We bid farewell to Gigi Francisco with a sense of deep loss and sadness. Gigi was General Co-ordinator of DAWN (Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era) from 2008 to 2014 when her struggle with cancer forced her to step down. Yet, she continued to engage with us when she could particularly during last year’s consultations on the Beijing + 20 review process in the Asia Pacific region. She wisely advised and guided us through difficult and sensitive negotiations, quietly and strategically positioning arguments and steering discussions as only she could between a diverse array of women’s/feminist organisations as well as with wider social movements and their representatives. She was generous with her time and a true and steady friend and was never afraid to stand up for what she believed without compromise, arguing a standpoint that needed to be stated and reiterated rather than abandoned, particularly in the face of backlash and resistance.
We remember Gigi too for her tremendous warmth, mischievous humour, untrammelled laughter and wide reassuring smile! She could always be depended upon. Gigi was also full of integrity as she championed a range of social justice issues ranging from environmental justice to LBT rights. She came from a strong culture of social movement mobilising starting way back in the anti-Marcos struggle to the Feminist Dialogues at the World Social Forum and the futurist work she tirelessly championed on financing for development long before most activists realised its critical importance.
Gigi visited Sri Lanka a few years ago for a DAWN Executive meeting and went about meeting old friends and came around to the Women and Media Collective to see what we were doing. She was extremely concerned about the war and ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka and often asked what support she could offer to conflict related work leading to overseeing the DAWN Monograph on Women Transforming Peace Activism in a Fierce New World which articulated a feminist methodology of engaging with conflict and peacebuilding.
We will miss Gigi’s fighting spirit and passion and it is with heartfelt appreciation that we salute her life and the solidarity and support she unstintingly gave us. We offer our condolences to her beloved family and friends at this difficult time of grief and loss as we also pay tribute to her life and love.
Kumi, Sepali and all at the Women and Media Collective
25 July 2015