(From The Campus Lantern – April 9th, 2015)
Eastern’s Women’s Center hosted the Bandana Project on Thursday, March 26th. As part of the project, students designed bandanas in support of migrant farmworker women who face threats such as sexual violence and exploitation. These women face discrimination on the farms where they are working to support their families. Many women fear losing their jobs, deportation, and separation from their children. Participants in the Bandana Project included members from student clubs such as the Organization of Latin American Students, MALES, and the National Organization for Women.
“The Bandana Project was launched by Esperanza: The Immigrant Women’s Legal Initiative of the Southern Poverty Law Center in June of 2007 as a part of its national initiative to end workplace sexual violence against farmworker women. In solidarity, farmworker community members, advocates and other individuals decorate white bandanas with words of encouragement, motivating statements, inspirational pictures and art. These bandanas are then hung in a public place to raise awareness about this serious problem” (www.adph.org).
Erika Sanchez, Women’s Center Ambassador, brought the Bandana Project to Eastern.
“These women’s stories are vital. They deserve the right to work in safe spaces, make enough money to feed their children, and not live in fear,” Sanchez says, “I hope the Bandana Project becomes an annual event at Eastern. I carry these women and their experiences in my heart.”
Sanchez is a senior completing her capstone work in Women’s and Gender Studies under the guidance of Professor Joan Meznar on the analysis of the contributions of undocumented Mexican workers.
At Eastern, the bandanas are currently displayed in the stairwell in the Student Center. Empowering sayings such as “Raise Women’s Voices,” “Women’s Rights Matter,” and “Sí, Se Puede” are written across the bandanas.