What does it take to move the world?
Meet the individuals who represent a new guard of social justice, building a future grounded in equality for all.
While in law school, Ramírez hatched the idea behind Justice for Migrant Women. To understand the farmworker’s toil, she tried her hand at picking cucumbers, beets and other crops in Ohio. After graduation–and broke–she moved to Florida, to start her legal project. Eventually, she found herself practicing law by day and working at The Taco Lady at night. For six months, she lived in the law library at her office, joking she would never be late for work since she slept upstairs.
Later, as Ramírez started to turn her idea into action and become an emerging voice on migrant rights, she received death threats (her son’s daycare was once put on lockdown) but they didn’t deter her. Instead they motivated her to pursue a master’s in public administration at the Harvard Kennedy School—and realize her dream of creating Justice for Migrant Women.
To this day, if Ramírez sees an opportunity to lift her community, she will. When COVID-19 struck, Justice for Migrant Women set up a Farmworkers’ Pandemic Relief Fund to help those keeping America fed. Last October, it organized the annual Latina Equal Pay Campaign, including a national charla (Latinas are paid 54 cents for a white man’s dollar; migrant women, 32 cents) to demand pay parity. And its rural civic initiative—created to increase political representation and power of rural women—drove get-out-the-vote efforts in Ohio, Florida and Texas for the 2020 election.
When a teenaged Ramírez rode her bike to her local paper, she understood even then that if the stories of any one group aren’t told, they remain invisible. After three years of writing for the paper, she was given a shot to write a column. Its title? “The Voice of the People.” She still is.
Illustration by Agata Nowicka