Terri Nilliasca has been organizing around issues of class, race, and gender since she was in college. After graduating, she organized welfare recipients and then embarked on a 10-year career as a labor organizer of low-wage workers in the South for the union, UNITE. She also spent five months in the Philippines with the militant labor organization, Kilusang Mayo Uno (the May 1st movement). Inspired by the depth of the movement in the Philippines, Terri decided to go to law school to gain more tools for the struggle for a more just society. She graduated from CUNY School of Law in 2011. She has also been active in NYC Filipino organizing for more than a decade, first as a founding member of Network in Solidarity for the People of the Philippines and now as a Community Advisory Board Member for DAMAYAN Migrant Workers Assn. As an activist, she has been actively involved in the use of storytelling. As an organizer, she encourages workers to tell their stories of abuse by their bosses in order to build a class-based consciousness. As a union organizer, she has strategized around how to tell workers’ stories in order to build public support for the right to organize. While working with Filipina/o victims of trafficking, Terri grappled with other anti-trafficking activists around questions with storytelling as a tactic: does re-telling of stories re-traumatize victims; how does the telling of the worst abuses affect juries when they hear trafficking stories that are not as “egregious;” who crafts the stories and for whom? In a recent blog post, Terri posed provocative questions about the narrative surrounding the passage of the NY Domestic Worker Bill of Rights and whether legislative reform merely reinforces a neoliberal agenda or advances workers’ rights.

Seminars & Working Groups