Farmworkers play one of the most important roles in our day-to-day lives: bringing food and comfort to our tables. They feed our families while working tediously to support crops and maintain healthy conditions for consumption. An estimated 2.4 million farmworkers work on farms and ranches that span across the United States; and 49% of them are immigrants from other countries whereas 33% of those farmworkers earn incomes below the poverty line.
This Labor Day, we are partnering with Founder and President of Justice for Migrant Women Monica Ramirez to give 10% off our proceeds today to the Farmworker’s Pandemic Relief Fund. Monica comes from a farmworker family in rural Ohio and knows how important the struggle is to bring food to the tables of Americans, especially during a crisis like COVID. Here at DYLAN LEX, we are incredibly humbled by the stories and persistence of farmworkers across the globe. We aim to share this Harvard grad’s story to inspire you to make a difference in your community and give back to those in need.
: Monica! We are so honored to have you and your organization highlighted for Labor Day. We understand the crucial role activists like you play in helping our society bring on the change it desperately needs. How did you come to create not one but three amazing non-profits? (Justice for Migrant Women, Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, and The Latinx House)
: Thank you for highlighting farmworkers and our work at a time when they need our support the most. Justice for Migrant Women and the other organizations I founded were born out of the curiosity that my parents instilled in me, as well a deep desire to give back. This has fueled my ongoing efforts to tackle the issues impacting the farmworker community and other migrants. I have scaled this project three times- from a state-based initiative for farmworker women in Florida to a national initiative for farmworker women and other immigrant women workers when I was working as an attorney at Southern Poverty Law Center to its current form- a stand-alone organization for farmworker women and all women who migrate for work.
: Tell us about what the importance of Labor Day means to you and how the Pandemic Farmworker's Relief Fund has impacted you and your work.
: This Labor Day is especially important, as we should all collectively fiercely recognize and applaud the work of heroic essential workers across the country who have helped to keep us afloat during the pandemic. These include our domestic workers who care for our loved ones, farmworkers who work tirelessly to put food on our tables, grocery store workers, mail carriers, the list goes on. This Labor Day, I especially want to honor all of the essential workers who have died due to the coronavirus, while also continuing to demand change and work to improve working conditions for these essential workers who we have known have always been essential. The Farmworker's Pandemic Relief Fund has been a great starting point since the beginning of the pandemic and a truly impactful way that we have been able to tangibly support these farmworker's during this unprecedented time.
: The California wildfires have greatly impacted farmworkers this season. What steps can our followers take to take action and help out?
: We need support for more masks. We have distributed over a million masks with the help of our partners prior to the wildfires. Farmworkers need more masks to replace the ones that they have been using, especially now that it is hard for them to come by the N95 protective masks. They continue to work even without this important protective gear. People should also support organizations in California, like the UFW, the Dolores Huerta Foundation and Lideres Campesina, among others, so that they can get aid to workers in California. I also highly encourage anyone who can to continue to donate to our farmworker relief fund, so that we can continue to provide these brave workers with the supplies, care and support that they so desperately need.
: How did you get started in activism? What advice would you give to those wanting to be activists or more involved in their communities?
: I have always been passionate about equality and justice for all, and especially for marginalized communities. I come from a farmworker family who taught me that it was important to be proud of my culture and my family’s history as migrant farmworkers. They also taught me about social justice issues in the US and the importance of giving back to the community. I started organizing in my community when I was 14 and I have not looked back. My advice would be to just start somewhere - either big or small, do something. Identify what you're most passionate about and most importantly why you want to do this work, and let that be your mission that will always drive you forward.
: What goals have you set for yourself in 2020, and what can we see from you in the future?
: My mission has always been to work to elevate the voices of marginalized communities and my goals this year are to especially work towards this as we are coming upon an extremely important election year where these voices need to be heard now more than ever. We just launched a new digital lifestyle platform for the Latina community called "She Se Puede'' which I am a proud co-founder of, alongside other powerful Latina leaders like Eva Longoria and America Ferrera. We also have a project that we started called Sisters Rising that focuses on the power of Native women, including those who are Latina, and we are building an entire rural civic engagement project because we know that there are Latinas and women who have the power, but just need the tools to exercise their power. We're so proud of what we've built and hope it will inspire Latinas across the globe to realize their own power and voice. I encourage all of your readers here to check it out!
: And last but not least, how would you define your personal style?
: I love bright colors and flowers make me happy so I wear them almost every day no matter the occasion or the event! It is important for me to embrace and display the pride that I have for my culture so most days I wear traditional Mexican shirts and dresses. I wear these clothes because they are beautiful but I also want little Latina girls to see me in our traditional clothes so that they can understand that we can be both outwardly and inwardly proud of our culture.