By: Andre De Leon ∞
Nerida Gaspar Castillo and Margarita Avalos visited the class of Professor Enrique Davalos on October 1st, 2015 representing Ollin Calli: Colectivo en Movimiento, an organization that supports the rights of women workers in Mexico’s maquiladora industry and informs those willing to learn about their hardships. Castillo and Avalos are former maquiladora workers, Castillo now being a lawyer, who educate workers on their rights and workplace legalities. Both women informed myself and the rest of the attendants about the fact that there are 741 maquiladoras existing in Mexico as of now, many of which do not compensate employees for accidents and necessities. Margarita Avalos says that in general, Mexico has some of the best worker’s rights in the world, they just don’t follow through. She also continues to say, “…si nadie exige [los derechos], los perdemos.” This means that if we don’t demand our rights, we lose them, and she’s right.
Another problem that was brought to attention was the amount of capitalism Mexico and The United States. Castillo rightfully accuses us of being “unconscious consumers”. We as shoppers don’t know where our products are coming from. We are unaware of the dangerous circumstances a worker must face in order for an item to be made. For example, a pair of chemical washed jeans were most likely made by a woman who had to stand around a batch of hazardous substances that greatly damage her health. As Avalos puts it, “Todo lo que usamos tiene historia.”
The presentation came to an end with a call to action. “Muchos problemas de México no son solo de México , pero de la humanidad…no piensen que tienen el problema…siempre habrá una causa que pelear en su país.”