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#Masks4Migrants campaign launches in advance of International Women’s Day by empowering indigenous women in Guatemala to produce 20,000 face masks for migrant families at the U.S. border

Hispanic Heritage Foundation

Hispanic Heritage Foundation

BROOKLYN, NY – In recognition of International Women’s Day (March 8), a collective of Justice for Migrant Women (J4MW), Mercado Global, This Is About Humanity (TIAH), and Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) will launch #Masks4Migrants by employing and empowering Indigenous women in Guatemala to produce at least 20,000 facemasks to protect migrant women and families at the U.S. border.  The campaign will include celebrity Ambassadors in support of #Masks4Migrants including Latin-Grammy Winner, Singer Gaby Moreno, who was born in Guatemala.

The collective of nonprofits plan to raise $75,000 through the campaign, of which 100 percent will be used in the production and distribution of the masks. These masks have been sustainably-and-ethically-produced by Mercado Global partner-artisans – Indigenous women in rural Guatemala.  Initial donors of the campaign include Hispanics in Philanthropy, Women’s Foundation of California, Raised By Latinos in addition to J4MW and HHF.  Collaboration partners include the Yes We Can World Foundation www.yeswecan.world.

To contribute to #Masks4Migrants, visit bit.ly/masks4migrants.

“Masks4Migrants is an incredibly powerful project because it is community-envisioned and community-driven. Over the past year, migrant families at the border have consistently voiced their desire and right to be protected from Covid-19. Everyone working on this campaign, from the partner organizations to the rural Guatemalan women making the masks, is simply trying to meet an already existing priority set by migrant families for safety and health. I am honored to work alongside these community members to meet this goal,” said Mónica Ramirez, Founder and Executive Director Justice for Migrant Women.

In the early stages of the Covid-19 outbreak, Mercado Global, an ethical fashion nonprofit that connects Indigenous women in rural Guatemala to the international fashion industry, shifted to producing reusable face masks for communities in need of PPE. Already, they have donated 120,000 masks and have partnered with activist Mónica Ramírez and J4MW to donate 57,500 of these masks to migrant farmworkers and children in the U.S.

“This project is so special to our team because it highlights the dedication and resilience of the women we work with every day, who are the heart of all we do as an organization. Through our collaborations with companies and foundations, and now through #Masks4Migrants, our staff and partner artisans are able to support their friends and family members who have migrated. As the main sources of revenue (tourism and remittances) have disappeared in the rural region of Guatemala we work in, Mercado Global has empowered these women to become the breadwinners for entire communities and that’s a powerful message,” said Ruth Álvarez-DeGolia, Founder and Executive Director of Mercado Global.

HHF and TIAH have joined forces with Mercado Global and J4MW in the #Masks4Migrants to help to raise awareness and funds to make the additional distribution of 20,000 masks possible.

“Seeing the masks on the faces of the migrant women and children who may be from the very same towns as the artisans who made them in Guatemala is incredibly moving,” said Elsa Marie Collins, Co-founder of This is About Humanity. “It is our true honor to be part of a project that helps to provide a measure of security to these schoolchildren at Yes We Can and families in the shelters. It underscores that humanity and mutual care are alive and well.”

#Masks4Migrants follows the #Masks4Farmworkers effort led by J4MW, Fashion Designer Mario de la Torre, Actor Nicholas Gonzalez, and Antonio Tijerino of HHF which distributed more than 1.2 million masks to protect farmworkers in 2020 culminating with a segment on HHF’s PBS Broadcast of the Hispanic Heritage Awards which honored farmworkers alongside Selena Gomez, Bad Bunny, Linda Ronstadt, Jessica Alba and Sebastian Yatra.

“We are inspired by the vision, resilience, and impact of women across the world and in many cases, their role in ensuring our most vulnerable are protected during these dangerous times,” said Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO of HHF. “#Masks4Migrants will leverage that spirit from Guatemala to our precious migrant families on our borders. HHF is grateful to Gaby Moreno as our Ambassador for the effort and the leadership of Monica Ramirez at JMW, Mercado Global and This Is About Humanity and other partners.”

Please use our Social Media Toolkit as inspiration to leverage our campaign on social media platforms.

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About Justice for Migrant Women

Justice for Migrant Women protects and advances migrant women’s rights through education, public awareness and advocacy. Justice for Migrant Women aims to ensure that all migrant women are guaranteed human and civil rights, including the freedom of mobility, the ability to live and work with dignity, and the right to be free of threats of violence against them and their families, whether they are migrating across borders, around regions or within states. (https://justice4women.org/)

About Mercado Global

As a leader in the ethical fashion movement for fifteen years, Brooklyn-based nonprofit Mercado Global, works with Indigenous women in the highlands of rural Guatemala to become partner artisans, providing them with trainings, materials, and sewing equipment. Artisans then make fashion accessories in partnership through Mercado Global, for companies including Levi’s, Free People, and StitchFix, and receive income from the pieces they make. Partnering with donors, retailers, and artisans, they are reshaping the world to be more ethical, sustainable, and just – for all of us. (www.mercadoglobal.org

About Hispanic Heritage Foundation

The Hispanic Heritage Foundation is a national nonprofit focused on education, workforce, culture and leadership. HHF is headquartered in Washington, DC, and Los Angeles with satellites in New York, Silicon Valley, and Miami. (www.HispanicHeritage.org)

About This Is About Humanity

This Is About Humanity is a community dedicated to raising awareness about separated and reunified families and children at the border. We educate others on being allies and advocates, and through our proximate trips to the border and our This is About Humanity fiscal sponsorship fund at the International Community Foundation we help support those individuals with essentials for living, access to legal services, mental wellness checkups, and other shelter projects. We also provide for a range of projects including educational bus trips to the border, donations to legal services, construction projects at shelters, as well as material goods for unaccompanied minors. (www.thisisabouthumanity.com)

Press Contact: Melanie Murray j4mw@ellecomm.com

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