768
International Working Women’s Day was established to commemorate the struggle and resistance of working women in their workplaces and in this spirit, GABRIELA USA, a US-based national alliance of progressive Filipino women’s organizations fighting for genuine liberation of the Philippines, begins the countdown to its 3rd National Congress, to be held on March 19-20 in San Francisco. The general assembly will include all chapter organizations, women’s desks and chapter organizing committees from regions across the US, including New York, DC, Chicago, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Over 200 participants, allies, supporters, members, and their families, are expected to gather in celebration of the last 4 years of their work and look ahead to unite on a general plan of action carrying the theme, “Abante! (Advance): Women Defend the People’s Democratic Rights for Our Dignity and Self-Determination”.
The two day event will begin with Congress proper on Saturday March 19, where invited keynote speakers Bai Ali Indayla and Cat Brooks will address the general assembly. Bai Ali Indayla is a Bangsomoro activist from the Maguindanaon region of Mindanao Philippines and 3rd nominee of Gabriela Women’s Partylist. Indayla is outspoken on issues of militarization, peacebuilding, and human rights violations in Bangsamoro communities. Cat Brooks is the founder of the Anti-Police Terror Project, co-chair of the ONYX Organizing Committee, member of Black Lives Matter Bay Area and one of the Black Friday 14. Brooks has organized several BLM and other protests in Oakland and has emerged as one of the most prominent organizers in the Black Lives Matter movement. We are honored to have the presence of these very powerful women to draw on the connections of state sponsored repression from the US to the Philippines and its impact to women across the globe.
On Sunday, March 20, GABRIELA USA collaborates with the National Ecumenical Forum for Filipino Concerns to hold an ecumenical service honoring migrant women in light of International Working Women’s Day. During this Palm Sunday Service, we will be greeted with a message of solidarity from Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, a Black transgender elder and veteran of the Stonewall Rebellion who has been fighting for the rights of trans women of color for over 40 years. She is a mother, father, grandmother and grandfather to family both blood and chosen, and an icon in the struggle for transgender civil rights.
The weekend will culminate with an indignation rally outside the Philippine consulate, on Monday March 21, to condemn the recent fire at the Haran evacuation center in the Philippines, which injured 5 people, and at least 2 lumad children. GABRIELA USA members will highlight the heightening aggression of exploitative forces that continue to oppress our people and the state repression that hinders our right to self-determination.
On this International Working Women’s Day, members of GABRIELA USA unites to end all forms of violence including state repression, fascism, militarization and wars of aggression. Just as we are taking part in struggles to defend our land, our jobs, our livelihood and our rights, we must join in the struggle for a just and lasting peace in our homeland and around the globe. This is the legacy of International Working Women’s Day. We should affirm our commitment to build a strong women’s movement towards people’s emancipation. Women will never be free in a capitalist economy where crisis plagues us all and where imperialist wars of aggression are inevitable. We must continue to defend our countries from foreign aggression, defend our sovereignty toward national and social liberation. Let us continue to uphold the militant tradition of March 8 International Working Women’s Day!
Sulong Gabriela! Lumaban Makibaka!