GABRIELA USA Demands Immediate Resignation from BS Aquino

For Immediate Release

February 25, 2015

Contact: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

AquinoResign3

 February 25, 2015 marks 29 years since the People Power Revolution or the EDSA Revolution ousted the 20-year long dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. The administration was rife with graft and corruption, teeming with human rights violations including murders, enforced disappearances, torture, and wrongful imprisonment of activists and anyone with a dissenting opinion. Today, the son of Marcos’ rival, Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino III, is president of the Philippines. Benigno Simeon Aquino III has followed the footsteps of his father’s adversary.

On January 25, 2015, an extremely violent encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, the southern part of the Philippines, killed 44 Special Action Forces, a mobile unit of the Philippine National Police, and members of the Moro Liberation Front (MILF), as well as civilians. Under BS Aquino’s watch this incident has exposed his administration’s subservience to US imperialist aggression, militarization and dominance as the clash that claimed the lives at the end of January has been linked to secret US military training, including the use of US drones, which undermines Philippine sovereignty. Additionally, Aquino has avoided any accountability as the widows and family members of the fallen have gone public with the trauma of the incident and seeking out justice.  When families of the killed SAF members confronted Aquino with questions, he responded with sarcasm.  Given this high profile incident, Aquino has demonstrated once again his incompetence and persistent neglect for the overall well-being of the country.

Furthermore, BS Aquino has been lackluster in the trial for the murder of Jennifer Laude, a transgender woman who was found dead on October 11, 2014 in Olongapo City. Aquino has done next to nothing to hold Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, the US military personnel who allegedly took Laude’s life, accountable for his crime. He would not so much as attend the wake of the slain transgender woman, claiming “I don’t attend wakes of people I don’t know”.  Although this case of trans-violence has gained international attention, this case comes after the Philippines and the US strengthened its ties with the recent Enhanced Defense Coordination Agreement (EDCA), which allows greater US access to Philippine military camps.

The Filipino people have had enough, and the clamor for BS Aquino’s resignation has increased as his arrogant lack of accountability and neglect of the Filipino people has time and time again proven his incompetency.  Aquino is part of a long history of inept leaders continuing the plunder of the country’s resources, and failed attempts to create any real meaningful change.  From the lessons of EDSA 1 and EDSA 2, we must push forward with an overhaul in the system, but in the interim, a body known as the Transition Council can be formed in the short term.  This interim body could run the state of affairs, which is representative of various groups that would have the genuine interest of the people in mind, until a more permanent government can be formed.  Let us reignite the power of the people once again to call BS Aquino’s resignation and continue the fight for genuine freedom and democracy in the Philippines.

GABRIELA USA chapters and affiliated organizations are holding various protest actions and education forums in light of the anniversary of People Power.

AquinoResign

Hold the US-Aquino regime accountable for the bloody incident in Mamasapano!

Aquino Resign! Oust the US-Aquino regime!

Establish a transition council! Advance genuine change!

US Out of the Philippines NOW!

#AquinoResign

#USOutofPH

###

 

Filipino Women and Allies Join One Billion Rising for Revolution to Demand Truth and Accountability from BS Aquino and Call for His Resignation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press Statement

February 17, 2015

Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

Filipino Women and Allies Join One Billion Rising for Revolution to Demand Truth and Accountability from BS Aquino and Call for His Resignation

From February 8-16th, 2015 GABRIELA-USA, along with partner organizations and individuals, in cities across the U.S. including Los Angeles, New York City, San Jose, Seattle, Portland and Washington DC joined the One Billion Rising (OBR) campaign to end all forms of violence against women and children, through flashmob dance, educational discussion, community forums, and cultural sharings in their local Filipino communities. This year’s OBR call “Rise for Revolution” was a global call for women, survivors of violence and their allies to demand justice and celebrate women’s determination to create a new kind of consciousness- one where violence will be resisted until its unthinkable. GABRIELA USA members across the nation also rose to resist state repression and negligence as the BS Aquino administration amplifies its attacks on the Filipino people. In urging for Aquino’s resignation, we recognize and demand the need for systematic change in the Philippines.

In the past few weeks, we’ve witnessed the failure of Philippine President Noynoy Aquino to come out and be held accountable for the encounter in Mamasapano where 44 Special Action Forces policemen were killed, along with members of the MILF, civilians and children. This U.S. led operation is proof that the US “war on terror” continues at the expense of Filipino lives. Precious Butiui, Chairperson of GABRIELA Seattle says, “In this third year of participation in OBR, we are demanding truth and accountability for this bloody Mamasapano encounter and demand BS Aquino to stop covering up and to tell the truth and step down from his presidency!”

Just last week, Isidro Rodriguez, an illegal recruiter from the Philippines who has committed several crimes of human trafficking was spotted in Spain. It is evident that the Philippine government has not held traffickers accountable for their crimes, even with a mounting global campaign against Rodriguez.  Pia Rivera of GABRIELA DC says, “Our members who are the Filipino trafficked survivors have been separated from their families, sent to the U.S. with broken promises and still face increasing debt. Rodriguez would not have been able to commit these crimes if it weren’t for the government’s Labor Export Policy which has continued to tear families apart. It is a policy that views the Filipino people as commodities and sources of remittances to uphold the failing economy.” The Aquino administration’s negligence proves that migrants are nothing but cash cows rather than human beings deserving of dignity and respect.

In New York City, Monique Wilson, the global director of One Billion Rising joined GABRIELA New York in their Pinay HERstories: “Migration to Liberation” event that reclaimed the Filipina narrative showing the resilience of Filipino migrant women and the power of community through stories, poetry, song and dance. Candice Sering, Chairperson of GABRIELA New York said, “We are dancing and rising for revolution because the Filipino people deserve to live a dignified life with adequate jobs, livable wages, housing and rights to land ownership.” For GABRIELA members in the US and the Philippines, the government is one of the worst perpetrators of violence against the livelihood of women and the security of their families’ ability to live full lives.

 Lastly, in San Francisco, Pia Cortez, Co-chairperson of GABRIELA stated, “The murder of Jennifer Laude, a trans woman by a U.S marine soldier is an example of unequal relationship between the Philippines and the U.S. Until now, justice for Jennifer has not been served. Her death would not have been possible if Noynoy did not authorize and did not allow U.S. troops in the country through the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.” The presence of U.S. military in Philippine soil has put the lives of women and children in danger, and US troops also endangers the lives of transgender people, as we have witnessed with the death of Jennifer Laude, and undoubtedly countless others. Cortez continued, “This is the same climate that we’re also seeing here in the United States, with the recent deaths of trans women of color.” Cortez makes the important global connection of trans-violence but also the need for resistance.

GABRIELA-USA calls on President BS Aquino to resign immediately due to the recent Mamasapano bloodbath and his continued failures, neglecting the Filipino people at home and abroad. We call on our global community to join the movement towards genuine freedom and liberation, and a world where women are free of all forms of violence imposed by a repressive imperialist system. Join us in commemorating International Working Women’s Day on March 8th as we continue to strengthen our collective resistance and power!

Hold the US-Aquino regime accountable for the bloody incident in Mamasapano!

Justice for Filipino Teachers and all victims of human trafficking! End the Labor Export Policy!

Justice for Jennifer Laude and all victims of anti-trans violence!

Aquino Resign!  Oust the US-Aquino regime!

 Check out GABRIELA USA’s One Billion Rising Videos:

GABRIELA New York OBR video with Monique Wilson

GABRIELA Los Angeles OBR video

GABRIELA Seattle OBR video

Breaking News Update! *** ISIDRO RODRIGUEZ SIGHTED IN SPAIN ***

February 12, 2015

WhereInTheWorldisIsidro

Isidro Rodriguez, recruitment agency owner and operator of a large-scale human trafficking scheme, was sighted in Granada, Spain this January by a victim of Rodriguez, who only recently discovered Rodriguez’s status and corrupt history after researching on the Migrante International website.

Since 2003, Rodriguez has victimized at least over 600 Filipino teachers experiencing fraud and abuse, between the Philippines, the United States and now Spain. Despite the placing a hold order against him at the Bureau of Immigrations and placing him on a “watchlist”, Isidro has been  able to freely leave the country with continued impunity.  He remains at large after having been convicted by a Manila regional trial court sentencing him to 11 years in prison for victimizing a Filipino teacher.

He has two existing warrants of arrest against him for illegal recruitment and estafa. Aside from the warrants, he has numerous pending cases of syndicated estafa and large-scale illegal recruitment and trafficking in persons filed in different courts by at least 300 Filipino teachers that he had victimized from 2009-2014. He also has pending complaints against him in US courts by Filipino teachers he has victimized there. Despite the many complaints filed by victims, being placed on a “watchlist” from the BI, Rodriguez continues on with business as usual.

Migrante International is calling for an urgent response from the Philippine Department of Justice and other concerned government agencies in Spain to arrest and extradite Rodriguez now!

Let’s continue to expose the US-Aquino regime in its continued quest to exploit the Filipino people. We have outlined a social media blitz below to prop the issue and call for Isidro’s immediate extradition and PNoy’s resignation as the chief trafficker of the Philippines.  We must expose the US-Aquino regime in its continued quest to exploit the Filipino people.

Action Plan:

As a response, please utilize all social media outlets and prop the image we have supplied with the following hashtags:

#Justice4FilipinoTeachers

#ArrestIsidroRodriguezNow

#PNOYHumanTraffickerinChief

#PNOYResign

 

Filipino Women Supports Black Resistance and Join Direct Action to Blockade Oakland Federal Building

For Immediate Release

January 16, 2015

Reference: Irma Bajar, International Relations Officer, GABRIELA USA, irmabajar@gmail.com

Third World 4 Black Power pic 1

Oakland, CA – More than two hundred protesters made headlines this morning with thirty activists effectively creating a blockade in front of two main entrances to the Oakland Federal Building as an act of solidarity for Black liberation, power and self-determination. In the wake of the increasing police brutality and murders committed against Black people across the country, organizers of the protest successfully blocked both entrances for four hours and twenty-eight minutes; four hours symbolic of the length of time that Michael Brown was left on the street after being gunned down by Ferguson police, and twenty-eight representing the every twenty-eight hours a black person is killed by state violence. Members of GABRIELA USA joined the blockade and protest, connecting the state repression faced by Filipinos in the Philippines to the police brutality faced by Black communities in the U.S.

Third World 4 Black Power pic 2

Irma Bajar, GABRIELA USA’s International Relations Officer was one of the individuals chained to the Federal Building doors alongside other activists representing international movements. “Today’s action was a demonstration of our support for Black Power and Resistance while connecting police violence here in the U.S. to a global structure that is fueled by imperialism. As a part of third world movements for liberation, we are committed to the militant struggle for Black liberation and self-determination,” says Bajar.

Elaine Villasper, GABRIELA USA Vice Chair of Membership addressed the crowd of protesters and explained that BART has operated a fifteen year program where BART officers go to the Philippines to hold trainings and consultations with the Philippine National Police (PNP). “These trainings and consultations are just a guise for sharing tactics of repression, the outcome of which is the murder of innocent people. The murder of Black lives like Oscar Grant is directly connected to the murders of activists in the Philippines. We must make these connections, link arms, and stand in resistance against these attacks against our lives and our communities.”

Third World 4 Black Power pic 3

Today’s action will be followed by a mass protest and march on Monday, January 19 at 12:00PM from Fruitvale BART to the Oakland Coliseum. GABRIELA USA will be joining the Third World Resistance contingent and welcomes all allies and supporters to join us in reclaiming Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy, and march in solidarity with Black communities.

#3rdWorld4BlackPower #MLKShutItDown #BlackPowerMatters

###

GABRIELA USA Speak Out Against State Violence on International Human Rights Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 10, 2014
Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

GABRIELA USA Speak Out Against State Violence on International Human Rights Day

State Violence and Impunity

During International Human Rights Day, GABRIELA USA demands justice for all of those who have had their human rights violated, especially those who lost their lives. Our communities are reeling from the ongoing and intensifying state-sanctioned murders of people of color in the US. The list of names of slaughtered black and brown men, women, trans-women, and children is too long and ever-growing.

We grieve the police killings of unarmed Americans whose crime was the color of their skin. In the wake of the subsequent grand jury decisions not to indict police officers Darren Wilson and Daniel Wilson, in the cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, respectively, GABRIELA USA members have joined mass protests with statements of indignation to express our horror and anger at the loss of life of these men and the disregard for their lives by the state.

And still, there are countless women and trans people of color who have also been killed with impunity by police that remain nameless with their lives invisible and the pain in their communities unheard. Police have contributed to the disproportionately high murder rate of trans-women and cis-women*. The cases of Tyisha Miller, killed in her car after she became unconscious after having a seizure in 1998 and in 2012, Rekia Boyd was shot by police while holding a cell phone in her car at a park have been silenced. The murders of young mothers and their children such as Tarika Wilson and her infant son killed in 2008 during a police raid at home and Aiyana Jones, seven years old, was shot by a Detroit police raid in 2010 while sleeping in her bed, cannot continue to be silenced.

The Philippines Under U.S. Imperialism
The American forces’ murderous reputation and culture of impunity extends internationally. In the Philippines, U.S. Marine PFC Joseph Scott Pemberton violently killed Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old transgender Filipina. Instead of facing criminal charges under Philippine law, Pemberton is still in U.S. custody and benefits from its protection. Laude’s murder follows the tired pattern of Filipina victims of violence at the hands of U.S. troops illegally stationed in the Philippines. Under the Philippines-U.S. Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), the Philippines has ultimately given up its rights to its colonial American master and relegated Filipinos, and especially Filipina women, to second-class citizens.
The inaction and failure of the Philippine government to protect its own citizens exposes its true agenda: to serve the economic and military interests of the U.S.
A case in point of this is the frequent and extreme typhoons that have erased whole communities. Due to Philippine government corruption and pandering to multinational corporations, the country suffers from weak infrastructure, landslides due to large-scale mining and logging, poor warning systems, and hoarding of relief funds and goods by the Philippine government. U.S. military “relief” is in fact a ploy to justify sending in more troops, as to this day, many families have not received any relief and instead have relied on people’s volunteer organizations on the ground and foreign humanitarian groups, such as the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns. Aquino’s political impotence reveals the nature of his presidency as a puppet for U.S. interests.

The U.S.’ imperialist efforts toward political and economic domination is a key contributor to global human rights violations in all its forms. The global migration phenomenon is a result of unjust economic policies designed and implemented to benefit the U.S. and a handful of the most powerful governments and corporations at the expense of migrant workers. Filipinos, especially women, fall victim to labor and sex trafficking. GABRIELA USA is calling for justice for over 300 teachers who were recently trafficked by Isidro Rodriguez in Washington, D.C. Predatory agents like Rodriguez take advantage of the vulnerability of migrant workers due to weak legal protections in both their home and host countries.
The People’s Demands

The Philippine government, under President Benigno Aquino, is complicit in serving the agenda of the U.S. imperialists to break into the markets of the Asia Pacific at the costs of the basic rights and welfare of its own people. GABRIELA USA exposes the U.S. imperialist agenda motivated by profit and power. We oppose state violence against all people in the U.S. and internationally including cis-women, trans-women, immigrants and migrants, and we recognize the common threads in these narratives.

GABRIELA USA joins the voices of our kababayans in calling for President Aquino to step down or be removed by the people’s will. Aquino must answer for countless criminal acts during his regime, including but not limited to facilitation of human trafficking, negligence in response to natural disasters, and abetting the U.S. in its “War on Terror.” Aquino is murdering and terrorizing Filipinos using military funding from the same government that murders and terrorizes its own black and brown communities with highly militarized police forces. It’s all part of a bigger picture and it needs to stop now.

GABRIELA USA calls on you to join us in support of our campaigns against economic, state, military, and gender violence here in the U.S., in the Philippines, and internationally. We demand justice for victims of police violence, human trafficking, man-made environmental disasters, and economic inequality. We demand justice for all victims of human rights violations!

Ultimately, we are fighting for the dignity and respect for all life and the genuine liberation and freedom of all oppressed people.

End Police Brutality! Black Lives Matter!
End Violence Against Women! End Transmisogyny Now! Justice for Jennifer Laude!
U.S. Out of the Philippines! Junk the Visiting Forces Agreement! Junk the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement!
Justice for Victims of Typhoons! End Large-Scale Mining and Logging Now!
Justice for Trafficked Teachers and All Victims of Human Trafficking!
Oust Aquino Now!

#InternationalHumanRightsDay #IHRD #InternationalSolidarity #BlackLivesMatter #ICantBreathe #JunkVFA #JunkEDCA #Justice4JenniferLaude #EndTransmisogynyNow #TeachThemALesson #NAFCONUSA #USTroopsOut #OustAquino #SulongGABRIELA #GABRIELAUSA

Show your support in calling for the transfer of Pemberton to Philippine custody, an end to VFA and EDCA, and an end to anti-LGBTQ violence by signing GABRIELA USA’s Jennifer Laude petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/justice-for-filipina-trans-woman-jennifer-laude.

* Cisgender (often abbreviated to simply cis) describe related types of gender identity where individuals’ experiences of their own gender match the sex they were assigned at birth.
###

GABRIELA USA Commemorates the Anniversary of Typhoon Pablo During 18 Days of Action for IDEVAW

December 4, 2014

Reference: Rhondalei Gabuat, Secretary General, GABRIELA Seattle, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

IDEVAW_FB_BannerToday, December 4, marks the 2nd year anniversary of Typhoon Pablo, the strongest tropical storm to hit the southern island of Mindanao claiming hundreds of lives, and destroying the homes of thousands with little help from the Philippine government.  Survivors of Pablo continue to demand justice for the lack of relief aid provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Last year, another tropical storm, Typhoon Haiyan, hit the eastern seaboard of the Philippines where over 10,000 lives were lost and 4 million people were displaced.  After one year, people living in the areas hardest like Tacloban, are still struggling to recover and reclaim their lives.  Meanwhile, Super Typhoon Hagupit is gathering strength in the Western Pacific and threatening to deal another significant blow the Philippines.

As climate change and the warming of air and sea temperatures give more power to tropical cyclones, countries like the Philippines suffer the blow.  Extreme poverty, lack of infrastructure and exploitation worsen the impact, especially to women and children.  Government neglect has been an ongoing outcry of the Filipino people during times of calamity.  As each natural disaster pummels through the country, there is an increased military presence, not just by the AFP but of the deployment of more than 5,000 US soldiers in the country.  Women and children become vulnerable during these volatile times and become victim to increased human trafficking and violence.

Several members of the PNW region visited areas impacted by Typhoon Pablo and Haiyan to aid in ongoing relief work, and while the rebuilding continues, one thing remains intact, continued neglect and unpreparedness by the Philippine government.  Reflections by those who saw first-hand the impacts of these “unnatural” disasters were shared.

IDEVAW Pablo Anniv collage

“On my last two trips to the Philippines, the Manobo have taken me into their homes, their schools, fed me and my children, taught me their way of life, rebuilt their lives from one unnatural disaster to another. A community with very little resources has taught me so much about resilience, hardship and sacrifice. Once again, greed and corruption drive the Lumad off their ancestral domain because of harassment, intimidation, and forced use of violence. I’m tired of hearing the NPA rebels being scapegoated as terrorists living amongst the Lumad when the real terrorists lurk around in uniform, whose duty it is to defend the rights and land of their own people, and instead get away with hundreds of thousands of unwarranted human rights violations so we can just give away our nation’s natural resources to foreign investment. When they themselves reach a tipping point and lay their lives on the line to defend these lands, I raise my fist. Dugang kadasig!” ~Donna Denina – Gabriela USA, Philippine Exposurist 2013

“I connected with Precious and Henry who would be the very first U.S.-based activists to accompany the kasamas to provide over 12,000 aid packs of food, water and other needed supplies to Tacloban and Eastern and Western Samar. Though I was not able to accompany the caravan, I was honored to have helped share their stories and experiences about their efforts via social media and emails. At the same time, I was inspired by BALSA’s grassroots efforts to aid the survivors of Haiyan through volunteer power.” ~Joaquin Uy- Philippine-US Solidarity Organization, Philippine Exposurist 2013

“Relief is only part of the solution as it is temporary.  The actual rehabilitation and rebuilding of the devastated areas is long-term; and after talking with organizers the Philippine government isn’t acting fast enough or doing much, in my opinion.  At the distribution I participated in, a major challenge was that there were more people than there were relief packs, so many were turned away.  It took place in a very public area so I think a lot of the folks who came were passersby or heard about it.  There was a voucher system and those with tickets could receive a pack.  Several people came up to me saying they didn’t have a ticket but obviously wanted a bag of goods.  The lines were extremely long, but the distribution itself was well organized.    

I am grateful I am here and that I got to participate on this trip, witnessing and building with so many volunteers from the various organizations affiliated with Bayan that came together to help those affected by Typhoon Yolanda.” ~Precious Butiu– Gabriela USA, Philippine Exposurist 2013

 

 

A Solidarity Message from One Mother to Another #JusticeforMike

November 25, 2014

Reflections of a GABRIELA member, from one mother to another, in response to the Grand Jury decision of no indictment to charge police officer Darren Wilson for the murder of unarmed 18-year old Mike Brown.
By: Melissa Reyes, GABRIELA San Francisco

I am trapped on a desert of raw gunshot wounds
and a dead child dragging his shattered black
face off the edge of my sleep
blood from his punctured cheeks and shoulders
is the only liquid for miles
and my stomach
churns at the imagined taste while
my mouth splits into dry lips
without loyalty or reason
thirsting for the wetness of his blood
as it sinks into the whiteness
of the desert where I am lost
without imagery or magic
trying to make power out of hatred and destruction
trying to heal my dying son with kisses…
– Excerpt from “Power” by Audre Lorde

Like the rest of this country, I heard the grand jury’s decision last night. The non-indictment of Darren Wilson. This verdict spoke volumes and for communities everywhere, it reminded us that another young black man’s life has no value in this country. And like so many, I was not surprised. And like so many, a flood of grief still engulfed me. As I stared blankly at the television, my 5-year-old daughter’s curious voice interrupted the silence and my own numbness. Sol asked, “Mama, what happened? Why are you crying?”

I opened my mouth but could not form the words. How do I explain to my 5-year-old daughter that black boys are targeted and killed in this country for being black? How do I explain histories of fascism, racism, imperialism? Instead, I told her that another mother’s son was killed. Her son’s name was Mike Brown. That Darren Wilson, the person who killed him, did not have to apologize, or go on time out, or face the consequences of his actions.

But when I reflected more on what I had told her, it made me dizzy trying to fathom the loss of my own child. From one mother to another, I know that a mother’s anger, grief, and rage is justified. I may not know her pain intimately or even begin to imagine it, but I am in solidarity with her today. I will hold her hand from where I stand in San Francisco, California to demand justice for her son, Michael Brown. And I will hold the hands of countless mothers who also demand justice for their sons murdered in this country, murdered by a government that plays a hand in violence around the world, from Mexico to Palestine to the Philippines to Ferguson, Missouri. A government that has terrorized black communities since its inception.

For a split second, I wanted to apologize to my daughter for bringing her into a messed up, crazy world. More specifically, I wanted to apologize for bringing her into a world where white supremacy still breathes, multiplies, destroys. But a mother’s anger, grief, and rage is always justified and we topple violent state repression and the loss of our children with action. Ms. McSpaddon, I am holding your hand and tonight in the streets, I will chant, scream, cry justice, and continue to organize for your son.

GABRIELA USA Launches 18 Days of Action on International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 25, 2014
Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

IDEVAW_FB_Banner

November 25, 2014 marks the thirty-third year since activists proclaimed this day as International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women (IDEVAW), in commemoration of Dominican Republic political activists, the Mirabal sisters. They strongly opposed the fascist dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo, and were ordered to be killed on this date in 1960. GABRIELA USA is launching an 18 day campaign starting today and concluding on December 12, International Day Against Human Trafficking, to raise awareness and encourage action on key dates throughout the course of the campaign.

GABRIELA USA condemns the continuous failing of the B.S. Aquino administration that does not protect the rights of its people. In the Philippines, the Aquino regime perpetuates multiple forms of patriarchal violence targeting women, LGBTQ identified people, and children. The actions and–even worse–the inaction of this government are reprehensible, and the women of GABRIELA USA are raising our voices during the next 18 days to expose the systemic violence that perpetuates a culture of violence in our communities.

From the U.S. to the Philippines, state-sponsored violence runs rampant. The U.S. is a global power that has about 1,000 military bases and installments throughout 61 countries globally. Rather than protecting Filipino women and children, B.S. Aquino proves his subservience to the U.S. by continuing the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and recently signing the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). These unequal agreements with the U.S. unnecessarily exposes Filipino women to further forms of violence, as seen in the recent murder of transgender woman Jennifer Laude by prime suspect U.S. Marine PFC Joseph Scott Pemberton, who has not yet been fully turned over to the Philippine authorities for proper detention or investigation.

“This case is reminiscent of the Nicole rape case in 2005 where Lance Corporal Daniel Smith was not convicted of his crime. What message is Aquino sending his people? That it’s acceptable for U.S. military personnel to rape, murder, and violate the rights of people of countries they are based in? Aquino is doing nothing to uphold the rights of his citizens against human rights violations committed by foreigners, and we say enough is enough!,” proclaims Tina Shauf, mass campaigns officer of GABRIELA USA.

The violence against Filipino women reaches across the world while Aquino continues neglecting migrant citizens’ rights and welfare. Economic hardship has created an exodus of Filipino workers forced to migrate under vulnerable conditions, a majority of whom are women. An example is the case of Filipino trafficked teachers, a major campaign of GABRIELA USA led by GABRIELA Washington, D.C. teachers who have suffered from exploitation and abuse by labor trafficker, Isidro Rodriguez. The trafficked teachers have felt the injustice of their government that has not advocated for their cause. “Here in D.C. where the Philippine Embassy is, it has taken numerous complaints over the years, and it isn’t until now that we have an organized group of trafficked teachers rallying outside their gates that they have taken notice,” stated Janet Basilan, GABRIELA D.C.’s Vice Chair of Campaigns.

Lastly, government neglect in the Aquino administration has continued to attack its own people through continuing pork barrel schemes allowed by the president himself. As politicians act on their own behalf with impunity, calamity relief and livelihood for Typhoon Haiyan-affected regions are left without recourse. This political violence against the Filipino people is a heavier burden on women as their responsibilities to work and attend to domestic duties are stifled because of politicians’ graft and greed.

The women of GABRIELA USA will not stand for this systemic violence. Instead, we demand accountability, justice, and genuine social change to uphold the rights and welfare of Filipino women globally.

Women Unite to Eliminate Violence Against Women!
Justice for Jennifer Laude and all victims of hate crimes! Trans Lives Matter!
Justice for Filipino Trafficked Teachers!
Justice for Victims of Typhoon Haiyan!
Junk VFA! Scrap EDCA! No to TPPA!
End State-Sponsored Violence!

Please join us to demand justice for Jennifer Laude by taking action and obtaining at least 1,000 signatures in our 18 Days of Action, concluding on December 12! Read, sign, and share our petition, which can be found here: bit.ly/justice4jennifer

###

GABRIELA USA Stands in Solidarity with the Trans Community on Trans Day of Remembrance

November 20, 2014

Reference: Terrie Cervas, GABRIELA USA, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

10659010_10205034156238868_764663254294997781_o

GABRIELA USA joins in solidarity with the Trans and Gender Non-Conforming community on this Trans Day of Remembrance. We are outraged at the escalating transphobic attacks, murders and the struggles faced by Trans and Gender Non-Conforming people, including low-income, imprisoned, undocumented and trans people of color. We remember, grieve, and demand justice for those who have lost their lives to transphobic violence, including Aniya Parker in L.A., Zoraida Reyes in Orange County, Mia Henderson and Kandy Hall in Baltimore, Islan Nettles and Lateisha Green in New York.

On October 11, Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old transgender woman from the Philippines, was brutally beaten and strangled to death in a hotel room in Olongapo City near Subic Bay Naval Base by Private First Class Joseph Pemberton. Jennifer’s death, clearly the result of a violent hate crime, also underscores how U.S. militarization and unequal U.S. led agreements contribute to transphobic, transmisogynistic, and gendered violence. The U.S.-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), and now the greatly expanded Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), further perpetuate hate crimes and state violence like that against Jennifer Laude to occur.

Over a month since her death, no criminal charges have been made, and the prime suspect still has not fully been handed over to the Philippine authorities for proper investigation. These events repeat a pattern of protection and immunity granted to a string of U.S. personnel who have committed sexual violence, murder, and other human rights abuses in the Philippines. GABRIELA USA joins the global campaign to support Laude’s family in seeking justice, and to demand an end to unequal military agreements that enable ongoing human rights abuses against the Filipino people and infringes upon the sovereignty of the Philippine nation.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., trans women are four times more likely to experience police harassment and violence than all others reporting police violence. In just one case, a Washington D.C. cop shot into a car of three trans women after one refused his attempt to solicit sex. In 2008, video footage caught Memphis police brutally beating a handcuffed trans woman, Duanna Johnson, in their custody; soon after the exposé, Johnson was fatally shot. The criminalization and detention of trans people of color increases.

We are inspired by freedom fighters like Cece McDonald, a Black trans woman who was harshly punished and imprisoned for defending herself against a transphobic attack, but remains steadfast as an outspoken organizer for trans justice and against state violence. We stand in solidarity with trans people of color who have suffered at the hands of state violence, from police brutality and the prison industrial complex, to U.S. militarization abroad.

We recognize the links between state violence against trans people within the U.S. and U.S. militarization globally, which perpetuate transmisogyny and a culture of violence targeting queer, trans, gender non-conforming, and people of color. We desire a world in which we don’t have to fear hate violence, police intimidation, losing our homes and livelihood, for being trans. We desire a world where we all may thrive, where the human rights of all are upheld, where we are celebrated in all our gender expressions and identities. We pledge to continue to educate our communities about the need to fight for justice and self determination for all trans and gender non-conforming people, while building safe and supportive spaces.

Trans Lives Matter!
End Violence Against Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People!
Healthcare, Housing and Human Rights for Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People Now!
Justice for Jennifer Laude and for All Victims of Transphobia, Militarization, and State Violence!
Junk the VFA and EDCA! US Troops Out!

We request your support in the campaign for Justice for Jennifer Laude, and for an end to the VFA and EDCA. Please help us reach 1,000 signatures, by signing and forwarding our petition: bit.ly/justice4jennifer

###

Reflections of a GABRIELA on Trans Day of Remembrance

GABRIELA USA commemorates Trans Day of Remembrance today, November 20th. Member of GABRIELA USA shares her reflections on the ongoing violence towards trans people and the recent murder of Jennifer Laude by a U.S. Marine.

10624980_10203344957638845_2593580579483504915_n

I was born male.
I am a transgender woman.
And I am a human being.

I cannot describe in a single word or even a sentence how a transgender woman’s life is: colorful, sad, joyful, painful, funny, name all the emotions listed in the dictionary, I may have experienced them all because of the stigma attached to my gender identity and how some people see me from their perspective.

I was raised Roman Catholic in a country where dogma exists, in a community where homosexuality is a taboo, like a disease that has no cure, a hopeless case. Where people perceive you through your gender identity, not what’s inside your heart and what yours is “made of.” I was ridiculed, maligned, misjudged, and belittled because what I believe in my brain and what I feel inside my heart does not complement the norm. It happened almost every single day, in every corner of every street that I’ve been, in my school, on public transportation, and sad to say, even in my home. It became a part of life, part of my system and a portion of me and my existence. Then I asked myself, “Am I cursed because I am a transgender woman?”

Gone are the days when I just sit down sobbing because I was not accepted and felt unloved. I am my and your God’s creation. I deserve to be treated the same way others want to be treated. Your rights are my rights too. I breathe the same air you breathe and drink the same water you drink. I have the same blood that runs in all the veins and arteries in your body. In every way we are all God’s creation, we are all the same, we are all equal. And as a transgender woman, I deserve to be treated and respected like your mother, your sister, your grandmother, and girlfriends deserve to be treated.

Yes, I was born male. Yes, I am a transgender woman. And yes, I am a human being, and your rights are my rights too.

Jennifer Laude, a Filipino transgender woman was killed by an American soldier. A human being was killed. A human being who helped her family in every way she could. A human being who deserved to live fully like everyone in this world is now dead.

Her rights do not end because she’s gone. She deserves a fair trial and justice just like anybody who was brutally killed by a heartless person. She deserves justice not because of the color of her skin, her country of citizenship, not even on the basis of her gender identity. She deserves justice.

Yes, she was a transgender woman like me. Yes, she was a human being like you. A human being who has the same rights as all of us.

Monalisa
A proud transgender woman