Tag Archives: liberation

Forward to a Feminist Future!

At the AF3IRM 2016 National Congress, we evaluated our role as transnational feminists, anti-imperialists situated in the United States. We discussed the need for a heightened strategy against right-wing/neo-fascist ideologies and the importance of developing our own theories to analyze new conditions. The chapters identified intersecting issues impacting  our locales and the need to build deeper in our communities. We committed to strategizing  beyond solutions that merely aim to reduce, rather than eliminate harm, in order to build a world free of violence and hate.

It is imperative that while we recognize the nuances of our oppression within our current conditions, we also assert that the oppression of marginalized peoples has always been reliant on the oppression of womankind, therefore the liberation of transnational women of color must be central to all struggles.  As we charge forward with a new three-year national plan of action, our vision that will frame this next phase of work will be – combating the perceived patriarchal right to access women’s bodies, under the theme of “AF3IRMing the Transnational Women’s Vision for Genuine Liberation.”

After the completion of Trump’s 100 days in the presidential office, our “Forward to a Feminist Future” infographic is a visual interpretation of where AF3IRM plans to take our work under this new fascist regime that is aiming to dismantle  our existence as women of color.  We must do battle from where we stand! We know that it is the lives, experiences, and freedom dreams of women of color that will show us the way to liberation.  

Click the infographic below to view it full size!

AF3IRM: Forward to a Feminist Future! [Designed by Giselle Zatonyl – www.gisellezatonyl.com]

AF3IRM Presents: Ending Anti-Blackness in Our Communities of Color/Strategizing for Liberation

TRANSNATIONAL/WOMEN OF COLOR FOR BLACK LIVES MATTER: AF3IRM Los Angeles humbly, with the blessing of Black Lives Matter LA, invites all people of color, especially our women-identified sisters of color, to an educational discussion on how to address and ABOLISH anti-black racism in our communities. As allies/accomplices/co-conspirators to Black Lives Matter, we are asking community to come to the table to 1) have an open discussion on how we can end anti-black racism in our communities and 2) to strategize ways that we can center black liberation as part of our political programs.

We want to honor black leadership as we continue to show up to disrupt the status quo….and we want to re-imagine and share ways in which we can shift our own ongoing political programs to center black liberation.

*This initial gathering is for people of color allies/accomplices
*Wheelchair accessible
*Community childcare
*Parking in paid lot, meters, and free street parking

For more info: losangeles@af3irm.org

Ending Anti-Blackness in Our Communities of Color/Strategizing for Liberation
Thursday, August 4th, 2016
6:30pm to 8:30pm
977 1/2 Chung King Road, Los Angeles, CA 90012

FB Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/264061527298864/permalink/264090613962622/

May Day 2016: Demand a New World of Our Making

The women of AF3IRM salute all workers around the world this May Day! In a time of deep subjugation and exploitation as we witness the genocide of womankind in all its forms across borders, we come together on International Workers’ Day to not only continue to repeat what we all know – that this capitalist patriarchal system is constructed to fail us, especially transnational/women of color – but to also push forward what it means to have our work truly valued and to work with dignity. We know that capitalism will never bring about collective liberation and that we must build new structures for real freedom.  With each day that we work to support ourselves and our families and to uplift our communities, the value of our work under capitalism is undermined to support our own oppression. Many of our communities are barely able to survive – so we must resist these systems and demand the right to thrive! We wish to build a new world- one in which women’s labor, both paid and unpaid, is valued every single day.

Women especially need to change how society views and values work – to redefine what a living wage is, to push for transparency and equity in pay, to demand a thrivable wage, to challenge the standards for paid family leave and public assistance programs, and to truly unite workers and our struggles across and within borders.  Until we dismantle class society, we need to fight against the devaluation and exploitation of immigrant and migrant workers and to promote a living wage and better work conditions for all occupations and sectors – including giving just compensation for domestic workers, undocumented workers, community organizers, nonprofit workers, educators, artists, and freelancers.

We continue to speak out against the disparity in pay – especially for women of color. For every dollar a white male in America makes, black women make 64 cents, Latina women 56 cents, and Asian/Pacific Islander women 79 cents with even worse compensation once data is disaggregated, dropping down to 66 cents for Native Hawaiian women and 55 cents for Hmong and Tongan women. Single mothers make 58 cents for every dollar a father makes. Two thirds of low-wage job holders are women. For undocumented and migrant workers, the pay and the working conditions can be even worse, as they can often be underpaid or not paid at all.  The disparity goes even beyond pay, as the Panama Papers leak demonstrated. The gap between the rich and poor continues to widen with politicians and millionaires (mostly men) safeguarding enough finances to lift up entire states in global tax havens, while workers and more local entrepreneurs, including women-owned businesses, have to pay out larger percentages of their earnings and profits. With trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), workers continue to be exploited and the smaller countries are robbed of revenue that could be used for local public, educational, and health services that many women and children would benefit from.

In the world we envision, we in AF3IRM believe that work should sustain women – not tear us down or slowly kill us. We should be able to work with dignity and without fear for our lives and safety. Work should not just be about the future of a company – but it should also focus on the state and future of our bodies and minds, our families, and our communities. All women’s work both paid and unpaid, including childcare and housework, should be valued and shared. We should be able to support women at all stages and from all backgrounds regardless of whether we are single without children, married, or a single parent; what languages we speak; how we look or if we have hidden or visible disabilities; or whether we work in the fields, in the office, or in the homes of others or our own. For women with children, there needs to be affordable child care, as well as spaces for breastfeeding and pumping. We should not have to continually compromise our integrity, our energy, and our lives to get by each day!  

The dismantling of the capitalist patriarchal system will obviously not happen overnight – but we know that we can move ever closer to the new world of our radical imaginations. We must build collectively – within and between communities, as well as across and beyond borders. We know the road to liberation is long but with each victory we have seen, we know we are moving ever closer to our goals! We salute all those who have worked to increase the minimum wage, like through the Fight for 15 campaign, and are helping to push through new regulations around the country. We salute the faculty and lecturers in our universities and colleges, such as those in California State University system, who push for salary increases and more funding. We salute those who resist the environmental destruction and harm caused by companies’ disregard for land, especially indigenous land, such as Goldman Prize winner Máxima Acuña of Peru and her fight against mining companies, as well as the Mapuche women in Argentina standing up against fracking.  We recognize the needs and demands of domestic workers scattered around the globe, India’s women brick-kiln workers in Punjab, the Driscoll farmworkers, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and their Fair Food campaign, the Chicago Teachers’ Union, and many more collective workers’ movements. Workers the world over continue to rise up and fight for change and it not only gives us hope, but also feeds our desire to push forward!

We in AF3IRM believe deeply in the possibilities of our liberation and in our dreams for a better world. We know that together we can bring this world of our making into being. It is absolutely necessary for all of us to imagine a world beyond capitalism and the status quo and to truly think about what our ideal existence look, feels, sounds, and tastes like. We see glimpses of this world in our everyday life – as we witness communities supporting local businesses and fighting against gentrification and corporatization, collective child care, the creation of spaces for healing and restorative justice, neighborhood gardens, the push for accountability from our governments and within our movements, and more. Through our own summer schools with women and youth, we also know this new world is necessary and it can be created because we have gathered to discuss and manifest these new possibilities and to challenge the current state. This summer, AF3IRM chapters in New York and in California’s Orange County and South Bay continue this practice as they host our Summer Schools of Women’s Activism, with our Youth programs also being held in Iowa and Los Angeles.

We call on people to join us! Be with us today in the streets as we march with workers worldwide to mark May Day. Be with us this summer as we gather together in our Summer Schools of Women’s/Youth Activism. Be with us every day as we continue the struggle for our liberation. A new world is always possible – and we demand and will work for nothing less.

Rise Up Against the Missed and Missing (in) Education – We Seek Liberation, Not Assimilation!

For Immediate Release
Contact: Barbra Ramos, National Communications Director
af3irm@af3irm.org | 323-813-4272

Rise Up Against the Missed and Missing (in) Education – We Seek Liberation, Not Assimilation!

AF3IRM Joins the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

NATIONAL–November 25th begins the international campaign for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. AF3IRM, in solidarity with women and allies the world over, recognize all too well the violence inflicted upon women, from the streets to the home, and this year we join others to raise awareness around gender-based violence and education.

Time and time again, we witness how educational institutions fail or harm students, particularly people of color and women in the United States. As transnational women of color, we must recognize that anti-Black racism, Islamophobia, denial of indigenous genocide, rape culture and murderous misogyny have been pervasive in schools around the country, from Mizzou to Yale to Umpqua Community College and San Diego State. We in AF3IRM realize that we, as individuals and as communities, will not survive if we accept the systems and attitudes of violence and oppression that are fostered and faced in schools.

Academic institutions often breed an unsupportive and hostile environment. They fail to accept, support, and retain more students of color, students of marginalized genders including transgender students, undocumented students, and students with disabilities. They lack diverse faculty and curriculum such as courses in ethnic, gender and LGBTQ studies. They often disrespect the community in which they are situated and turn a deaf ear to hate incidents on campus.  Student activists who speak out and demand accountability from these institutions of higher learning are met with threats or disciplinary action.

For women of color, rape culture has destroyed the veil of safety and trust. One survey found that 1 in 4 college-aged women have survived rape or attempted rape in their lifetime. Other findings have shown that college-aged women are four times more likely than any other age group to face sexual assault. Women are continually faced with the reality that they are not safe from sexual violence, whether it be unwanted touching, dating violence, stalking, or rape- on or off campus, by other students or even faculty, and are often met with slut-shaming or victim-blaming. Institutions provide little or no means to support victims.

Students today also live with another fear – for we have witnessed far too often now the violence committed during mass shootings by enraged misogynistic white males who decide to inflict their own pain and prejudice with bullets on college campuses. In school shootings, women are twice as likely as men to die and investigations have shown some shooters cite rejection by women as one of their grievances.

Around the world, we know that education for girls and women of color and the educational spaces we occupy are continually attacked and violated. There are girls and women that are still barred from receiving the education they deserve. Many who do have access are shot, disappeared or murdered for being in school. In some countries, war, displacement, and extreme poverty make education a luxury. And there are the realities here in the United States that aren’t often discussed – such as the girls of color who have gone missing from their middle schools and high schools, whether through the sexual assault to prison pipeline or from sex trafficking including prostitution.

Indeed, we know that for each one of us who makes it to the classroom, there are many more who never will. Yes, it is our duty to fight for theses spaces but we must recognize that for those of us who do make it, the reality of education, especially higher education, means that we are lucky and damned at the same time. Whether it involves not being able to afford college, the perennial state of debt, the lack of support services, the difficulty in caring for families or children while in school, or having to choose between a textbook or food on the table, the pursuit of education is a struggle. Even once we get our degrees and despite 51% of women getting their post-secondary degrees compared to 41% of men, we still face the wage gap and women of color especially trail in terms of pay.

But we choose education anyways, in and outside of the classroom, because we know that these oppressive structures cannot hold and that an educated woman is a threat. When we are in the classroom, we are told to assimilate – that our voices ringing out loud is unacceptable, that speaking our pain and truths is unacceptable, that making known the injustices we face every day is unacceptable.

We choose education anyways, but we do it our way. We seek liberation, in and outside of the classroom. In the face of such violence, inequity and indifference, we must seek an education that is for us. We challenge the racism, sexism, classism that uphold these skewed systems. We commit ourselves to the difficult work of undoing this education that ingrains colonized mentalities and self-hating tendencies, of undoing the violence of erasure and denial that ignores our histories and our cultures and diminish our worth. We demand more diverse representation within faculty, curriculum and the student body. We choose to disrupt this movement to treat education as a mere capitalist enterprise set-up to maintain class society. We refuse to bow down to male fragility and white supremacy that expect women to be sexually available even within institutions of learning. We push for safe spaces and protections for women and communities of color.

Beyond the classroom, we affirm the strength, power, and brilliance of women. We in AF3IRM choose to write our own transnational feminist theory and to remember our histories and document our stories. We provide alternative spaces of learning through public educational discussions and Summer Schools of Women’s/Youth Activism. We learn and honor the healing traditions and practices from our ancestors. We defy this “choice” we are dealt of being disappeared or dying by the system and we organize so that fewer and fewer of us are to be counted among the missing, murdered, and forgotten. We seek not the reformation of our societies – but its absolute transformation from its current heteropatriarchal, classist, and racist state.

Our survival is not dependent on what institutions can teach us, but on what we can do to change these systems and structures so that we may thrive. As Audre Lorde once said, “survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those others identified as outside the structures in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths.”


Even in the midst of fear for our safety and for our communities, of the failure of educational institutions to support us on all fronts, we persist and we continue to seek to liberate ourselves, not just in the classroom but beyond it. Collectively, we will survive these assaults on our bodies, minds, and spirits. It is from what we learn from each other, our movements, and our reclaimed histories that our true liberatory education and our journey towards freedom will begin.

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The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence includes: the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (Nov. 25), International Women Human Rights Defenders Day (Nov. 29), International Day for the Abolition of Slavery (Dec. 2), Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre (Dec. 6), and International Human Rights Day (Dec. 10). Throughout the 16 Days, AF3IRM chapters will engage in political education, subversive acts of resistance, and important dialogues that challenge the militarization, exploitation, and erasure of women and our communities. Visit our website for a calendar of events.

AF3IRM NYC Summer School Combines Theory and Practice

NEW YORK:     The pervasive phenomenon of the “vanishment” of women and their achievement from history will frame the first session of AF3IRM NYC’s 2015 Summer School of Women’s Activism.  The discussion will be led by Ninotchka Rosca and Justine Calma, with input from a guest presenter.   The SSOWA begins on July 11, Saturday,  through three more Saturday sessions.   It is designed to enable participants to view women’s history and women’s struggle holistically.    Those interested can register at www.ssowa2015.eventbrite.com.

There is a registration fee of $40 for professional women;  $35 for students and low-income;  $80 for each institutional representative.  The fee includes a light lunch and reading materials.  Donations to cover the registration fee for the low-income and young women and women-identified are welcome.  Women-identified, persons of color are strongly encouraged to attend.

From priestesses to women scientists, the eradication of women’s contributions to human social, political, scientific and economic history has been thoroughly removed from general public awareness.  “Understanding why it was necessary for current social formations to eradicate the idea of women’s capability and abilities should enable women to rectify the situation,” said Chapter Coordinator Olivia Canlas.

The NYC chapter with Sister Circle Collective was pivotal in visibly raising the issue of women killed by the police during the Millions March last December.  “We carried the names and faces of cis, trans women and gender nonconforming that were killed,” she noted.  “Most of the placards were focused on black men killed by the police. That was just.  What was not just was the neglect of women who had suffered the same fate.”  Since then, the issue has gained traction as more and more organizations became conscious of the need to emphasize that women, especially black women, were suffering from the same oppression.

“There are historical reasons why women, particularly women of color and women of the underclass, seem to vanish when national issues are discussed – as though women’s issues are limited to the private and personal.  This must be corrected.  No change can be considered radical enough, if it leaves out more than half of the constituency it’s supposed to benefit,” said Ninotchka Rosca, who coordinates the 2015 Summer School.

“This is a matter of urgency,” she added.   “We must know and understand thoroughly the core ideas of the women’s struggle for liberation.  It is the only way we can fully comprehend women’s vision of a just and peaceful society, and truly do away with the hierarchy of privilege.”   — #