At Junes, we’re fully focused on doing all we can to help women and the planet. Every day we’re thinking of how we can do more, but the reality is it will never be enough. At least not in our time. The future lies in real systemic change and cultural shifts in attitudes and actions, which means the future lies in the values we impart on the next generation. This Mothers Day, we want to celebrate all the moms who are doing the work every day to ensure our world is left in good hands. Here are a few of the best we know:
The Co-Op Mamás:
Lolis, Vivi, and Marta
Our partner over the border in Ciudad Juarez, the women’s sewing co-op at Centro Santa Catalina, knows a few things about doing right by the next generation. It’s kind of their whole thing. The mission’s programming focuses on breaking the cycle of abject poverty and social marginalization by providing a sustainable path forward for women and girls in Juarez. The sewing co-op was established as a way to teach an income-earning skill to women and help them provide for their families while empowering themselves. Lolis, Vivi, and Marta are three of the incredible women and mothers helping us craft our beautiful Junes bags while also raising children with the knowledge, skills, confidence, and opportunities to rise above the problems that have plagued their city over many generations.
Maria (Lolis) de Lourdes Franco
Maria, or Lolis as she’s affectionately known around the co-op, is a mother of four – Carlos, Gerardo, Daniel, and Yessenia. The biggest lesson she imparts on her children is that all persons are valued, and to respect women and men as equals. “My children have taught me to see life in a different way,” she says. “They have taught me that I'm strong for them and that nothing can stop me to protect them and give them the best.”
Viridiana (Vivi) Ibarra
Also a mother of four, Vivi has found her strength as a woman through her children – Oscar, Paola, Mauricio, and Judith. They have helped her see that women should not be treated as less than men in her city, and that she deserves to hold the same rights and responsibilities. This realization is now a cornerstone of the lessons she passes back along to them. In her words - “I would like my children to be honest and responsible persons. I like them to be persistent and achieve their goals, and the most important lesson is to teach them to respect women.”
Martha (Marta) Abigail Perez
The co-op’s Marta has risen to the challenge of raising her son, Ivan, in a male-dominated culture where machismo and gender-based violence run rampant. “I want my son to respect all people as equal, and to be responsible for his acts,” she shares. “I want him to be a good man for this world.” And just like the other women we’ve featured, Marta feels that she herself has become a better person by becoming a mother. Her son is a daily source of inspiration to never give up on life, and to always work hard both for him and the rest of her community. It is, no doubt, mothers like Marta who can end this generational attitude towards women in her city and break the cycle of violence once and for all.
The Regenerative Urban Farmer-Mom: Erin Pfirman
Parents to Jack (4) and Levi (almost 2), Erin (@erinpfirman) and her husband, John, did the work to unlearn how to grow food and reeducate through listening to our ancestors and the land itself. Transforming their love of gardening into starting their own El Paso-based regenerative farm (@birdavefarm), they’re sharing what they’ve learned with their children and their community, encouraging everyone to eat from a sustainable food cycle and truly care for the earth. Here at Junes, we talk a lot about working to close the loop on plastic pollution, so we love learning how to do this for the land itself. Even something that feels sustainable - growing your own food - can have harmful practices and byproducts.
It’s not just respect for the earth, but also for humanity that Mama Erin is passing along. Many of her beliefs in raising her sons stem from her own struggles with her place in the world as a woman and the fear that created for the possibility of raising a daughter. But as it turned out, instilling compassion and respect for women in all forms and breaking the stereotype of ‘manliness’ hasn’t been exactly easy either. As she says it best, “it's changing an entire paradigm in a world that isn't necessarily ready for change.” She and her husband work very hard to dismantle the concept of gender and cultural norms, encouraging Jack’s love for painting his nails and Levi’s nurturing of his favorite doll.
“Having my boys put into perspective what I value in life,” says Erin. “They've shed light on the way I want to exist in the world and how I want to spend my time. I've become more of an activist because of them. I value my own gender in a way that I didn't before. Women are powerful. Mothers are magic. I want my boys to know that deep in their souls.”
Eco Maza Mama: Michelle Arnold
El Pasoans know her for her unique tacos and sustainable restaurant practices. Lucia (5) and Emilia (3) know her as Mama. Her and her husband Alejandro, partnered up with Daniel Ray Fox to combine their love for the earth and authentic tacos to create Taconeta (@taconeta_) – a one-of-a-kind taqueria that serves amazing food along with the planet.
Being mindful creators and compassionate to all beings is a value Michelle passionately imparts on her children. Not only through the restaurant where they compost the kitchen waste, source local ingredients, and prepare food in ancient traditions that increase nutritional value – but also in their daily activities at home. They spend as much time outside as possible and have thoughtful conversations about decreasing consumption and caring for even the littlest of creatures they meet, like worms and spiders.
And like all of our mothers have shared, Michelle is learning from her children as well. “They’re intuitive gardeners! They teach me something new every day, like seed soaking “because they’re thirsty” and moving rocks that are too close to a trees trunk ‘so she can breathe’.”
Vintage Loving, Photo Snapping Mamasita: Valerie Metz
Warm, glowing, and filled with joy – that’s the instant vibe when you take a scroll through Valerie Metz, aka @mammafolk’s, grid. It’s an aesthetic she naturally passes on through her work as a husband-wife photography duo – uniquely positioned to capture the love of a budding family, as they have captured it themselves. Based in Costa Mesa, CA, Valerie is mom to babes Hendrix Lou (4), and Rio Suzi (1).
A big priority for Valerie is ensuring the traditions of her immigrant parents are passed down and kept alive through her children. She speaks both Spanish and Portuguese in her house – ensuring Hendrix and Rio are exposed and learn to care for other cultures. The family also lives a pretty minimalistic lifestyle, with a fun and responsible tradition of their own. They do a monthly toy donation where the kids pick a few of their toys to pass on to others and are looking forward to doing more volunteer work and city clean-ups on the other side of the COVID pandemic.
“My children have taught me how precious time is,” Valerie muses. “Not only because of how fast they grow but also being intentional with my husband, friends, and myself. I took time for granted before kids and now I feel like I can enjoy the smallest things because priorities and responsibilities obviously shift when you have kids!”
We at Junes just wanted to say Happy Mothers Day, and most importantly THANK YOU to the mamas above and all the mothers working hard every day to teach the next generation true respect for women and the planet - closing the loop on pollution and breaking the cycle of harmful beliefs. The world can only be left in better hands through yours.