Justice for Migrant Women joined together with Hispanics In Philanthropy to raise immediate funds to help keep farmworker families safe from #COVID19 as they perform "essential" work to feed us.
Farmworkers do life-sustaining work. Two to three million workers across our country plant, pick and pack the food that we eat. Of these workers, an estimated 900,000 of the workforce are women. Despite their critical contributions, farmworkers often live in the shadows of our society and are subject to substandard working conditions. Farmworkers are excluded from some of the most basic labor protections and are at risk of wage theft, rampant sexual harassment and severe occupational injuries from heavy machinery, sharp implements and other unsafe conditions. Exposure to harmful pesticides is also a major issue. Pesticides have an acute impact on farmworkers’ health and lives, especially for women. Pesticides lead to rashes, headaches, nausea and serious health consequences like miscarriage and child deformity.
Given this reality and the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we are gravely concerned about the health and welfare of the farmworker community, their families and the security of our entire food supply. While political leaders are swiftly taking measures in order to contain the outbreak, slow the spread of the virus and save lives, decisions are being made that have an impact on the lives and livelihoods of workers, including farmworkers.
Justice for Migrant Women joined with Hispanics In Philanthropy to raise funds to address the immediate needs of the farmworker community and mitigate the risks of the pandemic.
During the pandemic, more than ever, farmworkers needed our support during these uncertain times. All funds raised went directly to help farmworkers purchase basic, yet essential, materials, including masks for the farmworkers as well as the healthcare professionals who serve them, groceries, hygienic supplies, diapers, formula and medical supplies and to assist them with payments for rent, utilities and medical care expenses.
Our partner organizations, such as the Coalition of Florida Farmworker Organizations (FL), East Coast Migrant Head Start Project (Multi-state), Farmworker Association of Florida (FL), The United Farm Workers Foundation (CA, WA), Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noreste (PCUN) (OR), Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA) (FL), Pathstone Corporation (Multi-state), NC FIELD (NC), La Cooperativa Campesina de California (CA), Proteus, Inc. (CA), Student Action with Farmworkers (NC), Telamon Corporation (Multi-state), UMOS (WI, MN), La Union del Pueblo Entero (TX), Campesinos Sin Fronteras (AZ), Rural & Migrant Ministry (NY), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) (PR), Centro de los Derechos del Migrante (MD), Campaign for Migrant Worker Justice (OH, NC), HOLA Ohio (OH), Community to Community Development (WA), Idaho Organization of Resource Councils (ID), Pioneer Valley Workers Center (MA), Migrant Justice (VT), Child and Migrant Services, Inc. (CO), Called to Serve Farmworkers, Inc. (FL), Southeast Georgia Communities Project (GA), El Comite de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agrícolas (CATA) (NJ, PA, MD, DE), Hispanic Federation - Puerto Rico (PR), Farmworker & Landscaper Advocacy Project (IL), Illinois Migrant Council (IL), Proteus Employment Opportunities Inc. (IA, IN, NE), Community Resources and Housing Development Corporation (CO), Workers Center of Central New York (NY), Project Gettysburg-Leon/Casa de la Cultura (PA), Vecinos Farmworker Health Program (NC), Pinal Hispanic Council (AZ), Migrant Farmworkers Assistance Fund (MO), Rural Employment Opportunities, Inc. (MT), Bienestar Inc. (OR), Westminster Free Clinic (CA), Community Action Program for Central Arkansas (CAPCA, Inc.) (AR, LA), Community Council of Idaho (ID), Central Virginia Legal Aid Society (CVLAS) (VA), and La Conexion de Wood County (OH) received money from this collective fund to help provide farmworker community members with much-needed resources and goods to meet their basic needs.
Over $4,240,000 has been distributed through May, 2022.
Many thanks to the talented and caring Mario De La Torre for generously offering to create #Masks4Farmworkers and their health care providers. We are honored to team up with him and his team to launch this project in partnership with Hispanic Heritage Foundation and National Center for Farmworker Health to help provide farmworkers and the rural health care providers who serve them with this much needed personal protective equipment (PPE). For more information on this project, click here.
Over 2 million masks have been awarded via the #Masks4Farmworkers project.
During the past year, migrant women have informed us of the urgent need there is for reusable masks which is where #Masks4Migrants hopes to make a positive contribution. In recognition of International Women’s Day (March 8), a collective of Justice for Migrant Women, Mercado Global, This Is About Humanity, and Hispanic Heritage Foundation are now joining together to expand the work and launch this #Masks4Migrants campaign to protect migrant women and their families at the U.S. border. We launched our #Masks4Migrants campaign and met our goal of raising $75,000 during Women’s History Month 2021 and funded 20,000 masks for migrant women and children at the border.
Each mask is handmade by Mercado Global partner artisans – women in the highlands of Guatemala. Being involved in this campaign offers them the opportunity to play a critical role in relief efforts all while earning an income that is essential during a time of such need. With the main sources of revenue in the region, tourism and remittances, disappearing over the past year, many Mercado Global partner artisans have become the primary breadwinners in their households.
Even before the pandemic, people had fled from their communities due to systemic poverty, violence and racism, and the harsh effects of climate change. Many of the families who will receive masks hail from the communities those same masks were made in, renewing a sense of hope and care regardless of how far they are from their home. With the aid of Guatemalan women, we're supporting migrant women’s advocacy efforts for their communities’ wellbeing in spite of borders.
Justice for Migrant Women joined together with other farmworker-serving and advocacy organizations on March 20 to issue a statement with critical concerns that must be addressed on the federal level to keep farmworkers safe from COVID-19. Read our statement here. Political leaders must take measures to keep all community members safe and healthy, including farmworker community members. A list of specific policy recommendations was delivered to the Majority and Minority leaders in both the US House and the US Senate, as well as all members of the US Congress in commemoration of National Farmworker Awareness Week to urge Congress to act quickly in implementing policy priorities and recommendations related to farmworkers and the pandemic. You can read that letter here.
On June 18, 2020, Justice for Migrant Women sent a list of policy priorities to the US Senate in advance of their deliberations on the next COVID-19 response bill urging them to ensure that support and safeguards are included for the physical safety, health, and economic security of migrant women and their families. You can read that letter below.