We Know Our Rights!

One activist movement that really inspired me was something that I learned about last semester in my Gender Women Studies 100 level class. For homework one week we were given an assignment to watch the movie Made in L.A. which is a documentary film that follows these immigrant women around L.A. and tracks their progression as the fight the clothing company Forever 21 to get better working conditions for the workers in sweat shops. These women left their families in their home countries so that they could give them a better life in a country that they thought had great jobs and equal opportunity to be sadly mistaken. Since a lot of them were not legal in the United States or didn’t know a proficient amount of English the job pool was limited.

Working in the sweatshops was all they had left for as an option. Sweatshops typically look for women workers because their hands are smaller so they can micromanage detail in the line and because women are less likely to speak out to unfair conditions. This sweatshop was wrong on that point. These women fought Forever 21 every day for a couple of years, this included going to other parts of the country and educating people about the conditions in sweatshops and going to other forever 21’s and telling them about what happens behind the scenes. At one point they even went to the house of the CEO of Forever 21 and marched and protested there! After a couple of years of difficulties getting people to protest and getting their voices heard they finally had a court hearing with Forever 21 and their lawyers and were able to win the case of granting better hours and conditions in the sweat shops. These women were not legally citizens, yet they knew their rights as human beings and did everything in their power to improve the conditions they were under and succeeded.

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