As 2013 draws to a close, activists and supporters of BAYAN Pacific Northwest have much to celebrate. This year marked a continual series of campaign victories for the over 100 members of this network of Filipino Americans in the Puget Sound area. Here are a series of highlights from this year:
February 14, One Billion Rising – Over 40 Filipina American girls, women, and supporters gathered in Westlake Park to utilize performance and dance to protest against global violence and for gender equity. According to the UN, one in three women will be raped or beaten in their lifetime, or about one billion. The BAYAN organization Pinay sa Seattle also used this moment to continue their community organizing work to support survivors of domestic violence and educate others about military violence in the Philippines
February to November, $15/hour minimum wage in SeaTac – All three BAYAN organizations in Seattle joined the growing network of unions and other community groups to support Seattle-Tacoma International Airport workers in their struggle to organize and to be paid a living wage. A large percent of airport workers are Filipinos. Our community connections and cultural knowledge helped in mobilizing these individuals to advocate for fair wages. When the tactic changed to an initiative drive for the City of SeaTac, we quickly shifted gears and dove headfirst into actions to get out the vote. It was an incredible victory, and we continue to have confidence in this win, as the proposition’s results move through the court system.
November, Typhoon Haiyan Relief – Super-Typhoon Haiyan devastated the central region of the Philippines, killed over 6,111 people, and left 1,779 missing. We immediately activated our region to raise funds for the search and rescue efforts. Altogether, BAYAN-USA raised over $500,000 for grassroots relief in the typhoon-effected areas of Samar and Leyte. In addition, BAYAN activists from both Seattle and Portland traveled to the Philippines for the first two BALSA National Relief missions, to hand out relief packs and document the aid work. BAYAN PNW may be the most successful Filipino American community organization you’ve never heard of. We’re a chapter belonging to a worldwide network with other chapters and organizations in almost every continent. Each BAYAN chapter works to connect their local issues with issues affecting the Philippines. BAYAN PNW was founded in 2001 in Seattle and has grown to four organizations spanning two cities, working to support workers’ and immigrants’ rights, to end community violence, and educate young people about Philippine history and culture.###
BAYAN USA Regional Chapters: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Pacific Northwest (Seattle and Portland), San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.