Pinay Powerhouse Commitment Statement
We, the Pinay Powerhouse movement, move in solidarity with Black Lives.
We are a collective of self-identified Filipina-American lawyers from across the country, from public defenders and solo practitioners to law firm partners and in-house counsel. We were brought together through Pinay Powerhouse organizing and programming efforts that inherently address empowering those whose race and gender often subject them to prejudgment and prejudice.
We stand together as a community that has benefitted from the strides achieved and struggles endured by our Black siblings, especially during the Civil Rights movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s. We recognize that in the 1920’s and 1930’s, Filipino laborers were subjugated to poor conditions and maltreatment. Filipinos also were targets of race-based riots and violence and were not allowed to marry a white person, raise a family or even own property or land. And before this, we recognize the Black-American Buffalo soldiers who sacrificed their lives to fight for Filipino independence against the United States in the Philippine-American War from 1899 to the early 1900’s.
As Pinay lawyers, leaders, mothers, daughters, sisters, and humans, our hearts bled as we watched the video of George Floyd’s senseless death. He and many other Black lives who have died at the hands of police brutality and white supremacy should not have had to die for our country to finally engage and be enraged about the extreme injustice that Black lives face every waking day.
As we wrote the names of victims of police brutality and systemic racism, researched their lives and the circumstances of their senseless deaths, and said their names out loud on recording, the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement was reinforced within us and their stories will stay with us in the courtroom and beyond.
We, as Pinay Powerhouse attorneys, understand that we have an obligation to use our power and privilege as educators and advocates to speak up for those muzzled by systemic racism. We understand that we must commit to excavating the remnants of colonialism still embedded in the psyche of the Filipino community. The unlearning of our internalized white supremacy and anti-blackness is intimately tied to the liberation of Black people and their fight for humanity. We cannot be free until Black lives are free. We commit to doing the work to eradicate colorism and racism in our bodies, in our bloodlines and in the work that we do.
Moving forward, Pinay Powerhouse organizing efforts will incorporate strategic planning and programming designed to focus on de-colonizing from colonial mentality and eliminate anti-black racism. Working to support the Black Lives Matter movement will be a key priority for our Pinay Powerhouse programming.
We encourage the greater Filipinx legal community to rise up!
In fierce solidarity and in commitment to justice for all,