NEW YORK (Apr. 27) — On one of the first summer-like days of a Spring evening in New York City, Diwang Pinay lived up to its word “Spirit of the Filipina”.
After months of preparation, Filipino women from Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), a progressive women’s organization serving the New York/New Jersey area, honored 25 years of GABRIELA Philippines’ struggle, advances and continuing work with its second annual “Diwang Pinay” presentation at the Judson Memorial Church on Washington Square Park South in Manhattan on April 25.
With “Ilaw ng Bayan” (Light of Nation) as its theme, Diwang Pinay carried a significant meaning as performers and artists offered their art in the name of the women who continue to light the way towards change.
It was an evening that boasted a range of talents and creative artistry on stage. Debuting on their first Diwang Pinay, members of KABALIKAT Workers Support Network, a project of Philippine Forum, opened the show with “Carinosa,” a traditional Filipino folk dance.
Lovella Rose and L. Capco Lincoln from a multimedia artist group called Tatlo Mestizas, based in Philadelphia, screened a powerful film about Filipino American migration and history, followed by a poetry piece.
Rona Figueroa, who has performed in four Broadway productions, serenaded the crowd with a stunning acoustic set from her self-released albums, Quasilulu and Quasilulu 2. Binky Bianca, a pop/rock/power pop band from Jersey City, performed for a second time on the Diwang stage.
As the night unfolded, the audience enjoyed film screenings from Emmelle Israel and Bernadette Ellorin and performances from Sanielle Parish, Hanalei Ramos and Laurel Fantauzzo. FiRE Kultural Kollective closed the night with a performance called “Ritual.”
Simultaneous to stage performances, Arlene Rodrigo, a visual artist completed a live art piece of a mother and child which was auctioned off at the end of the night. The silent auction held concurrently displayed 50 or more visual art pieces from 27 artists.
“We wanted to celebrate our history of strength and resistance through the work of GABRIELA for the past 25 years,” Valerie Francisco, chair of FiRE said. “But it was also important to us to celebrate the struggle and resilience of Pinays right here in our community. Diwang Pinay was the night to bring those flames of power together.”
In the wake of Lcpl. Daniel Smith’s acquittal and swift return to the US, Diwang Pinay shed light on the unjust ruling and the importance of unity for the women’s struggle both in the Philippines and abroad.
“Now more than ever, the fire of struggle must continue to burn bright. And where there is injustice from New York to Manila, there will be those of us who keep our light radiant towards genuine change in the Philippines and for the Filipino people,” Francisco concluded.