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La Mujer Obrera (“The Woman Worker”) is an El Paso-based organization and movement “dedicated to creating communities defined by women”.
The organization was founded in 1981 in response to conditions that led to the 1982 Farah Strike, in which 4,000 garment workers at the Farah Manufacturing Company—nearly all of whom were Mexican-origin women in the El Paso area—went out on strike in order to achieve better wages, working conditions, and the right to be represented by a union.
Over the years, working in frequent collaboration with like-minded community partners, La Mujer Obrera has connected historically-marginalized women with programs, resources and activism—particularly in the areas of homelessness, leadership and job training, literacy, legal assistance, and education advocacy—serving as “one of the leaders in the struggle against an ‘undeclared war’ on marginalized women workers of Mexican heritage.”
Additionally, the group supports the protection of Mexican cultural expressions in the culinary, visual, and performing arts (through the “Proyecto Verde” initiative and by hosting cultural festivals) and offers social enterprise projects (like Café Mayapán, a traditional Mexican-cuisine restaurant that is also a job training center).
La Mujer Obrera is also a member of the El Paso Equal Voice Network, a grassroots coalition focusing on voter engagement and other issues that affect El Paso communities. In recent years, the network has launched an innovative voter education project, “Juego De Voteria”, a variation of La Lotería (“Mexican Bingo”), a popular Mexican pastime.
Through distribution of local artist-designed Voteria game cards at community events (including game nights hosted at Café Mayapán), the coalition seeks to improve knowledge of voting and election issues with young people, including emphasis of the concept that all votes matter, even those of the historically marginalized.
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Image from the El Paso Equal Voice Network
Additional Learning: La Mujer Obrera