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1988

We build on the long legacy of women using organizing, outreach, and grassroots mobilization to improve the lives of farmworker communities. Our origins stretch back to 1988 in the Coachella Valley: due to immigration status, lack of formal education, and abusive work conditions, women were susceptible to violence in the fields and in their homes. Using theater and storytelling as educational tools, these women known as “Mujeres Mexicanas” came together to raise awareness about their rights and connected women to resources to disrupt the violence.

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Mujeres Campesinas | 1988-1991

Research with farmworker women in the Coachella Valley leading to the launch of this group; organizing other research on civic participation and pesticide problems. They organized several conferences for farm-working women in this valley, drawing attention and provoking dialogue on issues that affect farm-working women. They advocated for the elementary school to be called Cesar Chavez Elementary School in 1989-1991. Members asked at a September 1991 conference that these efforts be shared at the state level.

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1992

These early leaders began to dream about taking their work statewide to truly transform the conditions for all farmworker women. In 1992, with support from the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation and Ms. Foundation, we began organizing across California’s agricultural communities.

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1992

Mujeres Mexicanas ask Marion Standish, Executive Director of CRLAF, for financial support to organize at the state level. Ms. Standish raises funds by supporting a Farmworker Women leadership project. The mobilization of farmworker women began at the state level in November 1992. Communities were visited, forming groups of peasant women in more than 10 rural communities in California.

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1993

First meeting in Fresno, California in January 1993 of women leaders of organized groups and an Advisory Committee was formed in the first meeting of farmworker women. This advisory committee shares its problems and needs of its represented communities and agrees to continue meetings. The Advisory Committee continues its meetings. They organized another investigation (survey) of farm-working women responding from seven communities; They agree that this project will be called “Líderes Campesinas en California”; They work on the Líderes Campesinas logo with the children of the farm-working women. The Advisory Committee organizes with the support of technical coordinators the first state convening of farmworker women in Fresno, California, including topics such as: Low-income housing, domestic violence, pesticides, problems at work, minimum wage; They…

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1994

One of the first issues we targeted was the disruption of domestic violence and support for survivors.  Líderes Campesinas was among the first organizations to develop a Spanish-speaking prevention program within the lived context of rural Latina and indigenous women. For their innovative leadership on preventing domestic violence we were honored with a national Marshall’s and Prevention Fund award in 1994.

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1994

Second convening at the state level at UCR, Riverside, CA it was decided that Líderes Campesinas had to organize as a non-profit entity where farmworker women could make their own decisions. First training with members on HIV/AIDS in Farmworker Justice Fund funds. More than 17 thousand women were contacted this year at the state level.

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1995

First training with members on domestic violence with funds from the Center for Disease  Control and Prevention (CDC) and Migrant Clinicians Network (MCN) by Dr. Rachel Rodríguez. Beginning of our theaters. Conferences and mini-conferences are organized; More than 15 thousand women are contacted this year at the state level. Líderes Campesinas prepares in meetings sponsored by RDLN and Oxfam America in NY and participates in the International Women’s Conference in Beijing, China giving presentations in 8 different workshops.

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1996-1997

In 1996-97, we undertook the process of becoming an independent non-profit organization and hiring our first Executive Director and beginning to employ campesinas as organizers and staff. Our growing number of chapters began to meet monthly to unearth and address the most pressing needs of women in the community. Statewide we hosted biennial convenings, trainings, and community education projects and began to partner closely with government agencies and institutions such as local health departments, shelters, and policy makers to shape programs and policies that more effectively meet the needs of campesinas.

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1996-1997

The Board of Directors is established and named “Organización en California de Lideres Campesinas, Inc.” It is incorporated into the state as a 501©(3) mission and philosophy are established. Twelve committees are recognized as farmworker women and three experts added to the board. We worked with the Oaxacan Binational indigenous front to invite indigenous women to participate with Líderes Campesinas and strengthen their leadership.  

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1997-1998

Líderes Campesinas participates with the support of UCR in a project to visit the Binational Oaxacan Indigenous Front with the organized communities in Oaxaca to dialogue with women activists in cooperative members of the FIOB.

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2020

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, farmworkers were declared essential workers, yet without the protection for essential human rights. We released a statement to Governor Newsom and his wife demanding more education, protection, and relief for the community and continued this advocacy through vaccination campaigns and fighting for additional workplace protections as the pandemic continued.

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Today

Today

Today, Líderes Campesinas is the voice for Californian farmworker women with 17 place-based committees across the state. A few of the campaigns we’ve led over the years include efforts to reduce pesticide poisoning, increase healthcare access, stop oil and gas projects in our communities, and empower survivors of domestic violence.

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