GABRIELA USA Honors the Life of Recca Noelle Monte and Other Slain Activists

Solidarity Statement

September 10, 2014

Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

Recca

Recca Noelle Monte was a bright engineering student from the University of the Philippines Diliman. Twelve years ago, she traveled to the Cordillera region and engaged in community organizing there and stayed. Yesterday, September 10, 2014, in the Philippines her son and sister traveled to Manila as she was honored by mass organizations in the Philippines who testified about her bravery and courage. Deceased, Recca will be honored every night this week by various people’s organizations in the Philippines, and internationally her life will also be remembered. 

GABRIELA USA joins mass organizations in the Philippines in honoring her, her work among the Filipino people, and other activists slain like her. Below are cultural offerings by Valerie Francisco, Chairperson of GABRIELA USA and Elaine Villasper, Organizational Development Officer of GABRIELA USA, both of whom were greatly impacted and influenced by the life and work of Recca Noelle Monte. She remains a powerful force for Filipinas in the United States, inspiring us to take up and continue the struggle she gave her life for.

Eureka

By Valerie Francisco

This morning, I spoke your name for the first time

Eureka

It woke me from my dreams

My dreams of justice and freedom

The return of ancestral lands

To the indigenous people of the Cordillera

My dreams of the lush rice terraces we once walked

The strong resistance against development aggression of the Kalinga people

That inspired you and me, both

Still inspires us

In your life and in your work

You set an example of true and utmost service to the Filipino people

Eureka!

What an idea

To actually give your life in service of those most oppressed

For the women who carry the lifeblood of our nation’s culture of resistance

For the men and women whose hands till the land

For the children who need to have a world changed

Today, I spoke your name

And daily, I will continue

Recca Noelle Monte

We will carry on your struggle

In our every breath

From the Cordillera to the US

Until victory

Eureka

===

Taos pusong nakikiramay po kami sa GABRIELA USA. Recca was one of the kasamas that welcomed and hosted us during our exposure in the Cordilleras in 2008, and played a major role in our successful integration with the community. I have many fond memories of kasamang Recca, one of which was of her helping me hike down a very slippery mountain while it was raining. Step by step, Recca held my hand, placed her foot firmly on the ground, and had me lean on her for support all the way down the mountainside. I’ve never forgotten that small act of camaraderie.

In memory of Ka Recca and the other kasamas, I’d like to offer a short excerpt from my journal written during our exposure trip in 2008:

“Every so often you meet people that change your life forever. In Kalinga, I met them. My experience in Kalinga cannot be adequately described in words. I just know deep inside that I entered that barrio with whatever ideas and concepts about myself and left as a different person. In Kalinga, I sang with all the joy and pain in my heart. I laughed without holding back, and I faced my fears head on, looking towards the kasamas for support. No amount of explanation can narrate everything stirring inside of me. There was something about Kalinga and its people that will stay with me forever. I feel so blessed and privileged to have had the interactions I’ve had with the kasamas here the past few days.”

Salamat, Ka Recca, for holding my hand, for listening, for laughing and dancing with us, for offering your life to the very last breath in service of the people. You gave me a necklace to remember our time together, and today I will proudly wear it in your honor. Paalam, kasama. I will carry your memory forward, and hope to emulate your selflessness and dedication to the people that we serve. Mabuhay ka, Kasamang Recca!

###

GABRIELA-USA Solidarity Message to the Citizens of Ferguson, Missouri

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 25, 2014

Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chair, GABRIELA-USA, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

IMG_3032

Two weeks have passed since the people of Ferguson have taken to the streets to protest the brutal murder of Michael Brown at the hands of the Ferguson Police Department. GABRIELA-USA, a Filipino women’s alliance with member chapters in Washington, D.C., New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles, stands in solidarity with the citizens of Ferguson, Missouri, asserting their constitutional right to assemble in protest against this injustice.

As mothers, grandmothers, daughters and sisters, we send our deepest sympathies and unanimous support to Ferguson communities voicing their outrage in response to the institutionalized racism that targets the lives of Black people daily. We denounce the state-sponsored police violence that systematically criminalizes, de-values, de-humanizes and violates the safety and lives of Black families. We mourn the lives of Black children, particularly young Black men, murdered by militarized police states.

We raise our fists and take to the streets in our own communities to protest state repression. While fighting for rights of immigrants and working-class people of color in the U.S., as militant Filipina women, we understand all too well the connection between our struggles for liberation and self-determination, from our homeland of the Philippines, to Palestine, to Ferguson.

It as our duty to fight for the collective liberation of all our people; we continually link our struggles for national liberation in our homeland with the liberation of people throughout the world. We stand in solidarity with Ferguson, Missouri.  We stand in solidarity with the family of Michael Brown and the families of other young Black and Brown people who unjustly fall victim to violence in the hands of the state.

We Stand in Solidarity with the People of Ferguson, Missouri!

Justice for Michael Brown!        

End State-Sponsored Police & Military Brutality!

#BlackLivesMatter

###

GABRIELA USA Solidarity Message to the Palestinian People

GABUSA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 29, 2014

Reference: Irma Bajar, Vice Chair of International Relations, GABRIELA USA, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

GABRIELA USA, a Filipino women’s alliance consisting of member organizations in Washington DC, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles, stands in solidarity with the people of Palestine against the recent air strikes and bombings by the Zionist government of Israel. We strongly condemn all imperialist governments, led by the United States, for their continued monetary support, collusion and provocation of these brutal attacks and genocide of the Palestinian people.

We send our deepest sympathies and unequivocal support to the liberation movement of Palestine, and in particular the women & children of Gaza who live in constant fear for their and their families’ lives because of the unending assault at the hands of Zionists. We in the U.S. are bearing witness to the escalated state-sanctioned genocide of a people fighting for their ancestral land, as well as the right to sovereignty and self-determination. We are disgusted witnessing this slaughter, supported by our government’s self-serving interests, supported by our U.S tax dollars.

Western imperialist governments, like the U.S., play a big role in fanning the animosity and war between Israel and Palestine, by continually sending political and military support to Israel, thereby directly participating in the killings of innocent Palestinians, a US imperialist policy implemented against all nations across the world attempting to assert their sovereignty. In 2014 alone, Israel received $3.1 billion in bilateral assistance from the U.S., which serves as an estimated 23-25% of Israel’s defense budget.

It is our duty as Filipina women fighting for the liberation of our people in the Philippines, that we link our struggle for national liberation with that of other movements in the spirit of true international solidarity. We stand in solidarity with Palestinian women, who despite threat to their lives and security, continue to struggle for their people’s freedom against Zionist occupation, and for a free and sovereign Palestine.

Long Live the Palestinian People!

Long Live International Solidarity!

###