Nonprofit Spotlight: Mujeres Unidas y Activas

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In March, PennyLoafer donors collectively gave to Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA)!

The Rundown

  • Years founded: 2005, but they’ve been active since 1989.

  • Leadership: Executive Director, Juana Flores, is a Mexican immigrant and former domestic worker, who first came to MUA seeking resources in 1991. She joined the staff 3 years later and was leading MUA by 2001. She’s a fierce advocate for women, immigrants and domestic workers from local to international contexts.

  • Issue they address: injustices facing Latina women immigrants and domestic workers.

  • What they do: promote personal transformation and build community power for social and economic justice.

  • How they do it:

    • Support Latina women (some of whom are escaping domestic violence) via peer support groups, a crisis line, counseling and connection to resources, English classes and access to legal services;

    • Empower women via leadership development and skills trainings, so MUA members can run their programs and lead social justice work;

    • Advocate for domestic workers, women and immigrants via community organizing, direct action and civic engagement efforts.

Why they were chosen

What started as a support group for 8 women has grown into a power building organization for thousands of Latina women in the Bay Area. For 30+ years, MUA has promoted justice, dignity and respect for domestic workers, women and immigrants through their programs and policy work. Recognizing that Latina women and immigrants best understand the needs of their community, they support and empower these women to organize and advocate for solutions.

  • Past organizing wins include:
    • Adding specific provisions addressing the needs of immigrant women to the Violence Against Women Act;
    • Ensuring that immigrant women have access to pre-natal care in CA;
    • Improving access to translation services in County hospitals;
    • Standing at the forefront of the movement to end family separations.
  • Beyond the Bay Area, MUA is pushing for immigration reform and improved labor protections for domestic workers on the national and even international level. They founded the National Domestic Workers’ Alliance, a group of 70 grassroots organizations and 250K workers across the country, to transform the domestic work sector.

For more, read this profile of Executive Director, Juana Flores.

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What is domestic work?

👭🏽 There are ~2.5M domestic workers in the U.S., caring for families and homes as nannies, house cleaners, cooks, gardeners and home care workers. Over 90% are women, and most are immigrants and women of color.

🚫 While this work is often physically and emotionally taxing, many of the U.S. labor laws exclude domestic workers, so standards like minimum wage, overtime, sick leave and sexual harassment protections do not extend to them.

🤝 Want to get involved? Check out the National Domestic Worker’s Alliance.

“First of its kind” Measure

📜 In Dec 2021, San Francisco became the first city in the nation to pass an ordinance that would grant sick leave to domestic workers. This will impact the 10,000 people there that work in private homes.

✔️ While S.F. has required sick leave for employees since 2006, most domestic workers haven’t benefited. The issue being domestic workers often work between several employers, making it hard to accrue sick leave with any one of them. The new ordinance establishes a “portable” paid sick leave that enables workers to earn and consolidate benefits from several employers.

In other news

📣 March 16th marked one year since the devastating Atlanta spa shootings that killed 8 people, including 6 Asian women. This tragedy compelled many Asian Americans to speak out, and fueled a national movement, the passing of new state and federal policies and a broader awareness & recognition of anti-Asian racism. Read about where the movement is now and take action here.

If you enjoyed this and want to get involved, you can support the Racial Justice cause on PennyLoafer, starting with as little as $5/month. Each month, you’ll support and learn about a different nonprofit creating a more equitable world.