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These Women Janitors Fought Workplace Harassment Long Before #MeToo

Georgina Hernández is not the same women she was three years ago. When the young janitor from Southern California was first interviewed for a documentary called “Rape on The Night Shift” she was described as “timid and teary eyed.” The investigative documentary did a deep dive into the sexual abuse of immigrant women who clean office spaces, malls and restaurants in the hours that take place long after the crowds have cleared.

Hernández, a janitor who accused her supervisor of raping her on the job became one of the documentary’s central subjects.

“Rape on The Night Shift” exposed the particular vulnerabilities immigrant janitors face while working alone at night.

The documentary, which was released a little over 2 years before #MeToo went viral, looked into the experiences of a handful of women janitors in Southern California. In the documentary Hernández explained how she worked cleaning movie theaters and restaurants from 11 at night until 11 in the morning. She never received overtime or rest breaks and often became a victim of harassment.

“When you need the job, you become a victim by not having the courage to say no,” Hernández said according to PRI. “And if you say no, you are going to lose the job. I didn’t have someone to tell or anyone I could trust.”

But it was at another job, cleaning a hotel lobby, that put Hernández in the path of a supervisor who she claims constantly harassed and eventually raped her. In a lawsuit, Hernández alleged that the supervisor sexually assaulted her in a parking garage.

After the documentary’s release, women janitors began to protest against the harassment they faced.

#Oakland #RapeOntheNightShift #prophetsinourmidst

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The documentary’s reporting revealed loopholes in the laws that protected janitors and allowed issues such as low wages and abusive working conditions to fly under the radar. After watching the documentary, at a screening hosted by California’s janitors’ union, SEIU-United Service Workers West, many of the janitors, Hernández included, rallied together to protest. They marched, posted billboards across the San Francisco Bay Area that called to “End Rape on the Night Shift,” and spoke out about their own experiences. But their most impactful accomplishment was a push for legislation that would amp up safeguards that protect janitors.

On September 12, 2016, 14 of the janitors carried out a hunger strike on the state capitol’s lawn to fight for the bill.

Three days later the bill was signed into law. The new law makes sexual harassment training for janitors and their supervisors mandatory and requires janitorial companies to sign onto a registry that keeps track of subcontractors. The companies who refuse to fall in line and comply are barred from doing business in the state of California.

“I’m proud that women [janitors] are standing up now, aren’t scared,” Hernández told PRI. “It hurts. It makes you angry, but you have to break the silence. You can’t be embarrassed. It’s not your fault. It’s happened to lots of women. Not just one or two, but thousands are behind me, speaking up. Maybe our world as immigrant women will change.”

Hernández, who is still working the night shifts as a janitor, says for her, the #MeToo movement is bittersweet.

“I’m sad and angry at the same time,” Hernández said. “Those women have money, they’re powerful, they have everything in life that I don’t have. I’m proud of them for speaking up. But who listened to me? Nobody. These are important women. But I’m important, too.”


Read: Dominican Fitness Influencer Massy Arias Opens Up About Postpartum Depression

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The Spanish ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Is Being Shared To Honor Hispanic Workers Fighting COVID-19

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The Spanish ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Is Being Shared To Honor Hispanic Workers Fighting COVID-19

There’s no denying that the world looks a lot different now than it did in 1947. And while the list of all of the positive changes that the decades stretching between now and then have done for the world and minorities, a recent campaign is also highlighting the ways in which our current president could take some notes on certain values the United States held dear during this time. Particularly ones that had been pressed for by one of our former presidents.

As part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Good Neighbor Policy” effort, he worked to promote positive and healthy relations between the United States in Latin American countries.

At the time Rooseveltaimed to ensure that the North, Central and South American countries avoided breaking under the influence of Axis countries during World War II. As part of this campaign, Roosevelt comissioned a Spanish and a Portuguese version of the U.S. national anthem. According to Time Magazine he also “recruited Hollywood to participate in this Good Neighbor Policy; Walt Disney went on goodwill tour of South America, hoping to find a new market for his films, and ended up producing two movies inspired by the trip: Saludos Amigos (1942) and The Three Caballeros (1944). The Brazilian star Carmen Miranda also got a boost, and her role in The Gang’s All Here made her even more famous in the U.S. And alongside these cross-cultural exchanges, the U.S. government decided it needed an anthem that could reach Spanish speakers.”

According to NPR, Clotilde Arias, wrote wrote the translation at the end of World War II, was born in the small Peruvian city, Iquitos in 1901 and moved to New York City to become a composer when she was 22-years-old. Her version of the anthem is now part of an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Now in an effort to support Latino communities affected by the coronavirus, the non-profit We Are All Human Foundation’s Hispanic Star campaign commissioned the a remake of the song.

Hoping to raise awareness of its Hispanic Recovery Plan and efforts to help to connect Hispanic small businesses and workers with resources during the pandemic, the campaign brought the old recording from obscurity.

For the song, the 2019 winner of the singing competition La Voz,  Jeidimar Rijos, performed “El Pendón Estrellado.” Or, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” 

The song has already received quite a bit of comments and support on Youtube.

Hang in there, fam. We can only get through this together.

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These Online Botanicas Will Satisfy The Bruja In You

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These Online Botanicas Will Satisfy The Bruja In You

With young Latinxs reclaiming the bruja identity, the demand for access to novenas, herbs and other specially crafted ritual tools has grown tremendously. Luckily, these Latinx-owned online botanicas have made it easy for brujas, or anyone who wants to dive deeper into the practice, to get their hands on the goods. Whether you’re looking to conjure up more cash flow or secure some extra protection from those pesky mal de ojos, these shops have the magia you need.

1. The Flowerchild Bruja

You know you’ve received some real tesoro when you open your delivery and see the holographic cellophane. Unmistakable and unique products are what make The Flowerchild Bruja’s shop un cielo de flores. Garden Smudge Sticks adorned with colorful flowers and loose herbs packaged in clear hearts make this online botanica a must-visit if you’re looking to manifest more love and beauty into your life.

2. Brooklyn Brujeria

No forlorn-looking saints and pale stricken Marys here! Brookyn Brujeria offers a fresh and modern take on the classic bruja necessity of novena candles. At $10 a candle, you can enhance the vibrations and style of your space without blowing all your chavo. With intentions like Boss Bitch and F*ck Outta Here, these ain’t your abuelitas’ novenas.

3. The Hoodwitch Store

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Thank you for all of your love & support to those who have been readers and customers of @thehoodwitch over the years. ♥️You know truly how hard I work and that this is my livelihood and culture. Visual art and magic ARE my life and practice. Not a peach flavored “turquoise” glitter drink. My magic is in my blood, my magic is in my ability to bring life to my visions, it is creation & destruction. Over the last 6 years, I have been so honored and lucky to be featured in some of the largest media publications internationally not limited to Instagram. This is bigger than that and the creative team for Starbucks knew that. I have personally worked on consulting large companies in their design concepts this work comes naturally to me. “So what’s the big fuss?” My personal style has become synonymous with the visual aesthetic of my brand. No, I absolutely did not “invent” the crystal balls nor acrylic nails but What I created was a space for myself along with other POC to feel represented and have visual imagery that was representative of us. The colorful candles of my local botanicas, my gold jewelry, and my long nails clutching my crystals are certainly not “new” but to see them presented in a manner that I shared visually in this space was. Katherine de Vos Devine @devosdevine is a lawyer and art historian who wrote a powerful and insightful look as to what exactly is happening with this situation and we are sharing it in our story today because more than anything she truly gives the full tea of the situation. I can strip away the crystal balls, the nail art, and delete all of my beautifully curated photos but I will always be me, I will always be my grandmother’s voices and wisdom. I will create, and I will always know my value and my worth. I trust and believe that my ancestors and my guides are looking after me. These giants may have the money to bully artists, creatives, and small business but we know the truth and absolutely must not allow it. As a small business owner, I appreciate you standing with us in this uphill journey and even if it goes nowhere, at the end of the day I can laugh to myself knowing that Starbucks made a drink inspired by HW 🔮

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If you’re in the market for an obsidian scrying mirror, unique tarot decks or nail polish for your mystic manos, then The Hoodwitch Store is your one-stop bruja shop. Be sure to also check out the Bruja Bookshop tab, where you’ll find vintage, one-of-a-kind libros to up your witchy wisdom. The shop offers some rare finds en español as well. However, make sure you stay up to date on the latest inventory. These goods sell out fast!

4. House of Intuition

If you live in LA, you’ve most likely heard of House of Intuition. With four brick and mortar stores throughout the area, plus an online shop, it’s probably a wise investment to grab one of their “Success” intention candles. Their beautifully colored novenas aren’t the only reason to check out the shop, though. Seriously, this casa is staked with everything from crystals skulls, cauldrons and wands to a line called “Hair Mystics” featuring crystal-infused hair mists. You’ll be glad your intuition led you here.  

5. Lunar Magic Shop

Lunar Magic Shop is the super affordable and super thoughtful shop with some of our favorite bruja apparel. You will for sure want to grab the “My Mom Will Hex You” tee for the little one in your life or the “I Am My Own Sacred Place” one for yourself. While you’re at it, you might as well secure the “Motherhood”and “Student” crystal kit bags. This small shop definitely has the whole family’s brujeria needs in mind.

6. Curandera Press

While this shop is currently taking a small hiatus, they will re-launch on August 1. This gives us time to save up for a big vela haul. We could all use some divine intervention with lazy lovers and bad hair days, right? With Curandera Press’ “No Mas Amante Perezoso” and “Good Hair Day” velas, your prayers are answered. We’re excited to see what intentions they roll out next.

Read: In These Trying Times, Boricua Bruja Emilia Ortiz Provides A Digital Space For Healing

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