Farmworker Justice Rises

Today, Farmworker Justice will rise. We will rise in solidarity with the Alianza Nacional de Campesinas (Alliance of Women Farmworkers) and others all over the world to end violence against women. We will rise as a part of One Billion Rising.

One Billion Rising, an international event that aims to bring attention to the issue of violence against women, will take place on February 14, 2013. The event is organized by V-Day, a non-profit organization founded by Eve Ensler, the playwright of the Vagina Monologues. Why One Billion Rising? Because approximately one billion women have been victims of violence around the world. Among these women are farmworkers.

Farmworker women and girls in the United States are at high risk of sexual violence and sexual harassment in the fields. Indigenous women are especially vulnerable. Many have limited Spanish proficiency and are discriminated against due to their ethnicity or language. According to a report last year from Human Rights Watch, women in the fields are subjected to rape, coercive sexual conduct, groping, and verbal harassment from foremen, supervisors, farm labor contractors and others who have the power to hire and fire workers. Few women report these abuses. They fear employer retaliation. They lack information about their rights in the workplace. They are ashamed of telling others about what happened to them. They fear that reporting may reveal their documentation status and/or the documentation status of loved ones. They lack the resources to complete the lengthy and complicated reporting process.

Farmworker Justice and the Alianza Nacional de Campesinas are rising to ensure that these women’s voices are heard. Farmworker women endure hazardous working and living conditions. They not only have to take care of themselves but also their families. They should not have to endure violence and harassment while harvesting the fruits and vegetables we eat.

So, we rise. And we invite you to rise too.