On April 25, 2018 CALCASA hosted Denim Day at the California State Capitol South Steps. We started off the rally together with the voices of the SEIU United Service Workers West, a group of promotoras, leaders, and survivors of sexual violence. This group of women are leading a national movement to to prevent harassment, assault and all forms of sexual violence in their industry.
We heard from Veronica Lagunas, a janitorial worker advocating for change and the prevention of sexual violence through peer leadership. She shared strong words of empowerment to the crowd, saying “Our ability to say no is not a privilege for a few – it is s a right for all women in this country.”
Two years ago (2016) SEIU United Services Workers West, embarked on a hunger strike to demand an end to rape on the night shift. Governor Brown signed their bill into law, AB1978, which increased protections against sexual violence in the janitorial industry, making everyone safer at work. The SEIU United Services Workers West are continuing their efforts to establish laws that prevent sexual violence.
Their new bill authored by Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, AB 2079, would certify promotoras and compadres, (or janitors) serving as peer educators, to provide direct training on sexual harassment prevention in the workplace to other janitors at worksites throughout the industry. We heard from Assemblywoman Fletcher about the urgency of passing AB 2079, and spent the day after the rally meeting with legislators to secure their support for these women who know what’s best for themselves. The crowd also heard from Alva Moreno, the California Visionary Voice Award recipient for her work to end sexual violence who proclaimed “¡Ya Basta! Enough is enough!”
Senator Holly Mitchell’s words captured the spirit of Denim Day perfectly, saying “We are at a critical point were women and girls are standing up and declaring enough is enough. We are going to continue to fight.” We are looking for more than compliance or checked boxes, we are looking for culture change. To end sexual violence, we must change our culture. We must shift what has become normalized and change the attitudes that allow us to believe that sexual harassment, child sexual abuse, rape and any type of sexual violence is normal. We know that violence is preventable and California must invest in preventing it.
California needs to invest in prevention now. That is why CALCASA has joined together with The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence to ask our legislators and governor to commit $50 Million a year to END Sexual and Domestic Violence in California.
Support an investment in prevention, sign our petition for $50 Million for healthy relationships and thriving communities. https://www.change.org/p/jerry-brown-invest-50-million-in-the-state-budget-to-end-sexual-and-domestic-violence-in-california