Kalayo Pestaño is a community organizer and cultural worker based in Duwamish/Seattle. Born in southern Mindanao, Philippines, Kalayo survived immigration and assimilation in the Pacific Northwest, finding solace in sci-fi/fantasy as an emo nerd dreaming of a better world. In Seattle, the brilliance of black and brown women guided them to their own power. Kalayo’s early organizing and cultural work was grounded in the anti-imperialist and abolitionist visions they first encountered through Pinay sa Seattle (now Gabriela Seattle) and the Ladies First Collective (a project of CARA, Communities Against Rape and Abuse).
Kalayo is Co-Director at API Chaya supporting the self-determination, safety and wellness of survivors of gender-based violence and human trafficking. API Chaya builds power by mobilizing Asian Pacific Islander and immigrant communities to end abuse and exploitation, creating a world where all people can heal and thrive. They are a founding member of Queer The Land, a QT2BIPOC collective working towards generating resources by and for our communities, including owning land and our labor. They’re also a founding member of Building Autonomy and Safety for Everyone (BASE), a community self-defense and wellness class.
Kalayo’s cultural work includes producing and curating multimedia events, and creating music as hip hop artist rogue pinay. They are co-producer of their debut release “Blood Moon // The Things We Carry.”