Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA) Enma Delgado's Interview

Organizing and empowering Latina immigrants to take leadership over their own lives and communities

Based in the SF Bay Area, MUA is a grassroots organization of Latina immigrant women with a double mission of promoting personal transformation and building community power for social and economic justice. Given that the Latina immigrant woman experiences the intersections of gender, race and class oppression, their leadership is key to the development of sharp strategies for the social justice movement.

MUA achieves its mission through a combination of strategies, including:

  • Direct Services & Mutual Support: MUA's immigrant leaders & staff offer 1:1 peer support & group counseling, referrals & accompaniment to other community resources, domestic violence & sexual assault intervention
  • Community Education & Training: MUA strengthens community members' economic security & leadership through ESL classes, workers' rights education, & job readiness training workshops for Latina immigrant Childcare Providers, Housecleaners, & Home Healthcare Attendants
  • Member Empowerment & Leadership Development: Through political education workshops & leadership trainings, MUA members find their voices, make links between personal problems & broader social & economic injustices, recognize their own strengths, & build community & collective power
  • Community Organizing: Working in diverse alliances on the local, regional, national & international levels, MUA provides critical leadership & mobilizes their base in campaigns to win immigrant, workers' & women's rights

MUA allows Latinas to engage in pressing national issues, such as:

  • Immigrant Rights
  • Domestic Worker Rights
  • Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Support
  • Anti-Human Trafficking
  • Language Access
  • Civic Engagement
We are committed to taking care of each other. Our values of solidarity, justice and freedom gives us the courage to continue. - Juana Flores

Enma Delgado's Story

Immigrated from El Salvador to the U.S. in 2003. Since the age of 12, she was a domestic worker, working in homes and taking care of children or patients. Due to her need to work, she could not attain an education until she was already working. Once she came to San Francisco, she had been looking for work, but she did not find job search help in MUA. However, she saw that she enjoyed the services MUA offered her, so she decided to stay.

Enma began as a MUA base member and then became an intern in a human trafficking committee there. After 16 years with MUA, she is currently the Immigrant Rights Organizer at MUA. She organizes Know Your Rights workshops and discussions. Although MUA does not offer direct legal services, as part of SFILEN (a collaboration network of organizations), she can give references to attorneys and legal services organizations in the Bay Area.

MUA has proven itself to be a leader in national and regional efforts (in the Bay Area) that ensure the promotion of pro-immigrant rights policies. The organization works on stopping deportations and ensuring that deportees have access to justice by working with other organizations and coalitions in the area. They have been known to respond to humanitarian crises of immigrants crossing the border from Mexico, and more currently from Central America.
MUA participates in national coalitions & campaigns such as Families Belong Together & #Not1More.
Since 2004, MUA’s central organizing campaign has focused on winning justice and dignity for domestic workers. MUA has been a leader in the fight for domestic worker rights locally, regionally, and nationally for over a decade. MUA is founder of the National Domestic Worker Alliance and an anchor organization for California Domestic Workers Coalition.

Enma recounted Vilma's Story:

Vilma had been a houseworker at a home for 8 years. She was working and living with them because she took care of the children, the house cleaning, etc. She was working 14-16 hour days and not being paid well enough for that amount of labor. Then, they ended up terminating her after the 8 years. Vilma learned from the news that people, mainly women, were fighting for domestic worker rights and decided to seek help.

Vilma helped mobilize dozens of workers to march and demand for rights, those that Vilma deserved. In deciding to sue her employers and mobilize the marches, this case brought much attention to the plight of domestic workers.

Although previous versions of a Domestic Worker Bill were vetoed by former governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the fight continued and they formulated new versions. The Domestic Worker Bill of Rights was passed for 3 years beforehand. Now, the CA Domestic Workers Bill of Rights was established permanently in 2016 by former Governor Jerry Brown. This law extends overtime protection for domestic home workers.

Enma participated in the fight for Domestic Worker Rights and was able to follow the trajectory of the troubles and wins for the movement. As a former domestic worker, this movement hit close to home and she decided to become a leader in this movement for other women like her to attain their deserved rights. She acknowledges that the work in her field is never done and that her time at MUA has been well-served as she continues to embrace and empower other Latina immigrants.

En MUA, con el entrenamiento de liderazgo, pude entender que ya tenia la fuerza para ser lider de mi propia vida y de mi comunidad ("At MUA, through their leadership training, I realized I already had the strength to be a leader both of my own life and in my community") - Enma Delgado
Mural in Oakland dedicated to Mujeres Unidas y Activas

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