Karla empowered farmworker women who were victims of sexual harassment, violence, and gender discrimination in the agricultural industry through legal representation, education, policy advocacy, and collaboration with other organizations.
Need Addressed By Project
Every year, thousands of agricultural workers come to Illinois to harvest our fruits and vegetables. Knowing farmworkers have limited access to public benefits, education, and legal resources, employers often deny workers basic rights and fail to comply with labor requirements, including sexual harassment laws. As a result, farm-worker women are especially vulnerable to sexual exploitation and discrimination in the workplace.
During her Fellowship, Karla:
• Provided 28 clients with full legal representation on issues such as unemployment, sexual harassment, and immigration
• Collaborated with 25 organizations across Illinois to provide legal and social services to farmworker women
• Established and led two coalitions in Illinois to train leaders in the farmworker women community on self-advocacy
• Co-authored a legal guide and curriculum to educate workers on workplace sexual violence; implemented the curriculum at all the worker centers in Chicago and Kankakee, Ill.
• Presented at the National Sexual Assault Conference on community outreach for survivors of workplace sexual violence
• Initiated a partnership with Northern Illinois University, College of Law to teach a farmworker course in spring 2013
Where are they now?
Karla is currently a Staff Attorney at the Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights.