Carolina Sepulveda


Sacred Women: Navigating the Journey of Latinas to the United States

Advised by Malkit Shoshan

What design tools and strategies can be implemented by cities and NGOs to facilitate Latinas’ journey to the United States? The migration journey from Central America is particularly predatory and violent for undocumented Latinas. According to Amnesty International, six in ten women and girls experience some harassment or sexual abuse throughout their route. They migrate to escape violence but are abused during their journeys; they have fewer chances to survive while crossing the desert. Once in US territory, they are separated from their children. When released from detention centers, they are dropped at bus stations with no belongings or information on how to continue their trip or contact their relatives. At their final destinations, the resettlement process will depend on their support networks, which can help them find housing, a job, or health care and legal services.

Sacred Women analyses the three steps of the journey—the departure, the transit, and the resettlement—and proposes a shared-based system of information to empower and connect Latinas with existing allies en route. Sacred Women is a space of resistance and knowledge that embraces ancestral wisdom and cross-border solidarity toward Latinas. Ultimately, the project challenges the approach to the immigration crisis by highlighting the agency of women who make use of their squalid resources and solidarity with existent activist networks to claim their right to cross borders. These women have the resilience to nourish their communities, heal themselves, heal others, and to heal the world. That’s why they are sacred women.

Carolina Sepulveda, MDes. Photograph of a woman hugging an adolescent girl while standing in front of hanging lines of clothing and tarps. Text on the right side says, "Migrant Hotline, Online Database, Sacred Women Oracle"
Image credit: Federica Valabrega, “I’m A Survivor Of Violence”: Portraits Of Women Waiting In Mexico For U.S. Asylum, January 16, 2019, National Public Radio
Carolina Sepulveda, MDes. Sacred Women report. The thesis research and project are consolidated in a 122-pages report that offers different reading entries to the project. Text reads: Sacred women: Navigating the journey of Latinas to the United States. A report on how to facilitate Latinas migration.
Carolina Sepulveda, MDes. The book contains the main essay that guides the research, accompanied by mythological, historical, and migrant narratives that invite a non-linear reading of the project.
Carolina Sepulveda, MDes. Cartographies. A series of cartographies present the many scales of the project and the migratory journey's threats and stages. Map 4, the journey northward.
Carolina Sepulveda, MDes. Lexicon. Part of the effort of evidencing the landscape of migration is to present keywords present in the United States and Mexico border and migration regime.
Carolina Sepulveda, MDes. Sacred Women Oracle. Part of the project involves an oracle deck that depicts goddesses from the Meso-American cultures and seeks to guide and empower Latinas regarding their rights. Sample cards include Kuyen, Qana It’zam, and Pachamama.