Damayan Migrant Workers Association, Inc. (Damayan)

Damayan Migrant Workers Association, Inc. (Damayan)

Damayan was founded in 2002 by Filipino domestic workers to address exploitation in their jobs. Damayan means "helping each other". To help each other, we: 1) provide critical services, especially to labor trafficking survivors; 2) organize a strong membership base; 3) retrieve stolen wages; 4) fight for humanitarian trafficking visas;

Damayan Migrant Workers Association, Inc. (Damayan)

Damayan was founded in 2002 by Filipino domestic workers to address exploitation in their jobs. Damayan means "helping each other". To help each other, we: 1) provide critical services, especially to labor trafficking survivors; 2) organize a strong membership base; 3) retrieve stolen wages; 4) fight for humanitarian trafficking visas; 5) develop worker leaders; 6) and mobilize the community to demand workers' rights, protection, fair labor standards and to combat labor trafficking. During the pandemic, Damayan pivoted to emergency humanitarian assistance. We delivered food, PPE’s and distributed $600K emergency cash assistance from the NYC government and National Domestic Workers Alliance.

About the Organization:

Damayan was founded in 2002 by Filipino domestic workers to address exploitation in their jobs. Damayan means "helping each other". To help each other, we: 1) provide critical services, especially to labor trafficking survivors; 2) organize a strong membership base; 3) retrieve stolen wages; 4) fight for humanitarian trafficking visas; 5) develop worker leaders; 6) and mobilize the community to demand workers' rights, protection, fair labor standards and to combat labor trafficking. During the pandemic, Damayan pivoted to emergency humanitarian assistance. We delivered food, PPE’s and distributed $600K emergency cash assistance from the NYC government and National Domestic Workers Alliance.

organizational budget

$100,000 - $500,000

existence for

16-20 YEARS

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

New Jersey • New York

organizational budget

$100,000 - $500,000

existence for

16-20 YEARS

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

New Jersey • New York

The Issue:

The increasing hate and violence against AAPI communities have impacted the Filipino community. Last March 29, Vilma Kari, a 65-year-old Filipina, was attacked in broad daylight in Midtown Manhattan. She was kicked in the torso, stomped on the head three times, and verbally assaulted with anti-Asian remarks. Vilma was rushed to the hospital with serious head injuries and a fractured hip. This violent incident happened just three blocks away from the Damayan office. Anti-Asian hate and violence caused intense fear and worsened anxiety, depression and compounded the mental health crisis in our community amid the ongoing pandemic. In April we organized an online survey to gather relevant data and we confirmed that elderly women are usually targeted and attacks usually happen in subway trains, on station platforms and in the streets, where many of our member domestic workers are forced to go and take risks every day because of work.

The Solution:

To address the heightened hate and attacks, first, we adopted a micro-level approach. We organized an online safety training: how to stay safe, to travel with a company; and how to be an upstander. We encouraged a few elderly domestic workers who were able to defuse a hate situation to share their stories. We distributed whistles and tasers. We did political education- about the history of discrimination and racism against AAPI and people of color in the United States and how the irresponsible remarks of former President Trump blaming China for the Covid19 pandemic- how these factors fueled the surge of anti-Asian hate. We mobilized members and joined the street mass action- a rally and march in Chinatown and Manhattan on April 3, when we delivered our organizational statement against AAPI hate and violence. We posted our statement on Facebook and signed online petitions against AAPI hate and violence.

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