Activist, Civil Rights Attorney, Author
Mónica Ramírez is an activist, author, civil rights attorney, social entrepreneur, and speaker born in Fremont, Ohio. She has been specifically engaged in direct service and advocacy on behalf of farmworkers, Latinas, and immigrant women. Ramírez employs a holistic, victim-centered approach to her work, and she is an ardent supporter of worker-led movements and called for COVID-19 relief for migrant families. She managed the impressive feat of raising more than $4 million in aid for farmworkers affected by the pandemic. In the past, she has also served as Acting Deputy Director for Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc., the first transnational migrant workers’ rights organization based in Mexico.
Ramirez also pioneered the first legal project in the US focused on addressing sexual harassment and other forms of gender discrimination against farmworker women in 2003, which was incubated at the Migrant Justice Project of Florida Legal Services. She later scaled this project and founded Esperanza: The Immigrant Women's Legal Initiative of the Southern Poverty Law Center (which addresses sexual assault and harassment of female farmworkers) in 2006, which she directed for nearly seven years. In addition, she created the award-winning Bandana Project, an art activism project that raises awareness about workplace sexual violence against farmworker women. A constant advocate of women’s rights, she also founded Justice for Migrant Women, a national advocacy and technical assistance project focused on representing female farmworkers and other low-paid migrant workers who are victims of workplace sexual violence. In addition to her work for Justice for Migrant Women, Ramirez acted as the Deputy Director / Director of Gender Equality for the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement from 2016 to 2018. Ramirez took this experience of the plight of working women and drafted a letter in 2017 titled ‘Dear Sisters’, where she addressed the Holywood stars who had raised issues surrounding sexual harassment during the #MeToo movement. The letter echoed a tone of inter-class solidarity and was published by TIME magazine and shared on Facebook via actor Reese Witherspoon. The letter went viral and shed much-needed light on the different kinds of sexual harassment women face. In 2018, she attended the Golden Globes with Laura Dern as a part of the TIME’S UP action.
Going beyond social causes, Monica also co-founded The Latinx House — a gathering space to support the Latino community and to celebrate Latino excellence in film and entertainment — with Alex Kondracke and Olga Segura. The Latinx House, which is a project within Ramirez's organization Justice for Migrant Women, aims to create gathering spaces to celebrate the best in Latino culture and bring important social issues to the forefront. It is also the first Latino initiative to become an official Sundance Institute associate partner and will serve as the home for the Latinx community and their allies in the heart of downtown Park City from January 24–26, 2020. It was launched at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
Ramirez has a Doctor of Law from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She has been awarded numerous awards for her work, including Harvard Kennedy School’s inaugural Gender Equity Changemaker Award, the Feminist Majority’s Global Women’s Rights Award, and inclusion on Forbes Mexico's 2018 list of 100 Powerful Women, among other distinctions.