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.including
Our current focus pertains to anti-discrimination & anti-violence, equal pay and other general labor protections. Justice for Migrant Women is currently engaging on advocacy related to the federal BE HEARD in the Workplace Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act, and other state and local efforts.
Justice for Migrant Women has created a rural civic engagement initiative focusing on the needs of migrant women and other marginalized community members to help ensure that political leaders consider their priorities. Three major factors pose barriers to civic engagement in rural America: existing information deserts, civic desserts and infrastructure challenges.
We are building the skills of women and girls of color in Ohio to be vocal advocates for their communities, including participating in setting community priorities and advancing solutions to overlooked issues. We are conducting outreach and providing education to challenge norms that exclude women from civic life and build their capacity for and commitment to civic engagement – ranging from voting to seeking elected and appointed political office. J4MW is also implementing leadership training programs to unlock the leadership of migrant women workers and other rural women and girls of color and grow their public influence.
Additionally, we will be working with “hometown heroes” and local community leaders to help assist us in our efforts to use creative outreach methods in these rural communities. Our goal is to awaken, connect and commit community members to civic engagement activities.
Justice for Migrant Women conducts: public awareness and educational campaigns, including Know Your Rights presentations to workers; art activism through The Bandana Project, which raises awareness about sexual harassment against farmworkers; a gender equity outreach initiative targeting farmworker women in NW Ohio; and strategic media initiatives.
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, Mónica Ramírez, 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.
Justice for Migrant Women is engaged in culture shift and narrative work that centers migrant women, their families and experiences. Real people’s stories and lived experiences have the potential to change the way we react to problems, relate to one another, and think about policy solutions. We are working to illuminate and amplify the stories of migrant women, including farmworker women, through the workers' lived experiences to better inform and advance policy and advocacy priorities. This can occur through their testimony at conferences, convenings, and Congressional briefings and other events, as well as through original video content shared through social media.
With support from Race Forward’s Butterfly Lab Immigrant Narrative Project in 2021, Justice for Migrant Women's founder, Mónica Ramírez, launched “The Humans Who Feed Us.” This narrative change campaign increases visibility for and humanizes the immigrant community members who work across the U.S. food system, in partnership with celebrity chefs, restaurants, actors, universities, and food and beverage brands nationwide. Ramírez received a 2022 James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in part for her work on the campaign.
The Latinx House is a new initiative which aims to change the image of the Latinx community by amplifying the authentic experiences, voices and content, along with policy priorities and other key issues, that are brought to the forefront by Latinx artists, entertainers, policy experts and grassroots organizers. The mission of the initiative is to unite and rally the Latinx community by creating physical and virtual “houses” at places of cultural and political significance. These spaces will be used to hold discussion sessions about pressing societal issues and encourage content creation related to them. The project’s first major pop-up took place at the Sundance Film Festival 2020.
Justice for Migrant Women is building power and making change through multi-sector and multi-ethnic collaborations to create issue-focused organizing that spans to or reaches multiple workforces, many of which employ migrant women workers and their families.
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 is a founding partner for the Always Essential national campaign to capitalize on the “essential work” narrative highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic to catalyze public opinion to support policy change to raise standards for low-wage worker health, safety and income. Justice for Migrant Women is also leading state-based efforts in Ohio (Essential Ohio) to win protections for agricultural and other essential workers as part of COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts.