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2006 Vagina Warriors

By Cherie M. Querol Moreno from the 2006 V-Diaries

Recognition ceremony held during "The Vagina Monologues" at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, February 2006

TVM 2006 Flyer 8.5 x 11.JPG

Tess Crescini is a real estate broker and co-host of her own community TV channel program conceived to educate and Tess Crescini.jpgempower individuals who have reclaimed their lives from cruelty. Like herself. Shortly after she came to this country with her father at 13, she was date-raped. She endured psychological, physical and financial abuse by her first and second husbands. She was sexually assaulted by a trusted friend, became dependent on anti- depressants and contemplated suicide but was deterred by her responsibility to her three sons. Education and writing became the refuge of the published poet and author from Fremont. She is president of the Filipino American Real Estate Professionals Association, and a June bride-to-be.

Ligaya Hattari is project manager for administration of Ligaya Hattari.jpgCalifornia Indian Manpower Consortium in Sacramento. She is a scholar, teacher and a researcher who earned her doctorate in Anthropology with her dissertation on domestic violence within the Asian / Asian American communities. Ligaya speaks freely about her experience with domestic violence, which informs her work as a member of the board of My Sister’s House and volunteer facilitator for its Women to Work program.

A single mother to a 15-year-old son, she encourages him to understand the dynamics of healthy against unhealthy relationships, advocating efforts to address domestic violence (DV) issues and her labor of love at
My Sister’s House as her greatest contributions to the women’s movement.

Sarah Jane Ilumin - web.jpgSarah Jane Ilumin is a professional singer, event planner, and president of her design firm in Daly City. A mother to a grown son, she first played the role at age 9 when she assumed the responsibilities of her mother, who was abused by her father. Hearing that her parents were planning to split their four children between themselves, Sarah Jane vowed to support her three siblings.

She grew up sooner than most and did not take time to process the intense emotions she felt through the years she mothered her family. She joined the cast of The Vagina Monologues to “complete my healing.” She is quick to tell her story“so that others can find their strength” in her example.

Dorka Keehn has been a trailblazer for 14 years. She co-founded Dorka Keehn 2.jpg1000 Flowers, a GOTV initiative to engage women in the 2004 elections. She formed EMERGE, a political leadership training program for women Democrats in Northern California. She also co-formed Women Count, a national nonpartisan media and education drive to mobilize women in the 2000 elections.

Dorka is a member of the Commission of the Status of Women of the City and County of San Francisco and has been its president and vice president. She chairs the Justice and Courage Domestic Violence Panel, convened to review San Francisco’s response to domestic violence cases in light of the murder of Claire Joyce Tempongko.

Gloria Megino Ochoa was the first Filipina elected to a Gloria Megino Ochoa.jpgmainland U.S. County seat and almost made it to the U.S. Congress after her term of office on the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors in 1993. The Deputy Chief Counsel of the California Senate Judiciary Committee was born and raised in the Philippines, earned her BS in Chemistry and juris doctor at UC Davis. For almost 30 years, she has been in the forefront of the women’s movement, drawing from her personal experience with domestic violence to help draft women- and survivor-friendly legislation such as the domestic violence prevention act that became a model for other states and basis for federal law known as Violence Against Women Act. In June she will head the board of directors of Sacramento-based My Sister’s House and hopes to expand the agency’s services.

Jonah Oliverio defines fearlessness. She is an administrative assistant by day and a community educator on call. A member of tJonah Oliverio.jpghe survivors’ panel of Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse (CORA), the Pacifica resident shares her experience at public events and agency workshops to deepen the cultural sensitivity of staff members responding to domestic violence cases.

For 14 years, Jonah was locked in a marriage with a man who subjected her and their two sons to violent verbal outbursts, name- calling, curses, public humiliation, and threats. He slapped her around. Twice police were called to their home by concerned neighbors. She sought counseling, liberated herself from her abusive husband, and gives moral support to other survivors at her support group.

Imelda Oppenheim is a personal fitness trainer in San Mateo Imelda Oppenheim - V Warrior photo2.jpgwho has worked in diverse fields including event planning and marketing. Her serenity belies her painful past. Healing for her is “a work in progress.” She joined the cast of FWN’s The Vagina Monologues to “reconnect with my roots” and to honor her mother who is a domestic violence survivor.

Her abusive father used the children to punish their mother after she left to save herself from a savage beating. The five children were split up, some resettled in the United States with their mother. Despite the separation, they were nurtured by their mother’s gift of hope for a better life. She taught Imelda “never to accept any type of abuse.”

Beverly Upton has had a long and brilliant history of advocating for women’s rights. The executive director of the San Beverly Upton.jpgFrancisco Domestic Violence Consortium and Partners Ending Domestic Violence, she leads 18 member agencies in setting and implementing direct service and public policy.

Beverly is a relentless champion of collaboration of shelters, legal service providers, and public policy agencies to close gaps thereby providing optimum service for clients and their children. Her service began with her exposure to the human rights struggle of garment workers, which sent her to India and Pakistan to set “codes of conduct.” Her personal experience with domestic abuse adds fuel to her passion to end family violence.

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