“Nos toca luchar por nuestro espacio”, was the theme for the discussion with mujeres artesanas (artisan women) from all over Mexico. The Esperanza Peace and Justice Center hosted a plática or discussion for international vendors this past Thursday. It ended up being a sneak peek of the amazing work of indigenous women who come from all parts of Mexico including Oaxaca, Michoacán, Mexico City and Puebla. More importantly, it was a meaningful discussion of preservation of culture that inspired the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center to organize the event that coincides with Black Friday in the first place.
This Friday and Saturday (November 29-30th), the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center will host the 24th annual Mercado de Paz where the panelists will sell their work next to various regional artisans. The mercado or market is a place “found throughout the world as a place where people come together as community, where artistic and cultural expression is preserved and shared.” For the buena gente at Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, the Mercado de Paz will be a safe space for artesanas from all over the borderlands and Mexico to share their huipiles, rebozos, pottery and jewelry with our community.
Some of the panelists included an “Eco-artisan”Martha Santiago Alvarez, Purepecha elder Cecilia Bautista, La Red Binacional who represents over 3,000 indigenous women artisans from Mexico, Natividad Sanchez and Veronica Lorenzo a social justice activist and master weaver. The topics of discussion were deep, heartfelt and intense. For these women, their craft is certainly more than just a means to sustain themselves. Their work as artesanas is about the conservation of culture and the importance of fair trade. It is about being treated with respect, dignity and making sure folks know the importance of being a conscious and supportive consumer.
Represented on the panel was La Red Binacional, a network that links various women-operated organizations from 10 different states of Mexico. “United by their indigenous roots, the women seek to preserve their cultures through the commercial exchange of products between Mexico and the United States.” This network uplifts women and their right to equality within multiple levels of their communities. As you can see, the 24th annual Mercado de Paz isn’t just a place to buy rare and hard to find goodies from Mexico for your loved ones. It is a space where you can find the beauty of traditional dolls, belts, blouses, weavings and baskets for a fair price. As the consumer, you are paying for dedication, love and purpose. Haggling will not be tolerated here. In case that isn’t enough for the Black Friday consumer, there will also be food, live entertainment and several inevitable good conversations waiting to happen.