Lideres CampesinasLideres Campesinas Learn More About Our Roots

Our Organization's Roots

Líderes Campesinas is a statewide not for profit organization which also focuses its efforts at national and international levels. This Organization was created by farmworker women for farmworker women, and began in 1988 in the Coachella Valley as a group known as "Mujeres Mexicanas" (Mexican Women). Mujeres Mexicanas accomplished many goals which raised consciousness and encouraged changes to issues happening at home, at work, and within society. This group fostered the idea of directing its efforts at a State level, and with the support of California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, Ms. Foundation donated funds in 1992 to start organizing farmworker women throughout California. This idea was spread to twelve regions in the State. Líderes Campesinas’ Mission is to develop leadership among farmworker women, so that they serve as agents that create social, economic and political changes to ensure their human rights.

Líderes Campesinas has operated in the twelve Chapters with volunteer farmworker women which have been the heart of this Organization. The Organization has an infrastructure of volunteer members and paid staff to ensure development of farmworker women and of their families. Each Chapter has one vote in Líderes Campesinas’ Board of Directors through a Representative and an Alternate. In addition, the Board of Directors has three positions representing experts and one position for the Representative and Alternate from the Statewide Youth Advisory Committee. The Board of Directors is the head of this movement providing guidance and direction to the Executive Director.

This Organization was strengthened in 1994 after the second convening of farmworker women and their families. Through this convening different community issues were identified. The most relevant topics that stood out through this and five other convenings are: Domestic Violence, Pesticides, Sexual Harassment/Assault in the Workplace, Labor and Hours, Housing, Education, Breast and Cervical Cancer, Childcare, Teen Pregnancy, and HIV/AIDS. Women shared their concerns about labor abuse through managers, lack of communication between management and workers, poor hygiene in the restrooms, scarce fresh drinking water availability, and unfair payment of wages.

Líderes Campesinas began recruiting volunteer members experiencing issues mentioned above to train them on how to stand up for their rights. Farmworker women themselves go through a series of trainings provided by professionals or issue experts including legal aspects to different problems. Líderes Campesinas prepares farmworker women to advocate for her rights and to help support other women so that they learn to do the same. When Líderes Campesinas began educating farmworker women, problems were already evident, but there was no one in the community to educate or orient women in the community about their human rights or farmworker women rights. A lot was unknown about disease prevention, abuse, and pesticide poisoning.

Throughout the journey of farmworker women’s movement, it was understood that with the support of other groups, public service providers, and other altruistic people that power would increase, along with strength and knowledge to raise consciousness about the importance of promoting change within our society. Líderes Campesinas has informed and raised consciousness through trainings and theatrical skits; educating farmworker women and their families in different parts of California and other states within the nation. Several brochures have been created in Spanish to help provide written information to the farmworker women communities. Capturing the cultural context of workers, knowing and understanding that there are women whom do not read in Spanish, these brochures were designed in a more visual way; to give them the right message on how to prevent pesticides poisoning, how to prevent abuse in the workplace and/or at home. Messages also include how to promote social justice. Líderes Campesinas has collaborated with important state and federal agencies, other organization and service providers to accomplish better results on farmworker women’s health. Some of these agencies include: OES, EEOC, DFEH, EDD, American Cancer Society, Cal OSHA, EPA, CRLA, CRLAF, and organizations like Legal Momentum, Family Violence Prevention Fund, National Network on Behalf of Battered Immigrant Women, Southern Law on Poverty Center, Californians for Pesticide Reform, Center for Employment Training, CRPE, Migrant Clinicians Network, Farmworker Justice, Rural Coalition, Florida Farmworker Association and many other notable organizations.

Líderes Campesinas has its Central Office in Ventura County located at 2101 South Rose Avenue, Suite A, Oxnard, CA 93033. The Organization has organized its Chapters throughout California in the following regions: Salinas, Madera, Huron, Lamont, Ventura County, Coachella Valley, Sonoma, and King City.

Lideres CampesinasHistory Lideres Campesinas History by Maylei Blackwell

Our Background As An Organization

Líderes Campesinas was founded by farmworker women who share a vision of a better life for themselves and others within their communities.

Maylei Blackwell is an activist scholar who began work with Líderes Campesinas in May of 2005. During this time the organization invited her to lead an ethnography to document their history, leadership models and pedagogy strategies.

You can visit her documented article (Here)