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ROMA Social Impact Campaign Named One of Fast Company’s 2020 World Changing Ideas


Fast Company

By Kristin Toussaint 

Alfonso Cuarón’s Oscar-winning film Roma was more than just a movie. For many in real life who could relate to the main character, Cleo, an indigenous woman employed as a live-in domestic worker in Mexico, it was the first time their lives, their work, and their struggles were made visible.

Roma came out in 2018, but it’s still having an effect on the lives of domestic workers today, thanks in part to Participant, a film production company that combines art and activism to inspire social change. “We like to say there’s a fourth act to our movies, which is the impact,” says Participant CEO David Linde. Working with advocacy organizations including the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) and Centro de Apoyo y Capacitación para Empleadas del Hogar (The Center for Support and Training for Household Employees), Participant carried out a campaign to try to create real social impact as part of the reaction to the film, extending the movie into real life and helping secure protections for domestic workers in the U.S. and Mexico.

The campaign—the winner of the media and entertainment category of Fast Company’s 2020 World Changing Ideas Awards—worked in two parts: first, by raising awareness of domestic workers, their value, and their lack of benefits, and second by publicizing programs that can bolster the economic security of these workers, who are often excluded from labor laws and social security programs. For the 67 milliondomestic workers around the world—80% of whom are women—that often means no paid time off or other basic labor protections. Read More.