Mónica Ramírez Gives a Voice to the 19 Percent
Attorney and activist Mónica Ramírez adds the launch of She Se Puede to her ever-increasing list of accomplishments
By Cristina Merrill
It’s been a busy year for attorney and activist Mónica Ramírez. To start, the founder and president of Justice for Migrant Women continued to fight for the rights of a severely underserved population: farmworker women. Secondly, she used one of the many talents in her wheelhouse: starting high-profile, impact-making initiatives to empower the Latinx community and increase representation both at the polls and within media and entertainment.
Ramírez has a long history of standing up for the rights of Latinos everywhere and cooking up all kinds of ideas and organizations aimed at raising awareness. As someone who comes from a family of farmworkers, Ramírez has deep knowledge of this population, and she strives to represent them. She is the founder of Esperanza: The Immigrant Women’s Legal Initiative of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which she directed for almost seven years. The initiative was born out of the Migrant Justice Project of Florida Legal Services, which she started in order to address gender discrimination and sexual harassment against farmworker women.
Ramírez also created the Bandana Project to raise awareness about the same issue. She is also the founder of the Justice for Migrant Women to advocate for low-paid immigrant women and farmworker women who are victims of sexual abuse in the workplace. She is also a cofounder of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas. Lastly, she also helps run The Latinx House, another initiative she started that brings together art and activism.
“We care about politics and policy, but we also want activation, not just talking,” Ramirez told Hola! magazine in a December 2019 interview. “Then we also care deeply about culture shift, narrative, entertainment, and art.”
One of Ramírez’s major initiatives of 2020 is the cofounding of She Se Puede, along with fellow activists such as actresses Eva Longoria and America Ferrara. She Se Puede is a new lifestyle website that aims to encourage Latina readers to vote while also engaging them in other interests. A September 2020 article in Fortune magazine that highlighted She Se Puede and recognized Ramirez as one of the cofounders noted that Latinas turned out to the polls at rates between ten and fifteen points behind white and Black women in the 2018 midterm elections, leading to a staggering underrepresentation.
In September 2020, Ramírez coauthored a New York Times opinion piece titled “How Latinos Can Win the Culture War,” which delved into the reasons why Latinos need more representation in mainstream media and the ways to make that happen.
“In Spanish, we say that ‘la cultura cura’—culture heals,” the NYT piece states. “But the US culture industry, which creates seductive images that reverberate around the world, is a key culprit in Latino stereotyping. Latinos buy more movie tickets per capita than any other group, but of 1,200 top-grossing films from 2007 to 2018, Latinos made up only 3 percent of the lead or colead actors (and we are 19 percent of the population).”
Later, the article states that “the United States must reckon with the fact that Latinos are essential to its survival and to its splendor, and have been for generations. We Latinos need to know it, too.”
With her efforts, Ramírez gives the Latinx population not just space in society but also a voice.