Post-Election Call to Action

*En español a continuación

Dear Matahari Community,

On Wednesday morning, we woke up to confusion, fear, and anger. The outcome of the presidential election provided a gauge of just how pervasive and deep racism, sexism, and xenophobia are in our country. As we consider the country’s new political leadership and the impact it might have on our lives, many in our community are frightened and disheartened.

And yet we have heard again and again from our members that now, more than ever, is the time for us to protect our families and communities by answering the call to transform our fear into a resilient, inclusive, and powerful movement for all working families. We have been looking in the wrong direction for leadership; the race to the White House has preoccupied us for too long. The election results provided more evidence of what in our hearts we’ve known all along that, in the words of the late Grace Lee Boggs, “We are the leaders we’ve been looking for.” We will not let this moment confine us in fear, but it will become the moment when we changed everything.

Join us for the Matahari Members’ Assembly this Sunday, November 13th at 3 pm, where we will address how the election results will impact our families, and commit to the critical work ahead. We will be joined by an immigration attorney, who will provide her perspective on what we might expect in the coming months. *Many people have asked us if men and children can come to the event. All members of the family are welcome!*

In this together,
Monique Nguyen Belizario and the Matahari Team
Executive Director 

// Español

Querida Comunidad de Matahari,

El Miércoles nos despertamos en un estado de confusión, miedo y enojo. Los resultados de la elección presidencial proporcionaron una indicación de lo persistente y profundo que es el racismo, el sexismo, y la xenofobia en nuestro país. Al considerar al nuevo liderazgo político de nuestro país y el impacto que va a tener en nuestras vidas, muchos miembros de nuestra comunidad están desilusionados y con miedo. 

Aun así, hemos escuchado muchas veces de nuestros miembros, que ahora más que nunca, es tiempo de proteger a nuestras familias y comunidades al responder la llamada de transformar nuestro miedo en resistencia, inclusividad y crear un movimiento fuerte para todas familias trabajadoras. Hemos estado buscando liderazgo en el lugar equivocado; la carrera hacia la Casa Blanca nos a preocupado bastante. Los resultados de la elección nos han dado más evidencia de lo que siempre hemos sentido en nuestros corazones que, en la palabras de Grace Lee Boggs, “Somos los líderes que hemos estado buscando.” No dejaremos que este momento nos quiebre, este sera el momento en el cual crearemos cambio.

Acompáñenos a nuestra Asamblea de Miembros de Matahari este Domingo, 13 de Noviembre a las 3pm, donde hablaremos sobre cómo los resultados de la elección afectarán a nuestras familias y comprometernos al trabajo crítico que nos espera. Vamos a estar unidos por una abogada de inmigración, que nos dará su perspectiva sobre lo que podemos esperar en los próximos meses. *Muchas personas nos han preguntado si los hombres y los niños pueden venir al evento. Todos los miembros de la familia son bienvenidos!*

Estamos en esto juntos,
Monique Nguyen Belizario y el Equipo de Matahari
Director Ejecutiva

We're Running the NY Marathon for Language Justice!

IN LESS THAN 2 DAYS! Theo Belizario is running The NYC Marathon on November 6, 2016, and Monique Nguyen is running her first 5K the day before (Dash to the Finish Line)! Collectively we are running 29.3 miles (26.2 mi + 3.1 mi) together next weekend! We are running to fundraise for the vital Language Justice work of Matahari Women Workers' Center.  PLEASE GIVE US A CONTRIBUTION OF $5 (FOR MO'S 1st 5K) OR $20+ (FOR THEO'S RUNNING 26.2 mi)! 

Matahari is a women's social justice organization working to end gender violence and exploitation through community organizing, leadership development, community and policy change. Matahari is a leading force in advancing the rights of domestic workers, immigrant families, and survivors of violence and exploitation.

What is language justice?

Language justice is the right everyone has to communicate in the language in most comfortable -- the language of our tongues, hearts, minds, and dreams.

A key to our organizing model is engaging women and families across cultures and languages -- as violence and exploitation is an unjust shared experience across all communities and we believe that the movement to end it will require all people and across many languages. 

Our current programming operates 95% bilingual (English and Spanish) through translation of all written materials, language interpretation (simultaneous and consecutive) of all meetings, workshops, trainings, and events.

For 2017, we are aiming to welcome and transition 3 additional languages into our community: Brazilian Portuguese, Haitian Kreyol, and Nepali. That means more communities will have access to our Beyond Survival anti-labor trafficking campaign, Family Unity/Anti-deportation campaigns, Workforce Development Trainings, Leadership trainings, public advocacy days and much more!

Multilingual/Language Justice is hard work and expensive! We build a community and train bilingual people to become social justice interpreters/communicators and purchase and maintain interpretation equipment systems. Here are some examples how much things cost!

  • $800/per transmitter (the device that interpreters speak into) that can be heard by 100s of people at a single event. E.g. our largest event has 150 ppl* and up to 4 languages are spoken.
  • $20/per receiver (devices that participants wear to hear interpretations) of an event of 150 people that is $3000 (150x$20). We currently have 70 headsets, help us get more!
  • $18-50/ per hour of wages for interpreters and translators. Over the year we use hundreds of services hours. Thankful for volunteers, but we rely heavily on professionals and want to make sure people are paid for their valuable contributions.


Matahari is fiscally sponsored by Third Sector New England.

We are in the New York Times! "A Living Wage for Caregivers"

We are in the New York Times! "A Living Wage for Caregivers"

One-quarter of domestic workers are paid below the minimum wage, according to a national survey — with the average annual pay for all being just above $17,000. Few workers receive overtime. In Manhattan, health care and personal care are among the lowest paid occupations; only food preparers and servers do worse. (If you take care of machinery instead of human beings you earn twice as much.) Moreover, most domestic workers lack the basic job protections that Americans in other professions take for granted: contracts, sick leave, vacation days, matched contributions to Social Security, retirement benefits.

Today, however, Juarez knows her rights well (and, yes, in Massachusetts she is entitled to overtime pay). In fact, she and colleagues like Angela Foster — a veteran nanny who discovered the domestic workers movement two years ago at a workshop during National Nanny Recognition Week (mark it: the fourth week in September) — now regularly conduct training sessions to teach others about their rights.

They work as member leaders with an organization called Matahari: Eye of the Day, (matahari, in Malay, means sun). The group is part of the Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers, which successfully lobbied for passage of a domestic workers’ bill of rights. Juarez had grown so emboldened that she successfully lobbied her own city, Lynn, Mass., to adopt a resolution in support of that bill of rights. “For me this experience has been marvelous,” she added. “I’m helping others to know about the law, and to lose their fear.”

Domestic worker law goes into effect today

A new law protecting the rights of domestic workers became law Wednesday, a measure that could help improve the lives of thousands of people who care for children and clean homes, many of them women immigrants.

The law took years of work by local and national advocates for domestic workers, who will celebrate its adoption at an event in Boston Wednesday night. But enforcement of the law is just beginning, and it is tricky territory for workers, employers, and government officials.

“The law and these regulations make clear that domestic workers have rights just like employees in more traditional workplaces,’’ Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey said in a statement. “These regulations acknowledge the unique environments these workers are employed in and reinforce the responsibilities employers have for ensuring those rights are protected.”

Healey has filed draft regulations today to support the law, outlining her office’s authority to investigate violations and enforce the law.

The new rules include ensuring that home workers are paid no less than the $9 minimum wage and that they receive at least one day off a week and two consecutive days off per month for a live-in worker who puts in more than 40 hours a week. They also should get reasonable rest periods, whether paid or unpaid, and the right to privacy and to stay in touch with their family and friends.

Many of the rules seem like common sense, officials and advocates say, but domestic workers are more isolated than other employees and often have verbal arrangements with employers, instead of written ones that both parties can agree on. One of the new rules requires that workers receive written notice on the terms of their employment, including vacation and sick leave policies.

“Today, we take another step forward with the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights becoming law,” said state Senator Anthony Petruccelli, a Democrat from East Boston and a sponsor of the bill, in a statement. “Our work to restore employment equity and extend new protections to domestic workers provides the same standard of care and diligence that is provided in the homes of their employers.”

Part of the challenge will be educating both employers and workers about the new law. The attorney general’s staff will be holding educational meetings for nannies, housekeepers, and other home workers, many of whom are new to this country, with modest incomes and still learning English.

Many domestic workers who are underpaid or mistreated in other ways are afraid to come forward. They fear not only losing their jobs and their wages – and sometimes their living quarters – but facing deportation depending on their immigration status. The law and the regulations protect workers regardless of their status, according to the attorney general’s office.

Under the new law, employers are specifically prohibited from taking passports and other personal documents from domestic workers, and from retaliating against those who assert their rights under the new law. The regulations also clarify appropriate deductions for food and lodging, an area abused by some employers, as well as workers’ right to overtime, sick time, and parental leave.

There is a public comment period on the attorney general’s regulations until May 15, and there will be a hearing on May 8.

Beth Healy can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @HealyBeth.

Governor Patrick Signs Massachusetts Domestic Workers Bill of Rights

Governor Patrick Signs Massachusetts Domestic Workers Bill of Rights

On Wednesday July 2, 2014 Governor Deval Patrick recognized approximately 60,000 domestic workers by signing the Massachusetts Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights.

“This is your bill. And this is what happens when you show up in your house and make a claim on your government," he said to the crowd.

The ceremony, took place at the Grand Staircase of the Massachusetts State House in front of a crowd of proud supporters, which included Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Attorney General Martha Coakley along with many of the dedicated domestic workers of the Commonwealth.

The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights promises to provide basic labor rights to all domestic workers such as the right to a written agreement, compensation for extra-hours, privacy and protection against human trafficking and sexual harassment.  Under the new law, both documented and undocumented workers can enjoy the liberty to work without fear of being treated unfairly.

Vote for MataHari! "Unsexy" Policy Contest

UPDATE (Nov, 29, 2014): We did not win the contest, but our multilingual justice fund campaign continues - Donate today!


Take action to make in 2 ways!

  1. Vote for MataHari in the "Unsexy" Policy Contest

  2. Donate to the Vision for Multilingual Justice Fund

Help us win the Unsexy Policy contest and $1000 by voting for us here:

The Contest

The Unsexy Policy contest is run by a group of students from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. They have created a calendar to celebrate so-called "unsexy" policies - the ones that may not get the most news coverage or retweets, but still create real, important changes in peoples' lives.

The group plans to donate proceeds from the calendar to benefit an organization that tackles less publicized but critically important economic, social, and environmental concerns. If you vote for MataHari, we could use $1,000 to purchase new interpretation devices to help us honor and include people from different language backgrounds in our community meetings.   

Our "Unsexy" Policy: Domestic Workers' Rights

MataHari is a founding member of the Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers, and in partnership with other member organizations, helped pass the Massachusetts Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights this past summer! We are proud to have been part of this significant moment in history, and to have fought for legal protections for those of us and our sisters who change the world every day as housecleaners, nannies, caregivers, or other in forms of domestic work. 

Through the passage of this bill, domestic workers will be able to go to the attorney general if you are being forced to work against your will. You will have the right to keep your documents (including your passport and visa) and must be told by employer you have that right. While some provisions are already in effect, the bill will go into full effect on April 1, 2015. 

Let's Talk, Let's Listen: Our Plans for $1000

If MataHari is voted best "unsexy" policy, we plan to use the money raised to further our organizational goal of multilingual justice. We are a group of women from many different ethnic, racial, cultural, class and immigrant backgrounds, and the languages we speak reflect those differences. Still, we believe strongly that by coming together, we can build power, find shared values, and create change. In order to do this, we need to strengthen our capacity for interpretation and multilingual meetings.

Interpretation systems are sets of wireless microphone and headset devices that allow for simultaneous interpretation in meetings large and small. This means that instead of speaking in short sections to make space for consecutive interpretation, we can run fluid meetings that still incorporate people from different language backgrounds. At the moment, MataHari often borrows interpretation systems from partner organizations in order to make our organizing work possible. If we win the Unsexy Policy contest, we will be able to put the money raised towards purchasing our own interpretation system (learn more about the Babel Box system)

The Babel Box language interpretation system, 1 receiver + 10 headsets (basic package)

Donate to the Vision for Multilingual Justice Fund!