Northwest Day Laborer Conference
More than 25 day laborers and organizers of the states of Washington and Oregon attended the second Northwest Day Laborers Conference at Reed College in Portland on June 23-25, 2007 which was coordinated by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.
It was an exchange of experiences, celebration and everyone present felt the spirit of solidarity. Sharing, teaching and learning was the theme that arose during the meeting.
The assembly focused on the internal difficulty the day laborers face, especially those in Portland and Cornelius who fight tirelessly to maintain their corners before those who do not want their presence in front of businesses or residences.
The conference approached these themes: the analysis of the day laborer power, legislative analysis about immigration, how a bill is converted into a law, principal proposals, how a proposal would affect or benefit day laborers, how to lobby, rights and strategies about raids, how to better communicate regionally in order to strengthen the support, etc.
The Regional Convention humanized the day laborer worker through art and culture. During the talent evening, day laborers sang, recited poems and acted. The day laborers told other communities and the world that besides doing heavy and dirty work, they are singers, poets, and actors.
The day laborers gave a press conference in which they spoke against the bill that actually was discussed in the Senate because it would exclude a part of them. In order for this community of day laborers to support the proposal, there need to be substantial changes that go from the cost, reuniting family, the point system, guest worker programs, the prerequisite of having fulltime work among others. We, as day laborers, feel we are outside of the debate and the bill presented in the Senate does not approach our necessities. Instead of helping us, this bill would make our situation worse. There was conversation about the Del Monte raid which was covered by Channels 2, 6, and Univisión in Spanish which was seen at a national level. We visited local Congress members David Wu and Earl Blumenauer to talk with them about their support of a legalization that includes the day laborers. It was a total success!