Our Partners

Filipino-American Women's Network (Minnesota)

"Reach Out and Reach Within: FAWN Engages Rural Filipino Americans in Minnesota"

For nearly 25 years, the Minnesota Chapter of FAWN has been a valuable resource for the issues and concerns of Filipino Americans in the state. By undertaking training and education, leadership development, and building relationships among Filipino American women, FAWN addresses barriers caused by racism, classism and sexism.

  FAWN - MN logo

Many Filipino women have come to Minnesota as "pen-pal brides" or to work and earn money. Feelings of isolation and powerlessness can be common. Since this population is scattered throughout rural Minnesota, it can be challenging to build a sense of community and common identity, which is what the community organization Filipino American Women's Network, MN (FAWN) aims to address.

Among other issues affecting women, FAWN-MN works on mentorship and leadership, employment and workplace issues, and issues of political representation. With nearly 10,000 Filipino and Filipino-Americans in Minnesota, FAWN's small cadre of dedicated volunteers definitely has its work cut out for it.

FAWN used the community engagement funding from the NGEC to work with and gather information from the Filipino community. Their central question was, "How do your organizations or circles of friends serve Filipino and Filipino-American women and what issues are emerging?" As part of their process, members of the group reached out to other Filipino women in rural Minnesota, in the Lake of Woods area.

As part of their series of dialogues, FAWN hosted the Filipino Resource Day: Celebrating and Connecting Community, on Saturday, April 26, 2008. It was the first time that the community featured nonprofit programs and government resources to help community members access support and social services. At the event, FAWN shared the results of their recent community survey.

Organizations provided information that included immigration, services for seniors, voter registration, and domestic violence prevention, to name a few. Also, many of the Filipino organizations in Minnesota were present as well. Performances from the Cultural Society of Filipino Americans and Fil-Minnesota Youth group helped to liven up the event, along with delicious Filipino food. As FAWN engages Filipino American women through targeted special events like these, FAWN thinks innovatively and proactively about how to effectively help empower their communities through listening, learning and a sense of common identity.

 

"As a community, we [Filipinos] have done relatively well economically, educationally, and socially. Yet we are not very visible within the Asian-American and larger communities. When needs for services come up, particularly for Filipino American women, we do not have the structure or training to respond to them." -Elsa Batica, FAWN Co-Chair