Cindy Domingo

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Cindy Domingo


Cindy (Cynthia) Domingo is a Filipino-American community activist in the Seattle area.[1] She is the older sister of Lynn Domingo, and younger sister of the late Silme Domingo.

Cindy Domingo was an active member of the Washington State Rainbow Coalition in the 1980s, and served on the boards of the Church Council of Greater Seattle, LELO, and the International Examiner. She has been Board President of the Center for Social Justice and co-chair of U.S. Women & Cuba Collaboration, and currently serves as the Legislative Aide to King County Councilmember Larry Gossett.[2]

Getting active

Cindy Domingo insisted on joining her first demonstration in Seattle, Washington, on the second anniversary of the declaration of martial law, despite the objections and concern of his activist brother, Silme Domingo. A recent trip to the Philippines had convinced her to do something to oppose martial law in her parents’ homeland.[3]

Activism

Cindy Domingo, played a key role in the Asian American and Filipino youth movements of the 1970s, and has been a community leader in the Seattle area since then. In the 1970s, she helped lead solidarity campaigns on the University of Washington campus against the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines. She was active in the Union of Democratic Filipinos (KDP), for which she did organizing in Seattle and Oakland. On June 1st, 1981, Cindy's brother Silme Domingo, a KDP organizer and union reform activist in ILWU Local 37, was assassinated along with fellow union leader Gene Viernes. For the next ten years, Cindy served as the National Chair for the Committee for Justice for Domingo and Viernes. The campaign resulted in the conviction of the former ILWU Local 37 President and family friend Tony Baruso for organizing the assassination, and also proved that the murders had been ordered by the Marcos regime with U.S. government knowledge.

Cindy Domingo carried on to organize the Committee for Justice for Domingo and Viernes in the aftermath of the assassinations.

Cindy Domingo was an active member of the Washington State Rainbow Coalition in the 1980s, and served on the boards of the Church Council of Greater Seattle, LELO, and the International Examiner. She has been Board President of the Center for Social Justice and co-chair of U.S. Women & Cuba Collaboration, and currently serves as the Legislative Aide to King County Councilmember Larry Gossett.[4]

Goddard program

Goddard Cambridge Grad School of Social Change - KDP members Cindy Domingo, Maria Abadesco, Felix Tuyay and Rose Ibanez

Beginning in 1975, the KDP sent groups of activists to the Goddard Program at Cambridge for graduate studies in Philippine and Filipino American history. The intent was for these scholar-activists to become teachers in colleges and a few did.

Line of March

Cindy Domingo was a member of the Line of March.[5]

Murder

On June 1, 1981, Filipino rank-and-file leaders Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes were gunned down in cold blood inside the Alaska Cannery Workers Union office in Seattle. Both men, both cannery workers since their teenage years, had been swept into leadership of the largely Filipino union by the Rank and File Committee just months before the slayings.

Before he died, Silme was able to identify Pompeyo Benito Guloy, Jr. and Jimmy Bulosan Ramil, members of the Filipino gang known as the Tulisan, as the assailants. However, the Committee for Justice for Domingo and Viernes suspected from the beginning that much bigger forces were at work.

After years of international movement building, legal work, and hard-nosed investigation, they obtained the conviction not only of Guloy and Ramil, but the Tulisan gang leader, the ousted local union leader, and in a result unprecedented in U.S. history--a court ruling in 1989 that a foreign dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, had ordered the killings and had to pay monetary restitution for his act.

Silme and Gene were the first Asian American activists of their generation to be murdered by an enemy. They became active in the Asian American, left, and labor movements of Seattle in the late 1960s, and their talent, determination, and energy soon led them to become popular leaders. They were both 29 at the time of their death.

The murders of Gene and Silme were an incredible reprise of the assassination of radical Filipino Alaskan cannery worker officers Virgil Duyungan and Aurelio Simon in 1936.

Within days of the shootings, Ramil, 28, and Guloy, 22, were charged with first degree murder. On September 24, 1981, after a seven-week trial, a jury composed of six men and six women found Ramil and Guloy guilty of the charge.

Prosecuting attorney Joanne Maida proved that Domingo and Viernes were killed because their efforts to reform the corrupt system of dispatching workers to jobs in Alaska's seafood processing canneries were hampering the gambling activities of a Filipino gang known as the Tulisan. Workers were illegally forced to pay union and gang leaders for the right to be dispatched, and the union and the Tulisan organized gambling operations in every Alaskan cannery and workers' bunkhouse.

Maida successfully linked hitmen Ramil and Guloy to Fortunado (Tony) Dictado, the alleged leader of the Tulisan, who was subsequently charged and convicted with aggravated first-degree murder in the deaths of Domingo and Viernes.

In March of 1981, just weeks before he attended the international convention of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union (ILWU) in Hawaii, Viernes made his first trip to the Philippines. Partly a way to connect with his father's family, he also met with the leaders of the underground labor movement, Kilusang Mayo Uno and spoke in front of thousands of Filipino activists during the May First march and rally. There, Viernes extended an invitation to KMU's President Crispin Beltran to attend the ILWU convention to educate convention attendees about the repression of workers under the Marcos dictatorship.

Although the U.S. government refused to issue Beltran a visa, claiming that he was a subversive, events in the Philippines would still come to dominate the discussion at the ILWU convention.

Upon returning to the United States, Viernes met with Domingo and other members of the Local 37 Rank and File Committee to prepare for the upcoming ILWU convention. The Rank and File Committee, established in 1977 and composed of union members seeking to rid the union of corruption, lack of accountability, and collusion with the canneries, was already making tremendous inroads toward union reform. The committee charged the union leaders with failure to fight for member's rights against discrimination, low wages, poor working conditions, and lack of job security.

During Local 37's 1980 election, Domingo was elected secretary-treasurer and Viernes was elected to the controversial job of union dispatcher. In all, Rank and File candidates swept 11 of 17 positions, winning every election they filed for.

This election empowered Domingo and Viernes to represent the local at the upcoming international convention of the ILWU in Hawaii. At the convention, Domingo and Viernes were instrumental in persuading the ILWU International to adopt two resolutions, the first to support the organizing efforts in Alaska and second to send an ILWU investigation team to the Philippines.

No national labor organization had ever taken a position on the Marcos dictatorship despite overwhelming evidence of repression of labor movements in the Philippines. And, while the ILWU resolution did not condemn the Marcos dictatorship, it seemed only a matter of time before the investigation team would return from the Philippines with that conclusion. Within 24 hours of the resolution's passage, the Marcos government set about conspiring to murder Domingo and Viernes.

Even before Domingo had died, supporters were able to piece together the political motivations for the assassinations. Three weeks after the murders, Elaine Ko, Terri Mast (Silme’s widow and herself a newly elected Local 37 officer), Domingo’s siblings, Nemesio Domingo and Cindy Domingo, and other leaders from Seattle’s International District, formed the Committee for Justice for Domingo and Viernes (CJDV). Like Gene and Silme, some CJDV leaders were members of the Union of Democratic Filipinos (known by its Tagalog initials, KDP), an organization of radical Filipinos which had been instrumental in building the anti-Marcos movement throughout the U.S., and the Line of March, a national Marxist organization.

The CJDV rallied broad support from politicians, labor, and church and community leaders from diverse populations including the Filipino community. This was crucial to breaking the atmosphere of intimidation that had threatened the Local 37 members in pursuing the goals of the Rank and File committee. In addition, the CJDV provided the connections in the Filipino community necessary to build the legal case against the Tulisan gang members.

At the same time, Terri Mast, David Della, Lynn Domingo, and other members of the Rank and File Committee courageously stepped forward to take Gene and Silme's posts in the union, even as the blood of their fallen comrades still stained the union floor and despite grave threats from the Tulisan.

In 1982, backed by the Committee for Justice, the families of Domingo and Viernes brought a civil suit in Federal Court charging that the murders were committed at the direction of officials of the Marcos government in the Philippines. It also alleged that agencies and individuals of the U.S. government (including Alexander Haig and William French Smith) cooperated with Marcos' surveillance and harassment of U.S. citizens who were activists against the Marcos regime. However, all U.S. government officials and agencies were later dismissed as defendants in the case due to "national security" considerations.

From 1983 to 1986, the civil suit wound its way through the appeals process while the team of lawyers, composed of Mike Withey, James Douglas, John Caughlan, Elizabeth Schott, and a small army of others including Gary Iwamoto and other law students continued the legal course and discovery.

It wasn't until 1986, following the assassination of Philippine opposition hero Benigno Aquino that the U.S. government began to see Marcos as a liability to U.S. interests in the Philippines. When a mock election stole the Philippine presidency away from Aquino's wife, Cory, the island nation erupted in civil disobedience, leading the Marcoses to flee to Hawaii under U.S. protection.

Seeing the small window of opportunity, Cindy Domingo and attorney Mike Withey traveled to the Philippines hoping to encourage the Philippine government to cooperate in the Domingo/Viernes case. Although Philippine Solicitor General, Sedfrey Ordonez promised help, supporters of Marcos and the U.S. government undercut him.

By the time that the case finally made its way in front of a jury in 1989, Ferdinand Marcos had died, leaving his notorious wife Imelda as the main defendant.

A six-member jury, two alternates, and a packed federal courtroom listened to opening statements by plaintiffs attorney Jeffrey Robinson as he meticulously laid out the plaintiff's case, recounting the details of the June 1, 1981 murder, the identities of the murderers by Domingo, the connections to the Tulisan gang, to the connections to the Philippine government ruled by Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos.[6]

Tour

November 1982

In 1982 Terri Mast, David Della, and Cindy Domingo embarked on a speaking tour to publicize the murders of Gene Viernes, and Silme Domingo.

Committee for Justice for Domingo and Viernes steering committee

Lolololo.JPG

Arrested fighting Apartheid

In 1985 Seattle Filipinos arrested in Anti-Apartheid protests included Bob Santos, Danny Santos, Cindy Domingo of the Union of Democratic Filipinos, Marline Pedregosa and Vique Claraval of Coalition Against the Marcos Dictatorship/Philippine Solidarity Network, David Della and John Foz of Local 37, and Jeanette Lazam.[8]

2000 Happy 80th Birthday Will Parry

In the Special May Day Supplement, Section C, May 13,2000 of People's Weekly World a advertisement was devoted to thanking Communist Party USA member Will Parry and wishing him a Happy 80th Birthday.[9]

The signatories included Cindy Domingo.

Up For Democracy

Up For Democracy, created in the mid-2000's, described itself as "a multi-cultural grassroots coalition for participatory democracy, economic and social justice and peace"[10]

Steering Committee members included Cynthia Dominingo, Center for Social Justice, Washington.

Cuba

Cindy Domingo, has visited Cuba 14 times, primarily as a leader of delegations of women.[11]

US Cuba and Women's Collaboration

Members of the US Cuba and Women's Collaboration, as of December 27, 2017 included Cindy Domingo - co-founder.[12]

National Planning Committee USSF

Contact Sheet for the National Planning Committee of the U.S. Social Forum, Detroit 2010. Original April 09, 2009, Updated February 23, 2010. Center for Social Justice (Seattle, WA) Cindy Domingo, Lynn Domingo.

Letter to Holder and Obama

February 7, 2011, Seattle United Against FBI Repression, contacts: Ellen Finkelstein and Doug Barnes press release;

Local leaders and groups ask President Obama and U.S. Attorney General to end Grand Jury investigation of peace and solidarity activists...

More than 70 regional community leaders and organizations have signed an open letter calling on President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to use their authority to "stop assaults on freedom of speech and association, to halt FBI entrapment, [and] to keep nonviolent activists from being sent to prison.” The letter was issued by Seattle United Against FBI Repression.

Signatories included Cindy Domingo.

Old comrades

Acindy.JPG

Cindy Domingo May 31, 2015 near Seattle, WA ·

Discussion with Bobby Garcia, author of "To Suffer Thy Comrades," and leader in PATH, Peace Advocates for Truth, healing and Justice. A difficult but necessary discussion! — with Romy Garcia, Velma Veloria, Francisco Irigon, Dionnie Dionisio, Robert Francis Garcia, Odette Polintan, Kris Melroe, David Della and Rick Polintan.

Retail Justice Alliance Steering Committee

As of 2015 the Retail Justice Alliance Steering Committee included;[13]

  • Cindy Domingo.

"Women Against Marcos"

The 2016 book "Women Against Marcos: Stories of Filipino and Filipino American Women Who Fought a Dictator" By Mila de Guzman documents the lives of eight women, in the Philippines and in the U.S., who "put aside concerns for their well-being in order to fight injustice".

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"Summary Execution" booklaunch

All are invited to attend the Commemoration and Book Launch Party celebrating of the lives and work of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes, and the publication of Summary Execution: The Seattle Assassinations of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes by Michael Withey, from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20 (2018)at the Seattle Labor Temple, 2800 1st Ave.

On June 1, 1981, Domingo and Viernes, two young Filipino activists were murdered in Seattle in what was made to appear a gang slaying. The victims’ families and friends suspected that they were considered a threat to Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his regime’s relationship to the United States. In the days after the murders, they formed the Committee for Justice for Domingo and Viernes to investigate. In Summary Execution, attorney and author Michael Withey describes the 10-year struggle for justice waged by that committee.

References