Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera provides an opportunity for those on the U.S. side of the border to learn from the women organizing for justice in the maquiladoras of northern Mexico (Comité Fronterizo de Obrer@s - CFO), Fuerza Unida women cooperative members in San Antonio who saw their jobs outsourced, and indigenous women in Chiapas (Jolom Mayaetik) whose communal lands were stripped of protections as a result of NAFTA. We typically provide three delegations each year to the border.
We ground our work at the community level both at home and abroad in partnership with those who suffer the conditions we seek to change and informed by their strength and vision. We work to transform conditions and relationships, both in the world and in ourselves, which threaten to overwhelm what is precious in human beings. We encourage collaboration in social transformation towards a society that recognizes the dignity of each person.
ATCF also recognizes the need to promote alternatives to free trade. Since 2004, ATCF has held the annual Women and Fair Trade Festival in Austin as a way to learn more about community-driven alternatives.
Conectando Hilos de la Justicia (Connecting Threads of Justice) brings together two of the festival’s women’s collectives, Jolom Mayaetik and Fuerza Unida. Together they share marketing and technical skills as well as organize annual traditional medicinal workshops.
The GEMA (Género y Empoderamiento de la Mujer para la Acción, which translates as Gender and Empowerment of Women towards Action) program includes six modules per year for women maquiladora workers in three border towns in the state of Coahuila, Mexico.