Success! DISRUPT: Portland Brings Women Together in Sisterhood

 DISRUPT Book Reading in Portland.

DISRUPT Book Reading in Portland.

 FWN CEO & Founder Marily Mondejar joined in for a video conference call.

FWN CEO & Founder Marily Mondejar joined in for a video conference call.

 Participants in DISRUPT Book Reading.

Participants in DISRUPT Book Reading.

 Malia Gayomali, Elissa Santos, and Maili Smith read Letter to a Young Filipina by Lirio Sobrevinas Covey.

Malia Gayomali, Elissa Santos, and Maili Smith read Letter to a Young Filipina by Lirio Sobrevinas Covey.

The Filipina Women’s Network (FWN), represented by Dolly Pangan-Specht (US FWN100™'09) and Maria Beebe (US FWN100™'11 and Global FWN100™ '13, board member, and book co-editor) organized a book reading in collaboration with Portland State University’s Office of Global Diversity and Inclusion, Department of Anthropology, and Center for Women and Leadership. The Asian Pacific American network of Oregon (APANO) and the Council of Filipino American Associations (CFAA) also participated. Global Networks, Janet Labar, and Cynthia Reidy donated books as gifts to the readers. Tambayan and Columbia Distributing provided food and drinks.

Marily Mondejar, FWN founder and CEO, joined the participants via video conferencing to share the three events that shaped the direction of the Filipina Women’s Network (Chapter 1 of DISRUPT). 

Following the example of the Singapore book reading led by Astrid Tuminez and Japan book reading led by Lita Manalastas-Watanabe where there was only one resident author, Dolly and Maria invited community members to choose excerpts from a chapter that resonated with them. The readers represented a diverse range of ethnicities, ages, and backgrounds. They are: 

  • Dolly Pangan Specht read Writing for Sainthood by Janet Susan R. Nepales; 
  • LaVerne B. Brown read Blackapina by Janet C.Mendoza Stickmon; 
  • Well Rivera Cao read Ad Astra per Aspira: To the Stars through Difficulties by Penelope V. Flores; 
  • Rae Santos read A Filipina in a Word, a Filipina in the World by Astrid S. Tuminez; 
  • Sunny Petit read We Speak their Names by Annalisa Vicente Enrile; 
  • Shannon Aniciete read A Guided Path: My Career in Medicine, Research and Public Service by Carmencita M. David-Padilla, M.D.; 
  • Kim Auto read Beating the Odds by Shirley S. Raguindin; and
  • Malia Gayomali, Elissa Santos, and Maili Smith read Letter to a Young Filipina by Lirio Sobrevinas Covey.


LaVerne B. Brown, who has spent most of her life working for civil rights and social justice, read Blackpina by Janet Stickmon, said that “the story of Blackpina touched my heart, as many of her experiences and concerns are shared by myself and others.” Sunny Petit, Executive Director, Center for Women and Leadership said that the piece that speaks to her is "sisterhood is political." The piece “feels so strongly something we talk about and something we try to imbue in all our programs. . . .  I am truly honored to be involved.”

Following the example of the Las Vegas reading, lead by Gloria Caoile, we invited young girls to read a Letter to a Young Filipina by Lirio Sobrevinas-Covey. The three young girls are Malia Gayomali (age 13), Elissa Santos (age 12), and Maili Smith (age 14). Lirio emailed back: Congratulations and thank you for taking part in this forum on Filipina Women global leaders. I wrote my letter with young girls and women like you in mind. I hope the diverse experiences and sentiments I described will be helpful as you develop your precious person-hood. 
Astrid Tuminez whose chapter was read by Rae Santos and who was in Barcelona took time to send this message: I believe that our stories of life, living, and transcending are super important to share.  We do not always know where our paths will lead, but we know that we can always DREAM, work hard, have faith, help others (and accept help in return), and define the mark we want to leave in this world. 

Dolly and Marianne proud to have met their objective of introducing the book to a diverse audience, not just to Filipinas but to a broader “sisterhood” in Portland. Their challenge to the readers and other participants is to continue sharing the stories through similar readings and other book events.

To order DISRUPT. Filipina Woman: Proud.Loud.Leading Without A Doubt. click on Amazon links below:


Image credit: Jon Oribello