November 19, 2010

Women are actively leading the way, across borders, for human rights, labor rights, and fair trade.

Come listen to representatives of Jolom Maya'etik (Chiapas), the Committee of Border Workers (Coahuila), and Austin So Close to the Border (Austin) share their stories, struggles, and strategies for activism across borders.

Jolom Maya'etik: Jolom Maya'etik is an independent collective of over 300 indigenous women weavers based in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas. Jolom provides indigenous women the opportunity to maintain family ties, preserve strong cultural traditions, own and manage every aspect of their work, and forge an important democratic space for women in the context of a global artisanal market dominated by high-end European designers and also within a complex local political world dominated by Zapatista men. The collective also sponsors educational opportunities for their weavers and other young indigenous women, providing a meaningful gateway for the empowerment of young women.

Comite Fronterizo de Obreras (CFO or Committee of Border Workers): The CFO is a highly effective, women-led NGO in Coahuila, Chihuahua, and Tamaulipas that has several activist projects, such as establishing and expanding Mexico's first cooperative maquiladora, democratizing the long-oppressive labor union structure, and empowering workers (primarily women) to be educated about their rights under the Mexican labor law. They will talk about their efforts to organize for empowerment in the context of globalization, and how their tenacious activism makes social change on the shop floor and in border communities.

Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera (ATCF or Austin So Close to the Border): ATCF is an Austin-based non-profit organization that has forged a strong solidarity relationship with the CFO and with other worker cooperatives around the world for over ten years. ATCF provides learning opportunities for those of us on this side of the border through quarterly delegations to different cities along the border, where delegates can meet directly with labor organizers and maquiladora workers and see this important work first-hand. ATCF leaders will speak about the meaning, importance, and struggles of solidarity.

City Forum (soa.utexas.edu/crp/cityforum/) is an urban issues speaker series hosted by the School of Architecture, Community and Regional Planning Program and the CRP Student Organization. City Forum is made possible with a grant from the Hogg Endowment for Urban Governance.

j vimeo.com/17084751

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