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Lideres Campesinas Honors UCR Professor, Dean

Lideres Campesinas Honors UCR Professor, Dean

The organization of women farmworkers will recognize Devra Weber and Alfredo Figueroa for years of service.

(October 31, 2008)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – A UC Riverside professor and a dean are among 15 individuals and organizations to be recognized on Saturday, Nov. 8, for their longtime support of Lideres Campesinas, an organization of women farmworkers in California.

Devra Weber, associate professor of history, and Alfredo Figueroa, assistant dean of students, are among the group that will be honored at UC Riverside as madrinas and padrinos – godmothers and godfathers – at a reception celebrating the 20th anniversary of Lideres Campesinas.

A reception and silent auction will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by speakers and a dramatic presentation portraying the organization’s origins and work at 8 p.m. Recognition of individuals and agencies will begin at 8:30 p.m. All events will be held in Humanities and Social Sciences 1500. Tickets are $5 for students, $15 for others. Parking is $6.

Lideres Campesinas was founded, organized and run by Mexican women farmworkers and focuses on issues ranging from domestic violence and sexual harassment to pesticide poisoning and empowerment of campesinas. Its roots are in Mujeres Mexicanas (Mexican Women), which was formed in 1988 in the Coachella Valley as the first organized effort of Latina farmworkers in California to address social, economic and political injustices. Lideres Campesinas, which has more than 500 members and a large network of supporters, also has been active at a national level, working toward passage of the Violence Against Women Act.

Mily Treviño-Sauceda, the organization’s founder, said Weber and Figueroa will be recognized for their longtime service. Weber attended the first organizing meetings 20 years ago, Treviño-Sauceda said, and has continued to support the group, including welcoming their participation in various conferences at UCR. “She’s been with us all along,” Treviño-Sauceda said, adding that Weber mentored her while she earned a bachelor’s degree at California State University, Fullerton.

Figueroa began working with Lideres Campesinas in 1994 when the organization’s members met in Riverside for the first time. When the group began organizing the daughters and nieces of women farmworkers in 1996, Figueroa began meeting with the young women, giving them campus tours and encouraging them to attend UCR, Treviño-Sauceda said.

Because of UC Riverside’s support, she said, “other universities have become interested in supporting our membership and our work in social justice issues.”

Also scheduled to be recognized on Nov. 8 are: Aixa Alvarado Gurany of Centro de Justicia Familiar; Californians for Pesticide Reform; Family Violence Prevention Fund; Farmworker Justice; Gina Lamb, professor of media studies at Pitzer College; Frizelle Apodaca, president of Eslabón Associates Inc.; Leslie Orloff, associate vice president and director of the Immigrant Women Program at Legal Momentum; Rachel Rodriguez, assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing; Radio Campesina; Rural Coalition; Starry Krueger of Rural Development Leadership Network; The Women’s Foundation of California; and Veronica del Carmen Treviño Sosa, coordinator of the Education Department of the State of Nuevo León, Mexico.

The event is co-sponsored by UCR Chicano Student Programs, Labor Studies and the Department of Women's Studies. UCR student interns have worked with Lideres Campesinas in conjunction with the Center for Women in Coalition and the Labor Studies program.

On Saturday, Nov. 8, and Sunday, Nov. 9, Lideres Campesinas also will conduct training at UCR for about 30 or its members on compliance with pesticide buffer zone requirements, and preventing domestic violence and sexual harassment.

For more information contact Lideres Campesinas at (909) 865-7776 or

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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