Empowered Pinays raise voices on International Women's Day

Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Mar 12 2019 05:43 PM

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LOS ANGELES – Filipinos joined the International Women’s Strike in Downtown Los Angeles in honor of International Women’s Day by rallying outside the Los Angeles federal building and prison last week.

A group of Filipinos from the Pilipino Workers Center said their personal struggles motivated them to raise their voices.

“I, for one, was a victim of labor trafficking, and I, for one, was able to reunite with my kids after 8 long years. Because of the abuse that happened to me as a mother, as one of the women who are here in the country, we have to fight for our rights to be heard, to have dignity, to have respect,” said Maryanne Castro.

As former victims-turned-advocates empower women every day, Filipinas in the San Francisco area celebrated their self-determination by offering different kinds of support.

“What we visualized is a day of joy and being in the streets together and celebrate [with the] community. So we have some resources that we want to offer up like free massages, free clinics, first aid kits. We know in times of crisis and disaster it’s not always the police that come to help first. It’s the communities,” said Jennifer Abella of women's group Gabriela's chapter in Oakland.

They said that now was an important time more than ever to maintain international solidarity and their collective resistance.

“We’re in the Bay Area suffering from such a high cost of living. As a working mother myself, understanding that rent, food, day care, things like this is really high… so solidarity is key so that we can grow our voices louder for better wages, safer communities, and affordable health care and education,” said Dr. Valerie Francisco-Menchavez, also of Gabriela.

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