VOZ Representatives Participate in National Day Labor Assembly
From September 9th – September 13th, a delegation from VOZ Worker’s Right Project went to Washington DC to participate in fifth annual National Day Labor Assembly. VOZ representatives Justin Shear and Jesus Navarrete joined a group of over three hundred day laborers from throughout the country to strategize, share information, and to mobilize for legislative visits and marches.
The Convention was dedicated to Rich Cunningham, the Executive Director of New Labor in New Jersey, who passed away the morning of Friday, September fourth. Rich devoted his life to the defense of immigrant workers in the United States. Day laborers and organizers from all over the country paid homage to Rich’s life-long commitment to social justice.
During our visit to the Capitol we delivered important messages to Oregon Senator Jeff Merkely and State Representative David Wu. We asked them to: 1) stop community and workplace raids, 2) end the failed 287(g) agreements between the police and immigration officials, and 3) include day laborers and other workers without stable employment in any Comprehensive Immigration Reform proposals.
The assembly was a great way to meet other people engaged in the struggle for immigrant workers’ rights. The assembly began a powerful new alliance between day laborers and women from the National Domestic Workers Alliance. We also attended valuable leadership workshops and trainings on marketing and communications techniques for the worker center. VOZ shared our successes and challenges with the group and we learned from the efforts of other day labor centers in places like California, New Jersey and Florida. The assembly culminated with a concert in Lafayette Park just outside of the Capitol Building. That night we held a candle light vigil in front of the White House to bring our message to President Obama. We are back in Portland ready to share our inspiration, energy and new ideas!