For the first time ever, the Peoria chapter of the National Organization for Women presented their annual Women’s History Month award to a group. Por Amor, which is Spanish for “with love,” was named one of this year’s five recipients. This is the first ever given to a program because it exhibits so many of NOW’s values such as self-empower and sisterhood in action.
In its second year, Por Amor is a Latina women’s jewelry cooperative. Latina women gather at Friendship House to make the bracelets made with charms illustrating a Bible passage from Matthew 25:40, “I tell you the truth that whatever you did for the one of the least of these my brothers, you did for me.” The charms are a piece of bread, a cup and an article of clothing, and a charm representing Friendship House.
Their bracelets sell for $25 each. Each woman earns money from the bracelets she sells, thereby gaining financial independence.
Por Amor is run by the women themselves. One woman has become the teacher and another has become the lead bead-maker and maintains the inventory.
Housed in the Peoria Friendship House of Christian Service, Por Amor helps Latina women gain independence while retaining and celebrating their Mexican heritage. The program was developed by the Friendship House’s executive director Barbara Hartnett, a former recipient of the Women’s History Month award.
Hartnett accepted the award on behalf of the women of Por Amor commenting, “They say ‘everything is political.’ The statement that this program makes is ultimately political. I grew up in an immigrant home. I grew up with Polish spoken at home. I have always had a kinship with the immigration cause. Immigration is an issue and it has serious political consequences. Many of the most extreme kinds of revisionist thinking would break apart husbands and wives, and would separate children from parents.”
To keep families together and celebrate their heritage, the women at Por Amor bring traditional Mexican food from home to share with the coop members. The women have an opportunity to socialize and not be isolated while their husbands are at work and their children are at school. The women also learn English, math and business skills and work toward taking citizenship classes.
The bracelets are sold online at the Matthew 25 Jewelry Cooperative. Custom orders are also accepted.
To read about this year’s recipients, click on the links below.
- NOWPeoria shakes up things with 2010 awards
- Jack Ryan
- Elaine Hopkins
- Sharon Samuels Reed
- Marilyn Leyland