Recently, the Filipino community was shaken by Typhoon Ondoy that left riverside communities in Metro Manila devastated by rain and mud. Over 300,000 families were displaced and in need of clean water, food and shelter. Homes were washed out in overflowing rivers from a one-day storm that spilled a month’s worth of rain. In a few days, members teamed up with AnakBayan, Philippine-US Solidarity Organization, the Arts Kollective and the Filipino Community of Seattle to raise over $2,000 to send to grassroots organizations in the Philippines.
Pinay sa Seattle is an all volunteer political collective and its membership reflects a rich diversity of Filipina identity. It celebrates women who are queer, straight and mixed race, who come from immigrant, military, medical, working class and professional family backgrounds. Some were born and raised in the U.S., some in the Philippines, and others who moved in their childhood from the Philippines to the U.S. When they are not volunteering their time, these women are also mothers, students, educators, working professionals and social service workers. The strength of this collective is in being able to bring their multi-faceted identities and passion into the political work that they do locally, nationally and internationally. For Pinay sa Seattle there’s no formula to being Filipina but what’s important is that you care and act to alleviate the struggles of our people.
Service for Pinay sa Seattle includes community engagement, political education and advocacy for the Filipino community. Lorena Barros, a Filipina heroine from the days of Martial Law said, “We need dreamers who act, not actors who dream.”
Political education is a key service that Pinay sa Seattle provides to its membership and the community. Through education, people are able to understand personal and family experiences in a larger context. Being able to see that context helps make the connections between issues that affect Filipinas locally, nationally and globally. Members are often eager to learn about the Philippine history because it’s not taught in U.S. schools. This October, for Filipino History Month, Pinay sa Seattle will be presenting workshops for community colleges and local organizations on militarized violence against women, the roots of women’s oppression as well as arts and cultural activism.
In learning about issues affecting Filipina women, Pinay sa Seattle’s membership has been fueled to launch campaigns for U.S. rape victims, against the U.S. troop presence in the Philippines, promote LGBTQ rights and universal health care for all. The organization has a human rights perspective and believes that every person is entitled to get their basic human needs met, including housing, food, education and health care.
Pinay sa Seattle is part of national alliance GABRIELA-USA, which is an overseas chapter of GABRIELA Philippines. GABRIELA Philippines is an umbrella organization for over 200 grassroots women’s organizations advocating for the rights of Filipinas. In partnership and collaboration with local, national and international partners, Pinay sa Seattle is able to do education, advocacy work and defend the rights of Filipinas globally. With over 3,000 Filipinos leaving our homeland daily, it provides an important connection back home, politically and culturally to its members.
Pinay sa Seattle will celebrate its 3 year anniversary on Oct. 23 with a performance “Sinilangan” which will feature local women artists addressing issues that affect Filipinas in the U.S. and abroad. This cultural show will celebrate the rich multi-faceted identities of our Filipinas in the Seattle community, who share the passion to act for change. For more information or tickets you can email [email protected] or visit