Writer. Editor. Immigrants’ rights and human rights advocate.

VOrden_headshot by Rhea Fortes ManaloHello, kumusta! I’m Vina Orden, freelance writer of essays, interviews, reportage, and op-eds about the Pilipin* community in The Margins (the award-winning digital magazine of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop), hella pinay, the arts journalism forum Hyperallergic, Asian Journal, The FilAm, and The Halo-Halo Review. Personal essays and poetry may also be found on my blog hyffeinated. As an Editor of poetry and creative nonfiction at Slant’d magazine, I help uplift emerging Asian American voices. With London-based Tamara Crawford, I also co-host The Lift Up, a monthly podcast about books, writing, identity, and representation.

I was a 2022 Open City Fellow at AAWW and surfaced underreported stories of the pandemic from low-income, immigrant communities that remain invisible or occupy “in-between” spaces in New York City.  I also am working on my first novel for young adults and recently participated in Tin House’s 2022 YA Workshop and the 2022 Kweli Color of Children’s Literature Conference as a scholarship recipient and 2022 Kweli Sing the Truth! Mentee.

Born in Baguio City, Philippines, I immigrated to New York City when I was 13 years old to reunite with my mother who had been recruited to work in the US during a nursing shortage at the height of the AIDS crisis. My work as an immigrants’ rights and human rights advocate was motivated by my experience as a daughter of an overseas foreign worker and a political prisoner (my father was a student activist during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, Sr.) and as an immigrant myself.

I have volunteered for the New Sanctuary Coalition’s Accompaniment Program and have gone to Washington, D.C. on congressional lobbying visits with the New York Immigration Coalition. Concerned about ongoing human rights issues in the Philippines, I joined the Malaya Movement and the coalition New York for the Philippine Human Rights Act. I’ve been invited to speak about my work as an activist on KCSB-FM, Santa Barbara and on Quiet Before: Unearthing Anti-Asian Violence, Panel 4: The Future, a series of virtual programming hosted by Womankind, the Chinese American Museum DC, the 1882 Foundation, and Eaton Workshop.

I’m also a painter and was a member of the We Make America (WMA) artist/activist collective, which created thought-provoking objects, images, and actions to inspire and empower people to be critical thinkers and to engage as active participants in democracy. My work has been exhibited at Karenderya in Nyack, New York (“Fil-Am Road, 2019“); Areté Venue and Gallery (“The Art of Protest,” 2018), and Pratt Institute (“We Make America,” 2018) in New York City).

(Photo by New South Wales photographer, Rhea Fortes Manalo)

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