Maria Aguirre Rosales De Bañuelos (por el julano) Maria Aguirre Rosales De Bañuelos Maria one of the founding members of the organization Lideres Campesinas. Born in the state of Chihuahua in Mexico in 1930, she first came to the U.S in 1977 to work in the fields. In the early 1980s she began working at the Coachella Peter Rabbit packing plant, a seasonal job she held for 20 years. Maria was in an abusive relationship for most of her life. She realized this early in her marriage but family and tradition demanded that she stay with her husband. At the age of sixty she attended one of the first meetings of an organization that would eventually become Lideres Campesinas. During that meeting she heard other women speak of their experience of domestic abuse and for the first time she saw herself from the outside, she gained self-awareness. She had never thought that she did not have to live with violence. This was a turning point in her life and she started the slow process of freeing herself from that relationship. The first step she took was to establish her financial independence. In time she became more involved with Lideres Campesinas and has remained active with the organization because of what it did for her and because she knows that there are many people who need the services that Lideres Campesinas provides “...people who are, like I was, ignorant of their rights, the many people who come from small towns and villages in Mexico…Now I have seen the fruit of the work that the organization has done over the years. I suffered and I learned and my eyes were opened and I am not ignorant like I used to be…I realize that I am not important, what is important is the people that have the needs that I used to have”. Maria has traveled throughout the Southwest United States to educate women about their rights.