Names: Joanne Amlag & Claudia Alexandra Paras
Members Since: Joanne (2008) & Claudia (2005)
What have they done as GABRIELA members:
Joanne: In 2008, I joined the education committee and Pinay Choir. But mostly, I am a quietly supportive member that deeply believes in Gabriela’s work locally and globally.
Claudia: I have served on the Executive Committee as Education Officer, Chair and Finance Officer. In 2007 I helped write and perform a “Justice for Nicole” spoken word piece that was performed at Pista sa Ngayon and Folk Life. Being a Gabriela member gave me the opportunity to practice skills that I was comfortable with such as facilitating workshops and growing in new skills such as singing in Pinay Choir, organizing rallies, and fundraising for our people.
Reason for Joining:
Joanne: From childhood to adulthood I have witnessed my older sister, Chera Amlag, devote her life to Filipino activism. During college I wanted to better understand what Filipino identity and history meant to me so I began to organize in the Filipino community on campus, then got involved with Gabriela.
Claudia: As a mixed race Filipina growing up in the Philippines, I grew up with a lot of privilege and witnessed so much poverty and corruption. When I would ask older people around me why there were problems and how we could change them, I was always told “this is the way it is”. When I joined Gabriela, I finally had an analysis for the social problems we see in our country and a solution to fix them.
Expo Trip Dates:
Joanne: August 2008 with the inspirational kasama Claudia Paras. The focus of my expo was on Gabriela projects in environmental justice and community health.
Claudia: 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013
Things they’re good at:
Joanne: Listening, dancing, reading, singing, writing, traveling, adventure, and being a student for life.
Claudia: Cooking leftovers into new dishes, journaling, singing “Eye of the Tiger” at Karaoke, making envelopes and eating desserts really fast!
Why this work is meaningful to them:
Joanne: After graduating in 2008, my exposure trip with Gabriela changed my life forever. I was able to truly understand the ripple effects of Gabriela’s work in Seattle on a global scale and how much we are all connected no matter where we are. We all have a role and contribute somehow; we all can create change.
Claudia: Organizing with Gabriela helped me feel empowered instead of overwhelmed by all the problems of the world. It has shown me that movements made up of people working for the same goals can make the most change. In my 9 years of organizing with Gabriela I am always learning and growing. This has helped me become a better person, daughter, sister and partner. When I think about having children, I want to pass onto them the values of serving the people and working with others to make change in our world.
When they’re not working for the movement, where can we find them / what can we find them doing?
Joanne: Currently living and studying in Paris, France you’d probably find me biking along the Seine or devouring books (or my laptop) at the library or park. I’m pursuing a Master of Public Health (MPH) and hope to focus on mental health issues and social epidemiology in immigrant communities, LBGTQ communities and adolescents.
Claudia: Walking our dog Biggie, snacking with friends, sometimes doing yoga, going to $2 movie theaters, driving my Mom to garage sales, learning all kinds of things on YouTube from Cabug, my kabiyak ng puso and partner for life.
* Claudia is currently serving on Gabriela Seattle’s finance and resource (FAR) committee.
P.O. Box 18045
Seattle, WA 98118