Matahari is a Greater Boston organization where women of color, immigrant women, and families come together as sisters, workers, and survivors to make working to end gender-based violence and exploitation.
Matahari recognizes that our communities are impacted by interpersonal institutional, and internalized oppression. We work to understand the root causes of those oppressions while simultaneously addressing their symptoms. We envision a society without inequity, racism, or violence. We believe that we are and should be capable of determining and transforming our own conditions. We want to build healthy and safe communities that prioritize the voices and leadership of all their members, and that succeed in engaging hearts, minds, and consciences.
BUILDING COLLECTIVE POWER
The core of our work and vision is a belief in the importance of collective action and people’s leadership as strategies for social change. When marginalized groups are able to engage in arenas of public debate, their voices work to reverse historic oppression and assert that all people, especially the most excluded, are entitled to equal rights, dignified lives, and the opportunity to participate in movements for social justice.
Matahari was founded in 2002 by Carol Gomez and other women of color leaders in order to create community solutions to end and prevent human trafficking, family violence, and sexual and labor exploitation.
Matahari’s initial focus was working with women of color the majority of whom were immigrants whose particular needs were often unmet by traditional violence against women organizations. We managed over 400 cases of women and immigrants suffering a range of human rights violations including labor and sexual exploitation, human trafficking, and domestic violence. Beyond intensive counseling and access to legal, housing and health resources, Matahari created a safe and supportive network that women could continue to turn to during their life-long processes of healing and empowering themselves through individual growth and social action.
In 2009, Matahari shifted focus, recognizing that while support and advocacy was key to survivor healing and empowerment, addressing the root causes of violence against women of color would require a fundamental shift in power relations that could only be realized through grassroots organizing and collective action. As such, Matahari supported the development of groups and networks in response to the needs of immigrant communities who were impacted by displacement due to natural disasters and detention and deportation policies. In 2008, Matahari joined the National Domestic Workers Alliance and continues to mobilize on a city, state and national level for domestic workers’ rights. In 2010, Matahari co-founded the Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers (MCDW) to organize house cleaners, nannies and adult caregivers in private homes for labor rights and dignity. We are is fiscally sponsored by Third Sector New England (TSNE).
- 2014: May Takayanagi Making Waves Award, Asian American Resource Workshop
- 2013: Salt of the Earth Award, Community Labor United (More about the award)
- 2011: Horace Seldon Emerging Leader Award, Community Change, Inc.
- 2011: Solidarity in the Struggle Award, Student Immigrant Movement
- 2008: Alumnae Recent Graduate Award, Simmons School of Social Work Alumnae Association
- 2007: Simmons Student Government Social Action Award, Simmons College
- 2007: Woman of the Year Finalist, India New England, New England region
- 2006: Spirit of Activism Award, Jane Doe Inc.
- 2006: Social Change Award, Transition House
- 2006: Cambridge Peace and Justice Award, Cambridge Peace Commission
- 2005: Political Action and Social Justice Award, Simmons College
- 2005: Statewide Victim Rights Award for Innovation, MA Office for Victim Assistance
- 2005: National Women’s Conference leadership award, MA Conference on Women
- "Disparities in Prevalence, Access to Services and Outcomes for Sexual and Domestic Violence Survivors from Five Underserved Populations: GLBT, Immigrant & Refugees, People Living with Disabilities, Rural, and Elder" Bay, A., Dang, Q., Nguyen Belizario, M., Rogers, C., Hovey, S.; Governor's Council on Domestic and Sexual Violence, 2013.
- "Ending Oppression. Building Solidarity. Creating Community Solutions." De la Cruz, M & Gomez, C; The Revolution Starts at Home, South End Press, 2011
- "Mental Health Guidelines for Working with Human Trafficking Survivors", Saleem, R., Tumala-Narra, U., Gomez, C. et al APA United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, pending publication
- "Revolutionizing the Framework: Integrating Advocacy and Mental Health Care", Gomez C. & Yassen, J. (2005); Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma
- "Sex Trafficking in the United States: International and Domestic Trends", Raymond, J., Hughes, D. & Gomez, C. (2001); National Institute of Justice