"Organizing for Economic Justice: A Call to Action"
Saturday, May 20 - 9:30am - 3:30pm
Columbus Mennonite Church; 35 Oakland Park Ave Columbus, OH 43214
Why should workers organize? How can we build a diverse and inclusive economic justice movement? How does international trade policy hurt workers in Ohio? What is the Central Ohio Worker Center doing to address worker rights here in Columbus?
Together we will explore these questions in a summit bringing together labor leaders, workers, and local activists involved in the struggle for economic justice.
Tiffany Dena Loftin: Former Racial Justice Program Coordinator for the Civil Rights; AFL-CIO. Senior Program Specialist; National Education Association
Dan Kovalik: Senior Associate General Counsel, United Steel Workers
Jon Wentz: Union Attorney, Barkan Meizlish LLP
Rubén Castilla Herrera: Organizer, Director of the Central Ohio Worker Center.
*** A FREE healthy lunch with be provided to all registered participants ***
Early yesterday morning over 100 immigrants and allies gathered in the pouring rain for a March & Rally for "Un Dia Sin Inmigrantes" (A Day Without Immigrants). COWC is proud to have partnered with Red Migrante Ohio - an immigrant-led community organization - to make this event happen. On the steps of the Ohio Statehouse, immigrants shared their stories and struggles with a resolve to defend and protect one another.
Later in the day as the rain cleared, over 100 workers, immigrants, students, and allies gathered for to show that Columbu is a #SolidarityCity. Our march stepped off toward the Ohio Union in support of the Ohio State Student/Farmworker Alliance and their campaign to cut OSU's contract with Wendy's for their refusal to support farmworkers by partnering with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.
The march then arrived outside of an AT&T store in support of Communication Workers of America (CWA) - Local 4320. A lively picket was held demanding a fair contract for the over 45,000 AT&T employees demanding just wages, conditions, and benefits.
The march ended with a cookout and workers/immigrants sharing their stories and the importance of coming together to resist exploitation & hatred in the current political climate.
May Day 2017 ended with a call to ACTION. The Central Ohio Worker Center launched our Restaurant Worker Survey project with the goal of collecting over 500 surveys from restaurant workers this year. Participants signed up to join us on one of our upcoming canvasses to reach out to low-wage restaurant workers and collect data on wages, conditions, and industry trends.
The Central Ohio Worker Center's "Sanctuary in the Streets" Rapid Response team was activated when notified of Maribel Trujillo Diaz, a mother of 4 U.S.-born children from Fairfield who has lived in Ohio for over 15 years, was transferred to Morrow County Corrections Facility awaiting deportation. Organizers in Maribel's community (Fairfield, Hamilton, and Cincinnati) had been following her case carefully advocating her release & reunion with her family.
When word came down that Maribel was to be transferred up to Morrow County Corrections Facility (less than an hour north of Columbus), the community mobilized in less than 12 hours to hold vigil outside the facility in opposition to her deportation. COWC activated our growing "Sanctuary in the Streets" team alongside the Columbus People's Partnership and Faith in Public Life with over dozens staying deep into the night. There was the looming possibility that Maribel was to be deported that evening at 2:00am; supporters stayed until 2:30 to ensure that she was not deported that night.
This short-term victory proved that Columbus residents are ready to do what is necessary to protect our immigrant neighbors.
Unfortunately, just days after this action, Maribel was transferred to another detention facility in Louisiana and deported a week later. While this individual story did not have a happy ending, it strengthens our resolve as an organization and a community to do all we can to prevent, intervene, and fight unjust deportations.
The aim of the Central Ohio Worker Center's "Sanctuary in the Streets" project is to do just this. The primary goal is preventing our immigrant neighbors from detention & deportation. We are doing this through dissemination of Know Your Rights information throughout the city and talking 1-on-1 with the community where they are. We have a dedicated phone line to report police/ICE activity - 614-398-0408. Finally, we will activate our network to do what is necessary to stop the deportation of immigrants who have been detained.
WE NEED YOUR PRESENCE on Sunday, March 26 at 1:00pm at Goodale Park (120 W Goodale Ave Columbus, OH) for the "Parade for Human Rights"! We will take the streets for farmworker justice with the march ending at the Ohio State campus; where 19 students have been fasting all week demanding OSU ends their contract with the Wendy's on-campus.
The Central Ohio Worker Center (COWC) is pleased to invite all to stand with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and their 4-year long campaign demanding that Dublin-based Wendy's respect farmworker dignity through the "Fair Food Program". The CIW has served as an inspiration for organizers in Columbus locally and their powerful struggle winning farmworker rights was integral to the formation of COWC.
Over 70 farmworkers from Immokalee will be visiting Columbus for the culmination of their "Return to Human Rights " Tour; a nearly two week journey across the country calling attention to the Wendy's Boycott. Hundreds of allies from across the country will also be spending the weekend in Columbus to stand with the CIW.
CentralOhioWorkerCenter & People's Justice Project Statement on Columbus as a Sanctuary City & Police use of Mace
Immigrants and Refugees Hear Love but see Mace
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 1st, 2017
Tammy Fornier-Alsaada, (614) 623-5368, TammyA@ohorganizing.org
Ruben Castilla Herrera, (614) 589-0732, LatinoLeaderShift@gmail.com
COLUMBUS, Ohio – On Monday January 30th, Columbus showed what it can be at its best, as well as just how far we have to go. Mayor Ginther and City Council joined the movement led by immigrants and refugees to name Columbus a "Sanctuary City” and Council Member Elizabeth Brown proposed creating a legal defense fund to protect DACA youth, refugees, and immigrants who could be facing attacks. These are crucial first steps to protecting the rights of the nearly 10% of our community whose lives are at risk under the Trump administration.
In the days and weeks ahead, the city’s timeline must reflect the urgency of the attacks being launched on families. We are excited about the idea of a public process mentioned by Council President Klein to garner input from stakeholders - the success of any initiative depends on the input of people directly affected being at the center of driving the solutions. When the news cycle passes, immigrant and refugee families still need protection. The Mayor’s words must be followed followed by real dollars and real actions.
This act of solidarity contrasted with the scene a few hours later, however. Thousands of Columbus residents gathered at the Ohio Statehouse in a peaceful demonstration against President Trump’s hateful authoritarian policies. Black, Latinxs, Native, Asian, Arab, and white community members marched together through the streets of Columbus and stopped at the intersection of High and State Streets to sing, chant, and pray. Muslim youth, many from families that arrived as refugees, prayed over the gathering. Despite the peaceful nature of the protest, police threatened to arrest and use pepper spray against the crowd. Eventually, they charged into protesters, chasing and spraying people as they ran away.
Right before this escalation by police, a chant cried out “Who do you serve, who do you protect?” A question that the Black community has been demanding an answer to since Henry Green was killed in June, since Tyre King was killed in September, and since Jaron Thomas was killed just a few days ago. In Mayor Ginther’s announcement he said “It is the responsibility of municipal leaders to protect the well being and safety of all people residing in their cities, to respect the rights of and provide equal services to all individuals.” Right now, the Columbus Police do not protect all residents, neighborhoods and communities equally. They must be held accountable for needless escalation on peaceful protesters, for the daily criminalization of poor people and people of color, and for the deaths of unarmed black boys and men in our city.
The idea that Columbus is America’s “Opportunity City” or “Safest Big City” must be met with the same question--for whom? The reality is we live in a tale of two cities where opportunity and safety are only accessible for some. Mayor Ginther said in his address, “Our city codes have been our guiding light, prohibiting discrimination based on race, religion and national origin.” This aspirational calling is what we should strive for together. We must continue to resist any and all of Trump’s policies that threaten the safety of our community and we must define together how to build a true Sanctuary City for all of Columbus residents.
People's Justice Project
Central Ohio Worker Center
Sign on supporters:
Ohio Student Association
Columbus People's Partnership
Ohio Interfaith Immigration and Migrant Coalition
Yes We Can Columbus
International Socialist Organization
Real Food - Ohio State University
Socialist Alternative - Columbus, OH
Showing Up for Racial Justice - Columbus