Invest in Development with Border Women Workers Now!

Support Community-Based Alternatives to Border Violence and Poverty

I, along with border women workers and their other allies, want an end to the federal government?s abandonment of the women's families and communities, which have been written off as ?unfortunate but necessary casualties? of the impact of international trade policies such as NAFTA and the ?war on drugs?.

While national and international conversations about the border focus on short-sighted security initiatives, border women have been creating long term security through grassroots economic development. But those accomplishments and future plans are now at profound risk because of a lack of federal investment.

Nationally, 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 violence and poverty in Ciudad Juarez and Mexico are reaping millions. Yet border communities struggle with 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. Their work at La Mujer Obrera in El Paso is one example. Through a daycare, restaurant, festival marketplace, and a network of artisan women in Mexico, the women are creating genuine border security.

And like La Mujer Obrera, there are other communities of low income women on the border, who want to create jobs, change lives, and work to break the cycles of poverty and abuse, restoring pride and dignity in their neighborhoods.

For these reasons, I join La Mujer Obrera, as well as other women workers? development organizations and their allies, in calling for an immediate investment to:

1) Organize and convene a national summit to identify public-private initiatives in support of a Border Development Commission and border women?s efforts to restore their communities from the damaging effects of international trade policies, global economic restructuring and the current ?war on drugs? raging on the border.

2) Provide urgently needed economic sustainability support for women and their organizations whose development achievements and future plans are now in jeopardy because of the lack of investment and political support for border women?s development programs.

The conditions of women on the border are urgent, and justice and equity are needed now.