For Immediate Release
January 11, 2008
Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, Filipinas for Rights and
Empowerment, 925-726-5768, email@example.com
Filipinas in New York Debunk the Myth of the Perfect Pinay
New York, NY-- More than 100 people gathered at Bluestockings bookstore in
the Lower East Side of New York City on a chilly winter night to welcome
the new year with an incredible line up of emerging Filipina writers and
poets. On the second annual Pinay Herstories organized by Filipinas for
Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), each Pinay writer reflected on the theme of
the night, "The Myth of the Perfect Pinay," each articulating the various
matters and issues that Filipino women face today.
To open the night, Jackie Mariano, a 19-year old CUNY Hunter student and
FiRE member, read her piece about growing up in Catholic school, fighting
with the ideas of what a "good" Filipino girl would be and crafting her
own story. Laurel Fantauzzo, a writer for various New York publications,
recounted a stunningly honest and touching story about her 88-year old
grandmother and the understanding that can only happen between them.
As the night unfolded Kundiman fellows, Sarah Gambito and Hossannah
Asuncion, shared their intricate poems with the crowd. The rest of the
night were filled with inspiring poets and authors Lisa Ascalon, Isis
Arias, Sara Jimenez, Kimmie David and Hanalei Ramos who graced the stage
with their own perfectly imperfect writings of their experiences. Rowena
Cruz, the host and a graduate of Columbia University's graduate program in
Creative Writing, ended with a story about the relationship between
sisters, differing in able-body abilities. Cruz's spin on Filipinas'
family obligations shows the oftentimes conflicted decisions made by
Filipino women daily. Emmelle Israel's short film opened and closed the
night with images of Filipinas to bring together the theme of the night.
The collection of artwork on stage at Pinay Herstories aimed to prove that
there is no perfect Pinay rather, every Filipino girl or woman has unique
struggles and obstacles that make them who they are. Pinays often find
commonalities between their issues with their relationships, families and
communities But the ways they shape their own strategies of survival gives
each Pinay extraordinary character therefore making a "perfect" Filipino
girl only a myth.
"Pinays all across the world experience the pressure of living up to a
standard of the best nurse, the best teacher, the best domestic worker,
the best daughter. And believing that there is a perfect Pinay standard
keeps us from seeing that we all have our own sets of problems and only by
telling each other our stories can we see how much we have in common,"
stated Valerie Francisco, chair of FiRE, "Events like this bring these
stories together and allows Pinays to speak their truths."
Those gathered shared a moment of silence in solidarity for the
Palestinian struggle and for the hundreds killed in Gaza by 15-day Israeli
strike. FiRE joined thousands of people in a rally to end the military
aggression in Gaza on the Sunday following this momentous event.###
Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) is a mass-based women's
organization serving New York City and its surrounding areas. We connect
the Filipino diaspora to the women's struggle in the Philippines. By
bringing woman-born and woman-identified people together, we challenge
pervading stereotypes and create self-defined Filipina identities. For
more information, please visit http://www.firenyc.org .
We are a proud member organization of GABRIELA-USA, the first overseas
chapter of GABRIELA Philippines, with babae in San Francisco and Pinay Sa
Seattle in Seattle, WA.
FiRE is a member of BAYAN-USA, an alliance of progressive Filipino groups
in the U.S. representing organizations of students, scholars, women,
workers, and youth. To learn more about BAYAN, please visit