Weaving for Justice is the major project of Sophia’s Circle,
a 501(c)(3) women’s art and cultural organization.
In 1987, anthropologist Christine Eber began eighteen months of field work in Margarita’s home in a rural Maya community in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico. Her research was significant, but more significant was the friendship and collaboration that lasted since that time and is still very active today. Christine and her friends in the United States started Weaving for Justice in order to assist women’s weaving cooperatives to sell their work through fair trade and also to seek support in the U.S. for the needs of the weavers’ families and communities, including scholarships for children to attend school past sixth grade.
At the meeting house inauguration in April 2016, Margarita honored Christine: “Long ago you came to live with us. When we were hungry, you were hungry. When we didn’t sleep on good beds, you didn’t sleep on a good bed. When we walked in the mud, you walked in the mud. You left, but you always come back and bring your friends with you. You planted a seed of supporting women weavers. Today we see the fruits of what you planted.” She swept her arm around a room full of some thirty women and children weavers and members of their families who depend on the relationships of solidarity begun almost thirty years ago.
We honor the hundreds of friends who have supported this effort over its history through memberships, donations, volunteering in the sales, and serving on the Steering Committee. Working with Christine today in the Weaving for Justice volunteer Steering Committee are:
Susan Beck– New Mexico State University Librarian, former Peace Corps volunteer, and textile enthusiast.
Lorena Cabatic – Working for the State of Texas for 18 years. Previously volunteered for Casa Vida/ Recovery Alliance out of El Paso.
Meghann Dallin – Has been a Volunteer with Weaving for Justice since the late 1990s. She teaches health education at UNM and works as a community lactation consultant. Meghann manages our Instagram account.
Janet Darrow– Retired professor and research biologist, turned videographer who is now focusing on the art of indigenous Latin American communities and the border region.
Christine Eber – Author, anthropologist, and co-founder of Weaving for Justice.
Aurelia Holliman – Long-term volunteer with educational and social justice projects in Chiapas and Guatemala.
Patricia Gonzalez – Retired from the manufacturing sector and volunteer with the Mesilla Valley Film Society at the Fountain Theater.
Crystal Massey –Volunteer Coordinator with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) in El Paso, Texas at the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Emergency Intake Site (EIS). She was formerly the Volunteer Engagement Coordinator of the Immigration Justice Campaign at the American Immigration Council.
Sally Meisenhelder– Retired nurse, now living in Cambodia. She first started appreciating weavings 30 years ago when she worked as a visiting nurse on the Navajo reservation. She loves to travel and explore new areas.
Kristi Smith –Entrepreneur and Small Business Consultant. Master of Arts from NMSU’s Department of Government focused on microenterprise opportunities and social justice movements among Mayan women in Chiapas.
Emerita members: Kit Elliott, Elaine Hampton, Mary Kerwin, Anita Rodriguez, Sarah Murphy, Rebecca Wiggins-Reinhard, and Natille Zimmerman.
Educational Resources by Weaving for Justice Members
“A Maya Celebration” is a 20 minute film of the inauguration of the meeting house of Tsobol Antsetik produced by Janet Darrow. To view navigate to: https://vimeo.com/176198628 and type in the password: ChiapasApril2016.
“Maya Faces in a Smoking Mirror” is a full-length documentary featuring eight young Maya men and women, two of whom are weavers in Tsobol Antsetik, one of the co-ops Weaving for Justice assists. The film is produced by Bill Jungels and Christine Eber, founding member of Weaving for Justice. See a trailer and ordering information at www.mayafaces.com or www.carasmayas.net
Margarita’s life story in her own words, The Journey of a Tzotzil-Maya Woman: Pass Well Over the Earth, tells the history of the collaboration between the weavers in her community and Weaving for Justice. Available from UTPress, http://www.utexas.edu/utpress/books/ebejou.html. Visit our online store to order the Spanish edition or to download the book to read for free.