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GABRIELA Seattle: Defending Filipina Women Locally and Abroad

Editors note: The end of Women’s History Month brings reflection and gratitude. Front and Centered has so many insightful, powerful, and brilliant women in our coalition, and we’re so grateful to learn about and share with you the experience and expertise that shapes our coalition, state, and global community.

For our March member spotlight, join us in learning more about our coalition member, GABRIELA Seattle, and their work to fight for women’s rights locally and overseas. Make sure to check out the ways you can take action to support GABRIELAs work, and remember to take a moment to celebrate the contributions of women in your family, community, and across the globe.

GABRIELA Seattle is a grassroots organization of Filipina women and LGBTQGNC (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and gender-nonconforming) people educating, organizing, and mobilizing for the rights and welfare of Filipina women locally and overseas. Founded in 2006, GABRIELA seeks to wage the struggle for liberation of Filipina women and all our people from the ills of this oppressive, exploitative system. We are an overseas member organization of GABRIELA Philippines and a member of BAYAN Seattle, a multi-sectoral alliance of Filipino youth, students, women, and migrants.

Our name comes from real-life revolutionary Gabriela Silang, a fearless leader and fighter during the armed resistance against the Spanish colonizers. She was an icon of the Philippine revolution, and even in today’s society she continues to serve as a wellspring of inspiration for young women and girls, challenging and breaking the typical image of women in a feudal-patriarchal society. She proved that women are a formidable force for genuine social change, inspiring generations to come. Her legacy reminds us that women’s contributions to society must be recognized and valued.

Our main campaign is Defend Filipino Women, Defend GABRIELA, in which we call for the defense of rights of the most oppressed Filipina women to resist class exploitation and state-sponsored violence. By standing up to the corrupt and neglectful Philippine government, women activists and land defenders have been unjustly detained and killed by US-backed military and police forces. Precious and Jill, who are local GABRIELAs, have also been put in danger by being terror-tagged for their years of organizing in the community and serving on the national councils of GABRIELA USA and BAYAN USA.

Many of Front and Centered’s coalition members represent and serve immigrant communities in Washington State. When you’re part of an immigrant community, you’re connected not just to your local community, but also to your family, friends, and cultural roots that reside elsewhere. By working locally in our state to defend and liberate Filipina women both locally and overseas, GABRIELA is building connections and solidarity between women across communities and borders as we build a better world.

The liberation of women is integral to the National Democratic movement in the Philippines. Until we smash the three root problems of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism, feudal patriarchy will continue to persist. Under the recently installed US-Marcos II regime, neoliberal policies continue to exacerbate the economic crisis of skyrocketing inflation and stagnant wages. Filipina women, whether peasant farmers or overseas workers, are overworked, subjected to violence, and unable to access support systems while Marcos Jr. lines the pockets of overseas corporations and allows for the destruction of the environment for profit.

Even with growing state repression, we continue with the spirit of Gabriela through our militant organizing of Filipina women and families against the fascist Marcos II regime so that we can remove US military bases from the Philippines, improve the conditions of working women, and pave the path towards a genuine people’s democracy!

Support us, follow us on social media and get to know our work, and come to our next educational discussion or activity in the community!

Join us for a screening of Migrant Women Rise (April 15, 1:00–4:00pm at Beacon United Methodist Church, 7301 Beacon Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108). Together with the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, we are excited to host Deaconess Joyous Prim, who organizes with migrant workers in Hong Kong. We will be screening a new film she helped produce called Migrant Women Rise: Stories of Red-tagged Overseas Filipino Workers (watch the trailer).

Take Action and Support GABRIELA’s Work:

  • Pass the Philippines Human Rights Act! Take action to cut US military funding to the Philippines and defend land defenders from state repression.
  • Justice for Victims of Apollo Quiboloy, a known sex-trafficker and child rapist who is wanted by the FBI but is being protected by the government of the Philippines. Sign this petition to demand that Quiliboloy be prosecuted for his crimes.
  • Justice for Alma Bowman. Take action now to defend a Filipina woman and whistleblower from being deported.
  • Justice for Poushawn Brown, an Amazon employee who died suddenly in January 2021 after being assigned to conduct COVID-19 testing for other employees. When she was assigned to conduct testing, Poushawn wasn’t given an N95 mask or any other protective wear. Support her family as they go up against the richest corporation in the world.