Mónica hails from a farmworker family that settled out of the migrant stream to live year round in rural Ohio. She is a long-time advocate, organizer, social entrepreneur and attorney fighting to eliminate gender-based violence and secure gender equity. For over two decades, she has fought for the civil and human rights of women, children, workers, Latinos/as and immigrants.
In 2003, Mónica created the first legal project in the United States dedicated to addressing gender discrimination against farmworker women, which she scaled to create Esperanza: The Immigrant Women’s Legal Initiative of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
In addition to founding Justice for Migrant Women, co-founded Alianza Nacional de Campesinas. In her capacity as Alianza's Board President, Mónica wrote the letter that was published in TIME magazine from farmworker women to women in the entertainment industry. It has been credited with helping to spark the creation of the TIME’S UP movement.
Mónica is recognized as a thought leader and prominent voice in the Latinx community. She has been awarded numerous awards for her work, including Harvard Kennedy School’s inaugural Gender Equity Changemaker Award, the Feminist Majority’s Global Women’s Rights Award, and Forbes Mexico included her on its 2018 list of 100 Powerful Women, among other distinctions.
Mónica is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago, The Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law and Harvard Kennedy School.
Follow her @MonicaRamirezDC on Twitter and Instagram
Kelley Bruner grew up in rural Florida where she became intimately aware of the reality of the rural poor and the harmful impact of the discriminatory policies and practices that impact the people of color and the marginalized in the deep South still today.
It was this personal awareness with some of these injustices that led Kelley to become a civil rights attorney. She was determined to fight for justice and to push for the expansion of rights for those who have been left out or disenfranchised over the years.
Kelley is a seasoned civil rights litigator. She has handled employment cases on behalf of migrant workers, personal injury cases against hate groups who targeted immigrants, as well as cases involving violations by law enforcement and other authorities aimed at depriving individuals of their rights.
Kelley spent the majority of her legal career litigating cases with famed civil rights lawyer, Morris Dees. In addition to this, Kelley is exceptionally skilled with creating common sense systems that help ensure that technology can best meet the needs of lawyers and their clients.
In addition to her legal work, Kelley has managed the large budget of a local PTA, as well as compliance and governance matters related to a non-profit charity. Most recently, Kelley has supported Justice for Migrant Women's policy, campaign work and administrative initiatives.
Kelley is a graduate of Florida State University and New York University School of Law.
Justice for Migrant Women works closely with migrant women worker leaders and allies to provide education, as well as tools to advance the policy and advocacy goals that have been established by migrant women for themselves, their families and their communities.
Among these, we coordinated national focus groups to understand some of the systems that fail migrant women workers when addressing sexual harassment. We have also worked with rural leaders to better understand some of the obstacles and opportunities for engaging migrant and rural women in civic engagement in their communities.
Justice for Migrant Women has been engaged in educating lawmakers and other officials globally and throughout the U.S. about some of the issues that prevent migrant women from reaching their full potential and, even worse, pose a threat to their safety and security. Among these, we have spent significant time educating decision-makers about the widespread gender based violence against migrant women at work, in their homes and in migration.
We have also raised awareness about some of the other types of workplace threats, including wage theft and dangerous working conditions. Our work centers the experiences, voices and leadership of migrant women to present the necessary solutions to those in a position to make the necessary changes.
The Bandana Project is a public awareness campaign aimed at addressing the issue of workplace sexual violence against migrant farmworker women in the United States. White bandanas are used as a symbol of the sexual exploitation of farmworker women because farmworker women have said that they use their clothes, including bandanas, to protect them from sexual harassment and assault in the workplace.
Community members, community organizations, governmental representatives, lawyers, anti-sexual violence activists and many others decorate and exhibit white bandanas to show their solidarity with the fight to end this serious problem.
It was originally created in 2007 by Justice for Migrant Women's founder, Monica Ramirez, while she was an attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Thousands of bandanas have been decorated around the US and in different parts of the world.