EL PASO, TX -- Ten women whose families have been traumatized by the violence, poverty and unemployment engulfing the Ciudad Juarez/El Paso border region are launching a hunger strike in front of the White House at noon on Monday, November 8. They call on federal decision-makers focused on short-sighted border security initiatives to establish immediate and long-term strategies to support community-led development of the nation's poorest region.
Despite violent tragedy in Ciudad Juarez and profound poverty in El Paso, the women are creating long term security through grassroots economic development of their communities, which have been dismissed as "unfortunate but necessary casualties" of international trade and immigration policies and the "war on drugs."
The El Paso women, whose families span the border, are part of the nationally recognized organization, La Mujer Obrera. Their accomplishments and plans are now at profound risk because of a lack of federal investment.
Billions have been authorized for jobs benefitting mostly men in the construction industry and border security. U.S. transnationals operating maquilas and those seeking to profit from the region's violence and poverty are reaping millions. Yet the border struggles with persistent poverty, 10%+ unemployment, and even higher rates for women workers.
Border women are pursuing their own version of security and employment, on both sides of the border. La Mujer Obrera's social enterprise daycare, restaurant, festival marketplace in El Paso and network of artisans in Mexico exemplify border women creating jobs and wanting to break the cycles of poverty and violence.
La Mujer Obrera in conjunction with women workers' development organizations on the border seeks an immediate investment to: