Community Activist Project: WARMI Feminist Collective

Seek the change you want to see.

LAWRS Community Activist WARMI Logo

WARMI is LAWRS’s grassroots Community Activist group, made up of diverse Latin American Migrant womxn organizers and activists in London.

The group was born from LAWR’s Community Activist Project, launched in March 2018, which aims to centre the  lived experience of women in our community as a powerful tool in the process of social change. Through diverse activities, spaces and opportunities of engagement, the participants of the project self-organised and created the WARMI feminist collective.

The WARMI feminist collective organizes in multiple intersections, centering the fight against the hostile environment, all types of violence against women and labour exploitation in the cleaning, domestic work and hospitality sectors and advocating for the liberation of migrant and refugee women in the UK.

LAWRS Community Activist WARMI Activism Group

WARMI stands for:

  • Women
  • Activist
  • Revolutionary
  • Migrant
  • Intersectional Feminist collective

Each letter represents the principles, values and focus of the group.

This word also holds great historical and ancestral significance in Latin America, as Warmi means women in Quechua, an indigenous  language spoken in  the Andes. The word evokes the historical legacy of resistance that Latin American women carry with them wherever they go, and it sets the intention of liberation that the group strives for.

The Warmi Collective combats the hostile environment through workshops, trainings, outings, artivism and more.

We offer a space that recognises and nurtures the power that migrant women have and sees and welcomes all of its members’ intersections. We invest in transformative leadership and intergenerational healing, unearthing our lineage and our past to heal ourselves.

WARMI Activities 2021

Currently online due to COVID-19.

The WARMI collective continues to work to defend the rights of Latin American migrant women in the UK, even through the pandemic, by offering practical support, sharing their stories and having a community space for Latin American Migrant Women Activists to connect and create networks of support.

If you’d like to join the collective, please contact us at:

WARMI Archive

The LAWRS Community Activist Project believes in the immense power Latin American Migrant Women have. Through the use of transformative leadership practices, the project aims to build up communities, by investing in its members. In this capacity, the programme has offered several training and workshops to build this power in our service users.

In the summer of 2019, the Community Activist Project launched LAWRS’s first intergenerational fully bilingual community organizing training for LAWRS’ service users.

The training was designed for Latin American migrant women activists and organizers,  seeking to cover learning gaps and needs that they deemed necessary to achieve their own personal empowerment and facilitate their activism.

The training followed an intersectional feminist approach that incorporated aspects of Latin American community organizing, with a focus on the importance of lived experience, validation, and migration. In the training, participants were able to share tools and resources to enhance their skills to organize and campaign.

Some of the trainers of the programme included comrades from Imkaan, Amnesty International, Neon an, Latin Elephant and Express News.

 

The training covered

Intro to the training: community organizing

Subtopics: Community organizing & Latin American forms of organizing

Intersectional feminism

Subtopics: Identity, race and difference, VAWG and Step Up Migrant Women

Migration

Subtopics: Myth busting & hostile environment

Our rights

Subtopics: Human rights training, labour rights, and service provider experience

Media and public speaking

Subtopics: Content creation and media, delivery on public speaking- radio work

Campaigning

Subtopics: Strategy and tools, campaigns, and our own certificate of completion

In November 2019 the WARMI collective received a series of bespoke training delivered by LAWRS’ Violence Against Women & Girls team. The collective learned about the different types of harmful practices, how to identify them and prevent them.

In different capacities, the WARMI collective has shined a light on the intersecting forms of oppression Latin American migrant women face in the UK, by participating in consultations, actions, letter drafting, and round tables. All work towards informing community members or their rights and power but also as a way to influence decision-makers.

In September 2019 the WARMI collective participated in two focus groups with the City of London Federation, to tackle the issue of sexual harassment at the workplace. The WARMI collective informed a campaign that took place later in 2020 within London’s City centre. The campaign targeted survivors of sexual harassment, to inform them of their rights and who to contact. This campaign also targeted employers and demanded accountability from abusive staff. In these meetings, the WARMI helped inform policy-makers, by giving detailed accounts of what it is like to be a cleaner in the City of London, and presenting evidence from LAWRS’ reports. These meetings have prompted collaborative work with other stakeholders.

In January 2019 the WARMI collective participated in a consultation with NHS providers in the boroughs of Lewisham, Southwark, and Lambeth on access to interpreters.

The NHS has a duty to provide healthcare to all. However, to guarantee this service it is absolutely necessary to provide the crucial service of language interpretation.

Many in the Latin American community in London cannot access their fundamental right to healthcare due to the language barrier. The WARMI collective shared their lived experience of requesting and accessing interpreters. Many shared how the hostile environment seeps into all aspects of life, including accessing proper interpretation. The study revealed a gap in provision and the result was a commitment to investing in the service of interpretation to guarantee proper access to health care in South East London.

As part of the annual 16 days of action against violence against women & girls (VAWG), the WARMI collective participated in LAWRS online campaign on VAWG speaking on safe reporting. We also lead a solidarity action at LAWRS’ Annual General Meeting.

LAWRS Community Activist WARMI 16 Days of Action 2019

In November 2018, we participated in the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty open mic, and outlined the issues faced by the Latin American community. We gave evidence at the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT), an event that aimed to expose the “Violations with Impunity of the Human Rights of Migrant and Refugee Peoples” in the UK. The PPT on Migrant and Refugee Peoples aimed to put migrant voices at the heart of a process of claiming social justice. We spoke at the event and submitted a 10-page report documenting the stories of the group members, a document that was made collectively with them during a labour exploitation focus group.

From November to December 2019 the WARMI collective played a key part in Amnesty International’s Write for Rights Campaign 2019. Each year, Amnesty International runs a global solidarity campaign to support struggles across the world. As part of the Step Up Migrant Women campaign, coordinated by LAWRS, AI chose to focus on the matter of safe reporting for migrant women survivors of domestic violence. The WARMI informed the campaign’s trajectory and demands. Actions proposed by the WARMI included signing petitions, collecting donations for migrant women and their children in refuges, creating online content in different languages on the subject of safe reporting, a hand in of all letters of support to the government, training on violence against women and girls for survivors, and a Christmas gala event where the WARMI expressed the importance of supporting survivors.

The WARMI collective uses the arts to explore many of the intersecting forms of oppression Latin American Migrant Women face in the UK. Art is an ancestral form of resistance in Latin America. Through sewing, singing and theatre of the oppressed, the collective continues to practice these traditions in the diaspora.

View the WARMi zine