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The Bandana Project

They will resist and we will stand with them.

Poster drawing, protesting

CRLAF takes a multi-tiered approach to combating sexual exploitation in the fields. CRLAF began its community advocacy work over a decade ago through launching the “Bandana Project,” part of a nationwide movement to spotlight sexual harassment against farmworker women. CRLAF took the project one step further, utilizing an Art to Heal model, where participants draw, paint, or embroider their feelings and messages on white bandanas.


The Bandana Project has ultimately led to increased awareness of sexual exploitation and served to empower women to speak up and fight back through the justice system. CRLAF has successfully represented classes of workers throughout the Central Valley in various sexual harassment cases.


We are only this far because of the brave farmworker women who have spoken up for years. 

Legal Achievements:


CRLAF co-sponsored SB 1087 with Senator Monning, a bill passed in 2014 which attacks the widespread culture of sexual harassment of farmworker women by Farm Labor Contractors (FLCs) and their supervisors through a combination of mandatory annual sexual harassment prevention training and testing of licensees; annual training of their supervisors; and training of farmworkers in how to prevent, identify and report sexual harassment. The bill also makes more than a dozen other needed changes to the state Farm Labor Contractor Act, including authorizing the Labor Commissioner to take adverse license actions against sexual predators.

Later, CRLAF assisted in passing SB 295, Sexual Harassment Training Enforcement for Farm Labor Contractors, which responds to a failure by the agricultural industry to fully implement mandatory sexual harassment prevention training for farmworkers imposed by CRLAF’s SB 1087. CRLAF wrote and sponso
red the new legislation to attack non-compliance by farm labor contractors, and bring greater transparency to their required training of farmworkers. SB 295 gives the state labor commissioner authority to issue citations for 6 different sexual harassment training violations, and provides female farmworker victims with a right to sue contractors for these violations. 

The woman behind the bandanas:


Juanita Ontiveros is CRLAF’s Director of Community Advocacy, Special Projects, and Human Resources. Ontiveros embodies the sentiment of how powerful community alliances serve to create the ultimate systemic change.


Juanita has worked for years within the farmworker movement for equal rights, finding direction and inspiration from within her family of farmworkers and early collaborations in the 1960's with Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta. Throughout her life, Juanita has raised significant awareness of how immigration status affects inidviduals' rights and creates greater vulnerability to exploitation, working hard to create ground-level, applicable solutions to numerable labor and other violations. One legal case brought by Ontiveros and CRLAF involving a farmworker woman facing workplace sexual harassment, was later featured in the PBS documentary, “Rape in the Fields”. This film has been incredibly influential in highlighting to the greater public common issues faced by farmworker women, and bringing additional sexual harassment cases to the courts.

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