things that matter

Women In The Automotive Industry Have Come Forward With Their Own #MeToo

The #MeToo movement has been an empowering channel for millions of women. Through it we’ve seen Hollywood’s greatest faces of influence and women in the political realm reject the various male powerhouses of their industries from thrones that were once thought to be untouchable. And even though their voices have drawn attention to a pervasive issue, the spotlight has done little to turn its focus on the many women of color in fields that are not as glamorous who are also victims.

In a new profile on the female employees at a Ford manufacturing plant, women of color in the automotive industry are speaking out for the many women who have been looked over in the Me Too movement and asking #WhatAboutUs.

On Tuesday, The New York Times published a profile on female employees who endure racism and sexual harassment.

The piece outlines the various ways the women at two Ford plants in Chicago were treated as “property or prey” by the men they worked with. In a rundown of the plant’s culture, The New York Times article describes how male employees “groped women, pressed against them, simulated sex acts or masturbated in front of them.”

According to the article, Ford awarded over 100 women workers at the plant a $22 million payout for a sexual harassment lawsuit in the 90s.

Afterwards, the company pledged to make efforts to implement changes at the two Chicago plants. To do so, they hired outside monitors to oversee the changes and fired or disciplined eight of its mangers and employees. More than a decade later, the problem is still present. According to NYT, in 2015 nearly half of the complaints submitted to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission involving Ford had come from the same Chicago plants.

It also highlighted the way coercion became a prominent problem at the factory.

As the article explains, it hasn’t been uncommon for women to be pressured into “requests” of sexual nature from the overwhelmingly male hierarchy at the plant. Managers rewarded women who gave into their advances with promotions, and punished those who turned them down. Some women described being penalized with heavier work loads that would often times turn out to be dangerous to their health and safety, all for refusing to have sex with managers.

The female employees of Ford are a reminder that the voices of so many other women are still being ignored.

Women of all industries must be able to harness and lean on the same type of public support that women in Hollywood who have endured abuse have also been afforded. It’s time to make #MeToo inclusive to all.


Read: These Are The Latinas Who Held It Down For The Cultura In 2017

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When Emma Gonzalez Leads The March For Our Lives, She’ll Be Following In The Footsteps Of These Latina Civil Rights Leaders

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When Emma Gonzalez Leads The March For Our Lives, She’ll Be Following In The Footsteps Of These Latina Civil Rights Leaders

As you gear up and rally to march for our lives this weekend, you might be completely in awe of the power and effect of Emma Gonzalez. The high school student from Parkland, Fl has, along with the great efforts of her peers, rallied cities and communities across the globe to fight back against the NRA and the inaction of political leaders who have long held the power to put an end to gun violence. For many of us, it’s exciting to see a Latina show the world that once again we are forces to be reckoned with. But long before Gonzalez called B.S. and became the face of a growing national movement, other Latina activists had a huge hand in changing the course of our history.

Here’s a look at seven of some of history’s most powerful Latina activists who led marches and fought for your civil rights.

Sylvia Mendez

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When it comes to the desegregation of schools in the country, American history often credits the case of Brown v. Board of Education for the changes. Barbara Rose Johns is also the one who is most typically considered to be the face of that movement after she led a 450-student walkout at a high school in Virginia in 1951.

But history has largely written out the work of Sylvia Mendez an American civil rights activists of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent who played a key role in the integration movement back in 1946.

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Mendez v. Westminster was a case sparked by Mendez’s rejection from an all-white school in California back in 1943 when she was just eight years old. Mendez’s parents sued the school district and the landmark case which was ultimately settled in 1947 successfully desegregated public schools  in California making it the first U.S. state to do so.

Dolores Huerta

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As a fierce civil rights activist and labor leader, Dolores Huerta became a tireless advocate of the United Farm Workers union. The American-born Latina of Mexican descent originally started out her career as an elementary school teacher. After seeing kids in her class come to school hungry and in need of new shoes, she decided she would help organize their parents.

She started to fight for economic improvements for Latino farm workers and pressed local government organizations to improve barrio conditions.

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In 1962, she co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (now known as the United Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee) with César Chávez. Her non-violent strikes and protests led to her 22 arrests. In 1997 she was named one of the three most important women of the year in by Ms. magazine.

Carmen Perez

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In 2017, Perez helped lead the country in its largest protest in U.S. history as a co-chair of the Women’s March on Washington.

In her 20 year career as an activist, Perez has dedicated her advocacy to some of today’s most important civil rights issues including violence against women, mass incarceration, gender inequality and community policing.

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Before the Women’s March she helped launch a 9-day 250-mile march from New York City to Washington, DC called March2Justice which implored congressional lawmakers to turn their attention to the nation’s police justice crisis.

Berta Cáceres

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Best known for leading a campaign that opposed a dam on the Gualcarque River, Cáceres was an award-winning Indigenous environmental activist. In 2015, the Honduran environmentalist received the Goldman Environmental Prize for helming the grassroots effort that pushed the world’s largest dam builder to stop the construction of the Agua Zarca Dam at the Río Gualcarque.

Because of her efforts the river that was saved and considered to be sacred by the Lenca people, was still able to provide the nearby tribe access to water, food, and medicine.

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On March 3, 2016, Berta Cáceres was assassinated for her activism when two assailants broke into her home and shot her. Her murder sparked international outrage and brought attention to the fact that Honduras is the most dangerous country in the world for activists who fight to protect forests and rivers.

The Mirabal Sisters

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Patria, Dedé, Minerva, and María Teresa Mirabal were four sisters from the Dominican Republic who ferociously opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo and became known as Las Mariposas. In 1959, after witnessing a = massacre executed by the Trujillo regime the sisters were sparked into activism and rallied communities into public protests that renounced Trujillo’s rule.

Three of the sisters, Minerva, María Teresa, and Patria, were murdered for their advocacy when they were beaten to death by associates of the government.

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Following the death of Las Mariposas, Dominicans across the island decided they had had enough. Six months later, Trujillo’s dictatorship was brought down when he was assassinated.

Sylvia Rivera 

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Well before activists like Harvey Milk and figures like Caitlyn Jenner made waves, there was Sylvia Rivera. The Latina born and raised in New York City had Puerto Rican and Venezuelan roots and a tragic story when she first began to carve out a place for trans people in the American gay liberation movement. 

Rivera was a self-identified drag queen and transwoman who participated in the Stonewall riots of 1969 and soon after founded Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries (STAR) with Marsha P. Johnson.

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In 1970 she led trans activists in the country’s first Gay Pride march, then known as Christopher Street Liberation Day March and in the years after she delivered fervent speeches that called for the support of LGBTQ people of color and who were homeless.


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Michelle Obama Keeps It Real About ‘Leaning In’ Saying It ‘Doesn’t Work All The Time’

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Michelle Obama Keeps It Real About ‘Leaning In’ Saying It ‘Doesn’t Work All The Time’

There’s countless reasons why former First Lady Michelle Obama is so beloved. For eight years the world saw a woman who made life look effortless. She easily transitioned from being a mom, wife, feminist, health nut, without missing a beat, all the while keeping it classy.

Now with the release of her memoir “Becoming,” we are getting an even more authentic look at this remarkable woman in a way we’ve never seen or heard before.

On Dec. 1, in a rare and candid moment during her book tour in Brooklyn, Obama kept things honest about the realities of the “lean in” women’s movement.

Speaking at Barclays Center on Saturday evening, Obama candidly touched on the struggles of ensuring a functioning work-life balance. “That whole ‘so you can have it all.’ Nope, not at the same time. That’s a lie,” Obama told an audience that had come to see her on her Becoming book tour. “And it’s not always enough to lean in, because that shit doesn’t work all the time.”

The amused crowd erupted at her blunder causing Obama to quickly apologize for her blunder. “I forgot where I was for a moment! I thought I was at home y’all. I was getting real comfortable up in here.”

The term was first coined by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in her 2013 book in which she said in order for women to achieve success, women need to project confidence and “sit at the table” in order to be heard. The way to do physically do that is by “leaning in.”

Sandberg herself said earlier this year that “leaning in” isn’t as effective as she once believed because women weren’t better off today than they were in 2013.

“We are stuck at less than 6 percent of the Fortune 500 CEO jobs and their equivalent in almost every country in the world,” she said in USA Today. “There were 19 countries run by women when “Lean In” was published. Today there are 11. Congressional numbers have inched up a tiny bit. And so, overall, we are not seeing a major increase in female leadership in any industry or in any government in the world, and I think that’s a shame.”

The term “lean in” was first coined by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in her 2013 book in which she said in order for women to achieve success they need to project confidence and “sit at the table” in order to be heard. According to Sandberg, the way to physically do this is by “leaning in.”

Sandberg herself said has said that “leaning in” isn’t as effective as she once believed because women weren’t better off today than they were in 2013. Last year the COO remarked that women “are stuck at less than 6 percent of the Fortune 500 CEO jobs and their equivalent in almost every country in the world,” she said in USA Today. “There were 19 countries run by women when ‘Lean In’ was published. Today there are 11. Congressional numbers have inched up a tiny bit. And so, overall, we are not seeing a major increase in female leadership in any industry or in any government in the world, and I think that’s a shame.”

It didn’t take long for Twitter to reveal just how much they loved seeing Obama get comfy.

If you were one of the 19,000 people at Barclays that night, you’ll definitely want to tell your kids about it one day.

It’s timeless advice from a timeless lady.

It might be true that you can’t have it all, but let’s be real, Obama will always be pretty darn close in our eyes.

It was clearly a night of laughs, cheers, and tears.

We can’t wait to hear what she’ll say next. She’ll return to Barclays on Dec. 19.

READ: Michelle Obama Talks About Going High At Times When Donald Trump’s Lowest of Lows Threatened The Lives Of Her Children

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