15 January 2017

Diwang Pinay

Last evening, I spent at the Uptown Business Center in North Long Beach with mujeres from Gabriela, a Filipina led organization that advocates for gender issues.


Together, we read true stories of the lived realities of Filipina migrant women who have been manipulated, trafficked, into the US.  Told lies, brought into great debt, and coming from a great need to provide for their families, these Pinays somehow survive.  The story we read aloud last night from the account of an Ate C struck home with me.  It's a story of abuse that is not unlike the story of my Lola.  Although nearly 80 years has passed since Lola came to the US as a War Bride following WWII, these Pinays continue to experience abusive relationships tied in with desparate hopes for the American Dream or Nightmare if you will. For my Lola, this was surviving in a relationship to a violent white (in every sense of the word) husband (my grandfather) in Missouri and then California, and for the Ate whose story I read last night, surviving in the hell of under valued caretaking of white elders in Arizona.

I had to risk it. 
 -- not enough for my family.
They were selling us.
-- I told my children I was ok.
They listened to my conversations and told me not complain.
-- money for education, money for food.
I knew I was in trouble. 
-- (crying)
I borrowed money to pay for training, the passage, the visa.
-- my god. 
There was a naked old man on the couch.
-- trembling.
I arrived in Phoenix and waited for over 8 hours. 
-- my god. 
I had to risk it. 
-- my friends drove out from San Diego with their grandkids in the middle of the night. 
Just me a three elderly people to take care of. 5 hours of sleep a night.
-- my god. 
I had to risk it. 
-- I called my friends. 
I told my children I was ok. 


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