In the midst of globalization, how do we, as women workers, defend our rights and build sustainable communities rooted in justice and human dignity?
The U.S.-Mexico border is a 2,000 mile stretch of land from the California coast to the Gulf of Mexico and 100 kilometers into the United States and Mexico. The border region has suffered from economic abandonment, institutional racism, and social and physical isolation from the rest of the nation for many decades.
For over 25 years, the border region has been even more economically depressed than Appalachia. In U.S. border counties, the average yearly income is $14,560. For Latinos living in the border, the yearly income is closer to $10,000.
La Mujer Obrera leads a community-wide initiative to create the Sustainable Urban-Rural Development Plan for the Border Region, a comprehensive community-based that includes job creation, business development, production of locally-grown food, and economic opportunity for low-income communities on the border. The Plan is the border resident’s blueprint for forging a future for ourselves and our families, rooted in the dignity of our heritage and lives, and enabling us to provide inspiration, leadership, and resources for a border-wide development model.
The heart of our plan is the development and interconnection of rural and urban hubs from El Paso to Southern New Mexico. Each hub is intended to catalyze sustainable community economic development by serving as a site for business incubation, job creation, showcasing green technology, workforce training to include urban and rural men and women in sustainable agricultural practices, linkages to area farmers and backyard growers to access locally grown, affordable produce, affordable housing, educational programs, public health nutrition initiatives aimed at low income families, increasing community access to technology, promoting local heritage and history through arts and cultural programming, community infrastructure, and international linkages to Mexico based on cultural heritage tourism and artisan and agricultural development.
Our development plan includes the establishment of a model project: Plaza Mayachen, a motor for sustainable regional community economic development. To date, we have established multiple components of Plaza Mayachen, most notably the social enterprise Mercado Mayapán, which includes the Mayapan Farmers Market, the Lum Metik Trade Company, and cultural events programming.
For more on our thinking, visit our blog: lamujerobrera.wordpress.com