The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

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The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

Community event honors International Women’s Day with women-made market, instrumental duet

Leah De La Torre
Tags are featured on many of the purchasable items from Weaving for Justice, displaying the maker’s name, picture and background. March 8, 2024.

In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, Weaving for Justice and Nopalitos Galería co-sponsored a delightful evening of live entertainment alongside an open market of women’s textile collectives from Chiapas, Mexico. The event began promptly by encouraging guests to view a carefully placed selection of purchasable items, including but certainly not limited to: textiles, tote bags, wallets and table runners crafted by Maya women in Chiapas.  

The items available were put forward through the collective efforts of Weaving for Justice, a 100% volunteer-based, nonprofit organization located in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Since their establishment in 2003, Weaving for Justice has worked alongside their partnered cooperatives in Chiapas to support Maya women in sustaining their livelihood, language and weaving traditions in their respective communities. 

“These women are trying to stand up for that right to stay on their land and not be forced to migrate, and to continue their traditions that are valuable to them,” said co-founder of Weaving for Justice, Christine Eber, when asked about the organization. “All of these women are committed to social justice, dignity and rights.” 

A large variety of felted animals, handcrafted by Maya women are displayed together for sale. March 8, 2024. (Leah De La Torre)

Weaving for Justice follows the principles of fair trade by working closely with their weavers to ensure that they are acting as a proper intermediary in selling items and providing fair wages. The organization also aims to educate the local Las Cruces community on the struggles that Maya women face in their daily lives, as highlighted by the International Women’s Day celebration. 

“Well, International Women’s Day is very important in Mexico, and for the women we work with in the weaving collectives, and for us here in Las Cruces,” Eber said. “So, in the community, I’ve always wanted to engage people with this day because it brings attention to women’s lives and struggles.”  

For the following hour, attendees were encouraged to explore the space and purchase any object they took interest in. Soon after, the evening shifted to a live concert of “Songs in Cello and Cajon” from cellist Emma Alvarez de la Rosa and percussionist William Reeves.  

“For Women’s Day, we kind of decided not to play the random things we find sometimes,” explained Alvarez de la Rosa. “We really wanted to make a little bit of a program that is about women composers or women performers.” 

Audiences were captivated by the musicians’ chemistry and talent from the moment they began to the conclusion of their hour-long performance. They played a variety of 10 folk songs from various artists and backgrounds.  

Their performance of “Merrily Kissed the

A sign in front of Nopalitos Galería invites the Las Cruces community to a women’s market and musical performance for International Women’s Day on March 8, 2024.
(Leah De La Torre)

Quaker” especially resonated with attendees who enjoyed the traditional Irish song’s fast pace and complimentary instrumentation. The musicians received strong applause and cheering from the audience following this performance, as well as after every song played that evening.  

The concert concluded with the final songs of “El Coconito” and “The Bear Dance.” Alvarez de la Rosa and Reeves were endlessly applauded and thanked for the music they shared with those in attendance.  

With the event ending, Eber turned everyone’s attention to a PowerPoint presentation arranged in the background with different slides, photos and texts. It displayed information of a recent trip that Eber and another volunteer, Gail Forrest, took to speak to their fellow weavers in Chiapas.  

During such conversations, they asked questions about the women’s hopes for the future and how they would like their lives to differ from their mothers and grandmothers.  

“The way I would like my life to be different from my mother and grandmother is that the abuse of women will no longer exist,” Laura Irene Gómez said. Gómez is a soon-to-be university graduate supported by Weaving for Justice’s Maya Educational Foundation scholarship.  

Emma Alvarez de la Rosa joyfully performs a selection of pieces titled “Songs in Cello and Cajon” on March 8, 2024.
(Leah De La Torre)

“Because in the lives of my grandmothers and my mother there was much physical and emotional violence…I don’t want to repeat this in my life.” 

Many interviewees echoed Gomez’s statement of striving towards gender equality and greater access to education and career opportunities, so that their lives do not repeat the cycle of gender violence seen in their predecessors.  

Weaving for Justice fully supports Maya women in these gender issues by working closely with weavers to ensure they are receiving proper assistance and access to financial resources.  

“It is very relevant to me to be involved with this kind of support and solidarity with the Maya women,” volunteer Aurelia Holliman expressed. “We offer support to them, but they are meaningful to us. Their wants and needs are respected.” 

Weaving for Justice encourages the community to get involved with this work in any way possible, whether that is becoming one of their active members or visiting their monthly market. Those interested are welcome to visit their market open every third Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the First Christian Church.  

“We’re here, we exist, and this is what we do,” Holliman said. “We offer solidarity and material support for the women in Chiapas.” 

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About the Contributors
Ashley Infante
Ashley Infante, News Editor
Ashley Infante is entering her first year with The Round Up as the News Editor. She is currently a junior at New Mexico State University, double majoring in Government and Justice, Political Philosophy and Law. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, but was drawn to Las Cruces for its interconnected, supportive community. Ashley’s interests in writing and journalism quickly grew during her high school experiences attending a humanities magnet program. She specifically focused on the historical development of social issues and writing about their impacts in today’s society. She continues expanding such passions at NMSU, now hoping to share students’ stories on anything from the issues they face to interests they wish to share. Outside of an academic context, Ashley enjoys long road trips, participating in outdoor sports, and watching films. She finds these activities very engaging and healing on the mind.
Leah De La Torre
Leah De La Torre, Multimedia Specialist
Leah De La Torre is entering her second year at The Round Up as a multimedia specialist. She will be majoring in Journalism and Media Studies. She grew up in El Paso, Texas. De La Torre has been making videos with her family and friends since she was in elementary school, and her love for the camera continued through high school as she became a member of the video and broadcast team. There, not only did she learn more about photography and video making but gained an interest in journalism. Her other interests include playing the cello, sewing, and listening to her favorite music artists like Her’s and The Strokes. Working for The Round Up, she hopes to continue doing what she loves, being behind the camera and contributing to making and telling stories about her community.

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