California Domestic Workers Coalition

Eleni Balakrishnan

When Maria Aguilar landed in San Francisco in her late 20s, she was practically a different woman. She had left behind two young children in Guatemala, spoke no English, and knew no one. 

She found work cleaning houses, and started sending money home. “At first, it was very hard for me. I felt alone, lost.” said Aguilar, 42, in Spanish. Today, 13 years later, she speaks confidently about her rights as a domestic worker and as a woman — and her upcoming debut as a dancer. 

Aguilar is one of 11 domestic workers from La Colectiva who will perform alongside two laborers from the Day Labor Program on Saturday, Sept. 24, at Dance Mission Theater. Through music, theater, poetry, and dance, the show titled “Our Work, Our Dignity” will shine a light on the lives of the workers, their experiences as immigrants, and their self-empowerment.