Day Laborers Launch Hurricane Relief Brigades


We just received this welcome news:

Day laborers in New York and New Jersey are mobilizing to offer their most valuable asset, their labor, for communities that have been damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

As New York and much of the East Coast have been recuperating from the damage caused by the super storm, day laborers, themselves victims of the hurricane, have taken leadership as volunteers, emerging as a valuable source of support for community members.  The relief brigades will include offering hands on cleanup work, distributing supplies, and education for other workers about health and safety hazards on the job.

Fourteen workers centers that are members of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network will be participating, along with Laborers union members and allies. The list below describes some of the actions taking place this week as part of this campaign:

Workers Justice Project, Brooklyn, NY – On Saturday, November 17, 2012, day laborers from the Bay Parkway Community Job Center along with other local organizations will convene at the restaurant Tacos Dona Zita in Coney Island, located at 1221 Bowery Street Brooklyn, NY 11224 at 11AM to help clean up homes and small businesses in and around Coney Island. The job center was completely ripped up and moved blocks away by the surges of water that swept through Bensonhurst during Hurricane Sandy. Despite losing their own home, the Bay Parkway day laborers are committed to rebuilding their own center as well as their communities by working in solidarity with their neighbors.  Contact: Ligia Guallpa, Director, 646-479-4769

Centro del Inmigrante of Staten Island, Staten Island, NY – On Sunday, November 18, day laborers from Centro del Inmigrante will be leading a brigade to the devastated area of Midland Beach on Staten Island. Centro del Inmigrante was recognized as the first organization to identify the need and to bring supplies and volunteers to the area immediately after the hurricane. They continue to conduct service brigades on weekends and distribute supplies from its office as well, at 1546 Castleton Ave, Port Richmond, Staten Island.  Contact: Gonzalo Mercado, Director, 917-913-4488

Casa Freehold, Freehold, NJ – On Sunday, November 18, Casa Freehold will hold an open house and information center, where day laborers and other community members will be able to access information on post hurricane services as well as on safety precautions to be taken as workers who will be involved in reconstruction efforts. 191 Throckmorton St., Freehold, NJ. Contact: Rita Dentino, 732-492-1852

Wind of the Spirit, Morristown, NJ – Sunday November 18, from 2pm-8pm, Wind of the Spirit will be hosting a health and safety training and conducting outreach sessions to day laborer corners to provide information to workers about health and safety hazards. 6 Sussex Ave., Morristown, NJ. Contact: Diana Mejia, WOTS, 201-563-1062

New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), Jackson Heights, NY – Sunday November 18, from 10:30 am -12:30 pm, NICE will be hosting a health and safety training and is conducting on going outreach sessions to day laborer corners in Queens to provide information to workers about health and safety hazards. 37-41 77th St. 2nd floor, Jackson Heights, NY. Contact: Valeria Treves, 718-205-8796 or 917-324-3305.

Additional relief brigades and education sessions will be scheduled in the coming weeks.
Participating Organizations include: Casa Freehold, Centro del Inmigrante, Don Bosco Workers, Hispanic Resource Center of Mamaroneck, New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), Neighbors Link, New Labor, Unidad Latina en Accion, United Community Center of Westchester, Wind of the Spirit, Workers Justice Project, Workers United Yonkers, Workplace Project, and AFSC, as well as LIUNA Laborers Local 10.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.

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