Pinays join International Women's Day protests in LA

by Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Posted at Mar 09 2015 12:32 PM | Updated as of Mar 09 2015 08:35 PM

LOS ANGELES - Filipinas marked International Women's Day with protests through downtown Los Angeles.

The protests were led by Filipina activists, Association of Filipina Feminists Fighting Imperialism Re-feudalization and Marginalization (Af3irm).

"Every stop we're making is about women. It's about our future, it's about our children," Cheryl Zarate of Af3irm said.

For Filipinos, their message -- the rights of Filipinas extend beyond borders, especially when it comes to trafficking women.

"It's to fight for the genuine liberation of women. That's why we're here. Filipino women are subject to sex trafficking, subject to a lot of sexual violence," Stephanie Sajor, KmB Pro People Youth, said.

"There are about 5,000 Filipinas who are being trafficked into the United States as mail-order brides. The number one export out of the Philippines are our women and the money that gets sent back to the Philippines is also the remittance that we send to people back home. So literally our economy is afloat on the backs of women,"
Ivy Quicho of Af3irm said.

For Filipino Americans, International Women's Day is not just about the feminist movement, it's also about fighting for other groups that have been historically marginalized.

The Los Angeles protests which began in City Hall made stops at the Police department, who has been under fire for recent officer involved shootings.

And the federal building and detention center where undocumented immigrants are detained and have to navigate the legal system.

"These different classes of women are being marginalized but it doesn't stop with us. We feel like we're not only fighting for the genuine liberation of women. We're fighting for genuine liberation of all humanity," Quicho said.

Filipinos say with many issues affecting women and people of colorm it will take a big change in government and communities to ensure everyone is treated and protected equally.