Los Angeles- AF3IRM is proud to announce its newly elected 2020-2023 National Executive Council (NEC) and the creation of its first international chapter in Puerto Rico.
Comprised of leaders in AF3IRM from throughout the country, these are the women who have been elected to lead AF3IRM in the face of global fascism and US imperialism, toward a beautiful and liberated feminist future.
National Chairperson – Connie Huynh has been a member of the Los Angeles Chapter since 2012 where she has helped lead and grow the chapter’s organizing. This includes Los Angeles’ annual International Women’s Day mobilizations and events, and campaigns such as #SurvivorsNotCriminals to end the criminalization of trafficking survivors in Los Angeles County massage establishments. Huynh is the proud daughter of refugees, raised in a working-class family. In 2018, she was elected as one in a cohort of four women who joined the ‘Collective National Executive Council” to help carry out AF3IRM’s vision nationally. Huynh is a mother, survivor, researcher, and organizer. Currently, she is the national Health Care for All Campaign Director at People’s Action.
National Programme Coordinator – Valeria Espinosa was previously the Los Angeles Chapter co-coordinator and led the chapter’s program development for 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence in 2018 and the Land and Liberation forum in 2019. Bearing the intergenerational strength of her Purépecha grandmother, she is a proud brown Chicana woman who was born and raised in South East LA, and a descendant of indigenous insurgence. She is a fighter and survivor who comes from a long history of women who resisted patriarchy and settler colonialism.
National Communications Director – Joan Ariete is a Philippine-born writer and mother who has been organizing with the New York Chapter since 2013, serving as a chapter co-coordinator from 2016-2019. Before moving to New York, she worked as a researcher for a TV station and wrote for magazines in Manila. Migrant and refugee mothers and children are at the center of her activism. Her vision as Communications Director is to make crucial information on local and global issues easily accessible to migrant and working-class communities.
National Organizing Director – Sylvia Cabrera was also previously a Los Angeles Chapter co-coordinator where she instituted a new organizing structure to support the chapter as it doubled its membership, and helped lead the #SurvivorsNotCriminals campaign. She is a full-time special education teacher at a middle school in the Los Angeles Unified School District. She is a leader on her union’s campaign to be legally recognized by her employer, Alliance Charter Schools, the largest charter school network in L.A.
National Education Director – Olivia Canlas is an attorney who has been involved with AF3IRM since its founding in 2007, was the New York Chapter Coordinator from 2013-2016, and has been re-elected to her post as Education Director. She works in Foreclosure Prevention in Far Rockaway, NY, an area that was severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy. She is a people’s lawyer and a producer for Asia Pacific Forum Radio, formerly broadcast on WBAI 99.5 FM. With AF3IRM, her interests lie in education as a means of resistance, creating women-led spaces, and raising consciousness around the laws, policies, and historical processes that institutionalize violence against the poor, women, and/or communities of color. She is of Filipino ancestry, grew up in Montgomery, Alabama, the Detroit suburbs, and lived in Chicago before landing in New York.
National Finance and Fundraising Director – Nayoung Kim is a feminist activist, writer, and attorney from South Korea. She is the founding coordinator of the Chicago Chapter. She is involved in the South Korean women’s movement and the global women’s movement, on stage, behind the scenes, and in spirit. She engages in activism through research, advocacy, organizing, writing, and performing. Her project is to be as effective as possible against oppression, wherever she is and in whatever capacity. Nayoung works against gender-based violence, including domestic violence, sexual assault, and sexual exploitation.
Puerto Rico joins the Hawai’i chapter as the second occupied territory to organize under the banner of AF3IRM. Its status as an occupied territory with a strong movement for sovereignty makes the chapter an important addition to AF3IRM. The chapter was born out of San Juan where people have consistently taken to the streets over recent years against injustice and disaster capitalism, and where women called for the ejection of its misogynist governor who ignored their calls to end gender-based violence.
As we enter a new decade, AF3IRM members look forward to organizing more women of color and growing our organization while we continue to combat the capitalist patriarchal ideologies assaulting the bodies of women and the feminized. In the past three years, we’ve seen the rise of neo-fascism and male-led right-wing sectors pushing for full control and dominion over women’s lives. We have witnessed the ongoing rape of the land. Our AF3IRM Hawai’i sisters said it best: The real problem is the idea that land and women are global commodities.
More than ever, to resist is a must. As transnational women whose personal stories of ancestral pain and trauma have propelled us to organize and rise against the institutions that have continuously threatened our survival, we will work in solidarity with our indigenous sisters to protect and defend ourselves and the land. With a keen understanding that our liberation is interconnected, we vow to center our fight and cause. Our stories and cultures are sacred. Our bodies are not for sale.
Our resistance will be a legacy of horizontal leadership, organizing, and building with women who come from a global diaspora propelled by colonization and imperialist wars. In 2020, our battle cry remains clear, loud, and fierce: Defend the Land, Liberate Women!