Women Empowerment in Action: Alianza Nacional de Campesinas

From October 2nd to 4th the National Farmworker Women Alliance celebrated their First Annual Meeting. The purpose was to create and opportunity in which they can be able to meet their district representatives and discuss important issues such as health, labor laws, discrimination, harassment and immigration that are concerning thousands of farmworker women. As their mission says, they created this organization "to unify the struggle to promote farm worker women´s leadership in a national movement, to create a broader visibility and advocate for changes to ensure their human right". It is necessary to say that all these women came in representing the organization to which they belong to in their states; so each one of them is the voice of hundreds.

With this meeting I am sure they accomplish most of their goals. The meetings were held at the Mortara Center for International Studies of the Georgetown University. At first, they introduced themselves and the organizations that they were representing. The next day they were going to the meet their district representatives, so their "madrinas" gave advice on how to approach them. All were working very hard, and while this, they received the visit of the President of Georgetown University, John DeGioia, who stopped by to welcome the National Farmworker Women Alliance and offers Georgetown University support whenever they need it. That just gave them more reasons to go ahead.

That evening, the National Farmworker Women Alliance offer a networking reception where they gave special recognitions to some of the persons that have helped them to settle this initiative; among those were John de Goia and RC staff members.

The next day, they visited their Representatives and shared with them some information regarding farmworker women present situation and recommendations on how to address those. In the afternoon, they had a briefing with USDA personnel.White They received feedback from the White House, the Department of Justice, the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, the Dept. of Education, the Office of Migration Education, the Dept. of Health and Human Services and the Dept. of Labor. After each intervention, there was a Q&A session where the Alliance exposed their concerns. The event finish with the closing remarks from Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration, Oscar González and invite all the attendants to the a reception in the USDA Whitten Building Patio. In this reception, they also honoured some of their "madrinas": Lorette Picciano, Christine Chavez among others, and encourage men to be their "padrinos".

All the attendants were very impressed by the courage, strength and confidence of all these women and offer support to change the concept that all people have on farmworker women labor situation. Next year, National Farmworker Women Alliance will come back to DC to continue their efforts.