From the Executive Director : 2015 - A Year of Powerful Changes at IDEPSCA
One year ago IDEPSCA was in a different place. We didn’t have an Executive Director and we weren’t sure how we were going to keep the doors of our four day labor centers open. 2015 presented itself as a survival challenge for an organization with such deep roots in immigrant organizing through a popular education lens. I took the challenge, stepping in as Interim Executive Director, based on the deep love I had developed for Los Angeles based jornaleros and household workers. 2015 may have started as a challenge but it is ending with IDEPSCA as a strong survivor, evolving while respecting its roots.
By honing in and digging into an organizational focus on low-wage immigrant workers specifically day laborers and household workers and their families, we have successfully leveraged resources including continued funding for the day labor centers. We helped win enforcement at the state, city and county level against wage theft and became more visible in our support of other workers throughout the LA area. We have more volunteers and interns , building upon strong relationships with Azusa Pacific University, Occidental College, and YPI. Our Worker Health and Safety Program has not just brought resources into our centers like our first flu/tdap vaccine clinic, but we have worker leaders focused on organizing, educating, and advocating for environmental justice so that whether our members are at home or at the job they can lessen their exposure to toxic chemicals. Our household worker group, Mujeres en Accion, is thriving with a worker leader holding down weekly meetings where women are learning skills that uphold their dignity in all the paid/unpaid work they do. Mujeres en Accion has also been working in coalition with other orgs locally and statewide to expand and make permanent what was won in the California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights.
But even with all these successes, including a growing staff, there is so much work to be done. Loved ones of our members are facing deportation in the absence of a truly comprehensive and permanent immigration reform. The majority of our members are locked out of accessing comprehensive health care and workforce development programs. As the landscape of Los Angeles changes, more of our members are being displaced and struggling to find stable affordable housing.
I know that with worker leaders like Carlos Diaz from the Harbor Community Job Center, Carmen Goley from Mujeres en Accion, and Jornalero Health Promoters like Juan Carlos Munguia IDEPSCA will take on the challenges that 2016 bring. I know that with an incredibly passionate staff like Maria de Lourdes Alvarado, Nancy Zuniga, Guadalupe Garcia, and Luis Valentan, IDEPSCA will continue to strengthen its work to change the reality in which we all struggle. I know that with you, our long-time supporters, donating time and resources, IDEPSCA’s roots will deepen.
2015 has changed my life. Now let’s change the world.
Maegan E. Ortiz
Interim Executive Director
PS - you can help close 2015 with a donation. Just click on the donate button on the side.