Five recent labor struggles you should know about

*This post was originally shared on the Chicago based, workers owned cooperative, Tesa Collective’s blog, and posted here with their permission.

Ever since the dawn of modern labor, there have been labor struggles. Take, for example, the wage cut protests of female mill workers in 1834, the 1877 uprising of Irish-American coal miners that resulted in 19 hangings, or the many workplace accidents that led up to the 1970 development of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. 

This has led to a powerful tradition in the US to fight for the wellbeing of the working class; and even though these goals have been difficult to achieve, the struggle has not stopped. 

It was in this spirit that our past collaboration with Jobs with Justice yielded the creation of STRIKE! The Game of Worker Rebellion. This game allows players to build their own labor movement, placing them as workers looking to stop a mega-corporation from taking over their city. (According to the website The Fandomentals, STRIKE! is “a great game to learn about labor rights that doesn’t sacrifice the fun factor.”)

And right now, so many people and communities are facing unimaginable and unprecedented uncertainty due to the pandemic. However, the ramifications of these hardships mostly fall on small businesses and the working class. While small businesses and individual working people suffer, many corporations have greatly increased their wealth during the pandemic. So in the face of this, American workers are finding new ways to organize and build power together, just as they have for hundreds of years.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at five recent labor struggles we should all know about – some during the pandemic, and some before: 

Warrior Met Coal Strike in Alabama (2021)

Though many of us were just hearing about the strike involving coal miners in Alabama for the first time in 2021, the events that set this struggle in motion took place back in 2016. When the former Walter Energy went bankrupt and was purchased by hedge funds, the company was renamed Warrior Met Coal. 

When Warrior Met Coal took over the mines, they attempted to intimidate workers by asserting that they would only recognize the union (the United Mine Workers of America) if the workers were willing to make sacrifices in the name of the company.

By “sacrifices,” the new owners meant that they would cut hourly pay by $6, decimate healthcare benefits, and eliminate pensions in favor of 401k plans. They assured workers that when the time came to negotiate a new contract, conditions would be improved.

However, because the new owners failed to agree to the improvements they initially promised, mineworkers went on strike in April 2021. It has been more than five months and Warrior Met Coal employees are still holding out and fighting for the wages and benefits they’re entitled to.

Amazon Alabama Workers (2021)

Alabama is no stranger to labor struggles, and the corporate giant Amazon is no stranger to fighting unionization.

Just this year, Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer held a vote for unionization, after a long organizing process, which eventually fell short with only 30% votes in favor. The drive was led by the Retail, Wholesale, And Department Store Union, who intends to challenge the outcome of the vote. This challenge is being formulated with the support of statements claiming that Amazon broke the law both before and during the vote, which negatively influenced its outcome against the unionization drive. 

Amazon’s anti-union tactics may seem like it has been successful this round, but according to NPR, warehouse workers may have a second chance to vote on the issue.

Obviously, taking on a mega-corporation like Amazon was always going to be an uphill fight, and it did not go the way workers would have hoped. But the bravery and dedication of these warehouse workers has laid the groundwork for future attempts to unionize the behemoth that is Amazon and its warehouses. This is not over yet. 

General Motors Strike (2019)

Looking a little further back: In September of 2019, more than 50,000 hourly workers at GM went on strike in pursuit of a better labor contract. Lasting six weeks, it was the longest nationwide walkout in the auto industry within the past 50 years.

Part of the new labor agreement promised $11,000 signing bonuses to new workers, as well as ensuring that veteran workers would receive a 6% increase to their wages during the life of the contract (four years). In addition, the new labor contract made it so temporary workers could be more easily hired for permanent positions and reduced out-of-pocket healthcare expenses. These are big wins. 

There were positives and negatives associated with the new agreement, however, as three GM plants the union hoped to save were closed. Most of the former workers at those plants found jobs at nearby GM plants, but many of those new positions required relocation. It’s a reminder that even when we win some ground, there’s a lot more to do.

Charter Communications Strike (2017 – Present)

The Charter Communications strike has been the longest labor strike in US history. What started back in March of 2017 proceeded long into the days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The incidents leading up to this record-breaking strike occurred when the Spectrum company acquired Time Warner Cable and began trying to make changes to employee health and retirement benefits. Obviously, those changes would have impacted workers negatively.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers objected to the idea, and the workers went on strike.

This strike has held out for four long years, and workers are far from giving in. In fact, according to ArsTechnica, “Charter Communications employees who have been on strike since 2017 are building an Internet service provider in New York City called “People’s Choice.” People’s Choice is even an employee-owned cooperative. Here’s what they say on their site:

People’s Choice Communications is an employee-owned social enterprise launched by members of IBEW Local #3 to bridge the digital divide and help our neighbors get connected to the Internet during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are the workers who built a large part of New York City’s Internet infrastructure in the first place. We built out Spectrum’s cable system, until in 2017, the company pushed us out on strike by taking away our healthcare, retirement, and other benefits… At a certain point, we realized that we weren’t the only ones who had a problem with Spectrum. Most New Yorkers are unhappy with the high prices and low-quality service of their Internet Service Provider. And those are the people who have service. According to the Comptroller’s Office, over 2.2 million New Yorkers don’t have high-speed broadband at home because they can’t afford it. This “digital divide” was a problem before the pandemic, during COVID-19 lack of Internet access became a matter of survival.

We decided to see what we could do to help.

Talk about worker innovation! 

TESLA Unionization (2019)

Tesla’s owner (and though we joke – this should NOT to be confused with TESA), Elon Musk, has a history of flaunting his anti-union views. And so in 2019, an administrative judge ruled that the Tesla company violated California labor laws on twelve separate occasions. These violations included: 

  • banning workers from displaying pro-union sentiment with shirts and buttons
  • interrogating union promoters (which included firing one organizer) 
  • allowing security guards to harass workers for distributing union pamphlets

As a result, Tesla was ordered to rehire the union organizer they fired and pay him for lost wages. In addition, Musk was ordered to inform his employees that they have the right to unionize. He was also ordered to delete the anti-union tweets he posted in 2018. Tesla appealed the ruling and the case was seen by a judge who ruled similarly to the 2019 ruling.

At this time, Tesla workers are not unionized, though it seems it could be a matter of time.

***

With the way that current events are unfolding, labor struggles are unlikely to fade in the near future. However, thanks to the internet and social media, recent labor struggles are being noticed and supported around the world. People are finding new ways to show solidarity with the workers who are pushing for better conditions, pay, and benefits in industries and companies that have traditionally lacked labor power. This includes Starbucks workers in Buffalo who are aiming to become the first unionized Starbucks workers in the country. These Starbucks workers have been at least partially inspired by the union organizing efforts of Colectivo Coffee workers, who successfully overcame employer resistance to become “the largest unionized coffee chain in the U.S.”

More eyes are on worker strikes and labor struggles than ever before, and slowly, the working class is taking power back from corporations. Solidarity forever. 

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Feeling, Grieving and Organizing

I’ve been thinking about the essential role that grieving plays in our grassroots organizing and movement building work. With the death of family members during covid, the death and transformation of our ecosystem around us, I’ve had an intimate relationship with death and dying.

We’re all losing something, We’ve all lost something and we’re all losing something right now…and in my work as an organizer, artist and yoga teacher I really want to invite people to turn towards that so you can heal. Because, there is so much we’ve denied and patterns continue to persist.

To be Black, Indigenous or a member of any oppressed class in America is to know traumatic loss. As humans, we are hardwired for the fact that death is a natural part of life. While loss is deeply uncomfortable, we can learn to adapt to the natural phenomenon of loss. But when structural inequalities produce major and secondary losses, leading to widespread collective grief, death is out of balance with life. Individual and collective, repeated and generational, traumatic loss stacked on top of existing natural loss. We must tear down the systems, institutions and narratives that engineer death, fuel it and simultaneously distract us from it. This essential rebalancing act is at the heart of social justice movements.

Because death belongs; it’s not the burden. Death is a natural part of every life cycle. Our bodies will die. Our organizations will die. Our movements will die. Likewise, the specific conditions that oppress our families and communities will also come to an end. Endings are not to blame. Loss is simply an element of change. Change is the heartbeat of social movement. But, on either side of change is loss. Reimagining the world requires that we release the parts of the system and ways of being that are ready to die, and mourn the destructive losses that we could not control, despite our best efforts.

What becomes possible when movements are brought more healthfully to grief, and what can we do to support leaders, organizations and movements to get there?

Cheryl Espinosa-Jones, a grief counselor, author and the host of the Good Grief podcast offers 4 steps for moving through grief, which I interprete as an offering not only for individuals and leaders but also for organizations and social movements as a whole.

Step 1: Feel the loss fully. Espinosa-Jones makes it plain: ​“Grief knows what it’s doing.” Grief is wise and ancient and knows what to do. When we deny or ignore grief’s processes, it can lead to apathy, addiction and unhealthy forms of anger.

Yet, for centuries, systems of racial, economic and gender hierarchy have disenfranchised the grief of people of color, women, children, disabled people, queer and trans communities, and the poor. Dominant narratives about grief have turned gaslighting into the cultural norm we’re all immersed in, convincing us that it is safer to deny grief than to feel it.

At every turn, we are persuaded that grief is a wild, unacceptable emotion that must be handled, managed, overwritten and hidden. We are pressured by political and even physical force to prioritize productivity over personal well-being, to seek “a longer, eternal life” over embodied presence, even as we live through the most traumatic losses.

For each BIPOC life taken by police or interpersonal violence, how many spouses, siblings, children or parents had sufficient bereavement leave? What would happen if BIPOC communities were to fully embody the losses of land, culture and freedom emerging from white supermacist, colonial realities? Would agency or apathy be the result if immigrant communities could steep in the loss of land, language and family? Would Indigenous communities across the globe have more or fewer negative health outcomes if there were space to feel and then transform the grief of genocide? As we seek to breathe a new world into being, being an effective organizer demands the right and power to feel our losses rather than escape them. We must give our grieving bodies what they need, individually and collectively.

Stop conflating health and productivity. Stop giving positive feedback when staff immediately return to work, appear less emotional or don’t ask for appropriate accommodations following a major loss. The systems of inequality we seek to transform reject what Espinosa-Jones calls ​“a relational culture.” Meaning: a culture of noticing and acknowledgment. Violently enforced inequality makes truth, reconciliation, reparations and accountability impossible. Becoming aware of grief gives us more choices about how to respond to grief and opens up possibilities to approach grief not only with compassion for self and others.

Step 2: Seek solace and comfort. As we expand a broad awareness of grief, we learn to approach our own grief and the grief of others without judgment. We practice the art of accompaniment without projecting any part of ourselves out. Denying grief denies humanity. Yet, becoming aware of one’s own grief, reaching out for professional or peer support, and owning your grief journey can open your awareness until you see grief you didn’t even realize was there.

During times of massive collective loss, let us rebuke apathy by reimagining social justice organizations and formations as vehicles to metabolize and transform grief into agency. This requires resilient infrastructure and embodied methodology. Resilient infrastructure may include creating special funds and referral lists that support staff healing; offering extended bereavement leave policies; cross-training staff to increase organizational redundancy; and supporting staff boundaries. At the end of the day, the question is whether your leaders and staff have the skills to recognize grief and the resources to respond when it appears.

Step 3: Find inspiration. In the civil rights and Third World Liberation movements of the 1960s, organizations, campaigns and young people used song, poetry and other art forms to support the transformation of grief into a wise protagonism and active agency. Art in all its forms allows grief to reveal us, gives sorrow words, deepens our gratitude with grief’s weight and reminds each of us that only those who grieve profoundly can love deeply — and from loving one another, we grow our agape love for the world.

Step 4: Take action from this place of grounded grief. In our conversation, Espinosa-Jones reminded me that an individual’s psychology can heal by finding the courses of action that match one’s felt need— but there are no skipped steps. Sitting with discomfort is always first, followed by connection and inspiration — but at the end of the day, we need action to metabolize grief and transform our material and cultural conditions. Metabolized grief can power deep and lasting change infused with profound joy, while unmetabolized grief becomes an almost insurmountable barrier to it.

Something is dying, and we are desperate for something new to be born. We can feel it, quivering with hope at the edge of a century. It is a firecracker dancing across a night sky. Here. Now. Grounded grief is a vaccine against the morbid conditions bred by white supremacy, a patriarchy that has distorted our families and relationships, a concentration of wealth that has disconnected us from nature and directed everything brilliant and beautiful to profit. Only through the compassion and loneliness and love inherent in grief can we forge a world out of the fire that will not replicate ancient hierarchies.

To have a movement that heals us, we must build a movement with the capacity to grieve.

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🎉🎉 WE DID IT! Our Immigration Bills are Now Law in CO! // ¡LO HICIMOS! ¡Nuestros proyectos de ley ahora son ley en CO! 🎉🎉

*** seguido en español ***

Governor Polis Signs 4 Pro-Immigrant Bills into Law in a Watershed Year for Immigration Justice

Critical new laws include SB-131, which protects data immigrants entrust to state and local agencies from being unjustly exposed to ICE; and HB-1194, which creates a statewide legal defense fund for immigrants in deportation proceedings.

We are incredibly excited to announce that CIRC’s legislative campaign bills were signed by Governor Polis on Friday and are now law in Colorado! CIRC’s bills were among 11 pro-immigrant bills that have been signed into law this legislative session, making this one of the most historic years for immigrant rights in our state’s history.

Governor Polis signed 4 bills protecting immigrant rights in Colorado, on issues ranging from safe contraceptive access to increased protections for farmworkers. Lisa Duran, Executive Director of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, says that after years of increasingly vicious anti-immigrant rhetoric and policy on a national level, these state victories feel like a welcome change in political tides from the ground up. “First and foremost, these bills are the victories of the community members who demanded them, who organized for them, and who shared their testimony with the legislature,” she says. “Colorado’s immigrant community made their voices heard this legislative session, and their representatives listened. We are proud to live in a Colorado that is more welcoming and just to immigrants than ever before.”

The following bills became Colorado law on June 25th:

HB-1194: An immigration legal defense fund will expand the availability of free legal services and representation to low-income individuals in immigration proceedings, with a priority on those in immigration detention and those experiencing deportation in rural areas of the state. The Office of New Americans will award grants through this fund to nonprofit organizations in Colorado to provide this free legal advice, counseling, and representation.

Mekela Goehring, Executive Director, Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN):

“We believe that every single person deserves an attorney by their side as they navigate complicated and high-stakes immigration court proceedings. Today, with the signing of HB21-1194, Colorado shows it is a true leader in the movement for universal representation, as one of the first states in the nation to create a state-wide immigrant legal defense fund. Through the powerful leadership of our immigrant community members, advocates, and elected representatives, Colorado is one step closer to being able to say that every single person ensnared in immigration enforcement proceedings who cannot afford an attorney will have one provided for them, and that justice truly is accessible to all. Creating a statewide Legal Defense Fund is a great move to improve an inequitable system currently failing to provide legal representation for those facing deportation. Access to legal services makes for a tenfold better chance at winning a case. Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning commends Colorado legislators for taking this vital step supporting people seeking to rebuild their lives in the U.S.”

For more information on this bill, please contact: ian@coloradoimmigrant.org

SB-131: To ensure the data privacy of applicants to state programs and services, including drivers licenses, state agencies cannot disclose personal identifying information for the purpose of immigration enforcement, unless required by law or a court-issued subpoena, warrant, or order. State agencies must obtain certifications before providing access to shared databases, must limit collection of information on immigration status to that which is necessary, and must submit regular reports to ensure their compliance with the new law.

Henry Gomez from Grupo Esperanza in Colorado Springs worked for over two years to fight for data privacy protections as part of I Drive Colorado and the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition: “We want to thank Senator Gonzales and Representative Gonzalez-Gutierrez for championing this important bill to ensure that ICE can’t access our data for immigration. In January 2022, when these protections become permanent, everyone should feel safe applying for a Colorado license or ID. Thanks to the Senator and Representative who worked with our communities and the governor’s office to protect our right to data privacy, Colorado will become a safer and more welcoming state for all.”

For more information on this bill, contact siena@coloradoimmigrant.org

HB-1150: A Colorado Office of New Americans will create a much-needed structure for state agencies to work collaboratively to promote the successful economic, social, linguistic, and cultural integration of immigrants in Colorado. The office will be a driver of state-wide integration efforts and will provide Colorado with a comprehensive plan for achieving the successful integration of immigrants while uplifting Coloradans’ newest neighbors and ensure that they, and the organizations that serve them, are equipped to succeed.

Jennifer Wilson, Executive Director at the International Rescue Committee in Denver:

“As an organization that serves refugees fleeing war and violence, Special Immigrant Visa recipients rebuilding their lives in our community, asylum seekers and asylees seeking safety, and survivors of torture regaining control of their lives, the International Rescue Committee in Denver applauds the signing of HB21-1150.

A Colorado Office of New Americans is vital to our state’s commitment to being a more inclusive state that benefits all Coloradans. We see the obstacles immigrants face and the need for more and better coordination among state agencies, offices, departments, the immigrant community, and the community-based organizations serving them. As a community-based organization, the work we do to help immigrants navigate systems, find employment, become self-sufficient, participate in decisions that impact them, and integrate into their new community does not happen in isolation. It takes the whole community.”

For more information about this bill, contact victoria.francis@rescue.org

SB-199: In order to create equity in opportunities, effective July 1, 2022, lawful presence will no longer be a requirement for some state and local public benefits, where permitted under federal law. This expands access beyond what becomes available under SB 21-077 and HB 21-1054.

Lorena Garcia, Removing Barriers Coalition:

Between 2016 and 2020 more than 16 cities and counties across the state passed resolutions in support of immigrant communities. Now municipal leaders and administrators will have the opportunity to better serve their residents and grow their local economies. We look forward to working closely with state and municipal leaders for implementation. Families and communities across the state are grateful that our state leaders continue to work together to remove barriers for Colorado immigrant families.”


In addition to the above bills, advocates, lawmakers and community members will celebrate the passage of several other key pro-immigrant bills that passed this session, including:

SB-009: Through the creation of a new program, Coloradans without documentation, will have access to contraception and counseling services through Medicaid so that they may plan what is best for themselves and their families.

Katherine Riley, Policy Manager at Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR):

“COLOR led a dynamic campaign and secured the passage of Senate Bill 9, which creates aReproductive Health Care Program that provides contraception to undocumented folks through state Medicaid. It also allows anyone who uses Medicaid to get a one-year supply of contraception at a time, in order to reduce barriers. By advancing Senate Bill 9, we are saying no more. We will not turn away from undocumented people in our state. We will do more to ensure that every Coloradan has basic rights and that we are committed to improving the health of our communities – not just those with means or a certain piece of paper.”

SB-87: This bill creates expanded Agricultural Workers’ Rights, regardless of someone’s immigration status, by bringing agricultural workers under the same protections many other workers enjoy – minimum wage guarantees and overtime pay, meal and rest breaks, the right to organize, have visitors at employee housing, and access overwork and health protections.

Nicole Civita, Project Protect Food Systems:

“SB 87 is notable not only for what it does — guaranteeing rights and protections for ag workers in Colorado — but for how it does this. While other states offer an array of protections, Colorado is the first to make such a comprehensive state shift in how it treats its agricultural workers. This legislation also begins a change in the racist and discriminatory system built upon the backs of Black and brown people — and there has never been a time in our nation’s history when agricultural workers were treated with the dignity and respect they deserve as humans, let alone with the rewards they deserve for performing demanding and truly essential work.”

HB-1057: Current law states that it is criminal to threaten to report another person’s immigration status in order to steal money or valuables. This adds that it is criminal to threaten to report someone’s immigration status in order to make someone do something (or not do something). This bill will cover circumstances such as wage theft by employers and domestic violence situations where a victim is threatened by an abuser to not call the police for fear of the abuser reporting to immigration officials.

District Attorney Michael Dougherty, Boulder County District Attorney’s Office:

“We are proud to have helped draft this bill and assist in being a driving force on this bill. This new law is directly in line with our office’s priority on community safety, as well as immigrant protection. Further, it is consistent with the focus that this office has placed on our U-Visa program, the passage of the bill to increase penalties for wage theft in 2019, and the protection of our vulnerable populations. This law is a great step for Colorado in protecting our immigrant population.”

SB-233: Many immigrants without lawful presence are ineligible for unemployment assistance due solely to their immigration status. This bill facilitates a study to help understand what inclusion in unemployment benefits for undocumented Coloradans could look like in our state.

Cristina Lopez, Colorado People’s Alliance:

“I love sharing with our immigrant community this great achievement that could provide relief to taxpaying working people who have been excluded from benefits for not having a social security number not only during but long before COVID-19. We hope SB21-233 is the first step to permanent relief for our communities.”

—-

HB-1060: The “U visa” provides a pathway under federal immigration law towards lawful permanent residency for immigrant victims of certain crimes. Eligible applicants must have a certification form from law enforcement stating that the person has been a victim and is or has been helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. This bill will ensure that all law enforcement agencies complete the certification within a specific timeline, and it also outlines factors that can be considered, protects personal information from immigration authorities, and ensures law enforcement tells victims about the U visa.

Georgina Olazcon Mozo,Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN):

“The passage of HB-1060 ensures greater safety in our communities because immigrant survivors of crime do not have to live in fear that there will be negative immigration consequences if they report crimes. This bill provides immigrant survivors in our communities an equal opportunity to apply for a U visa regardless of where they live in Colorado. It tells immigrant survivors that, after having lived through horrible experiences, they could finally find the light at the end of the tunnel.”

For more information about this bill, contact golazconmozo@rmian.org

HB-1054: This bill ensures that those without lawful presence in the United States can access state and local housing assistance. While some housing programs may have federal eligibility requirements that require certain types of immigration status, undocumented individuals and families will have increased access to housing stability resources.

SB-077: Immigration status will no longer be an eligibility requirement for state and local licenses, certificates or registration. Examples of this include occupational licenses, like Certified Nursing Assistants, or municipal business licenses. This change affects all Coloradans without lawful presence, including those with work authorization such as DACA recipients.

¡Estamos increíblemente emocionados de anunciar que los proyectos de ley de la campaña legislativa de CIRC fueron firmados por el gobernador Polis el viernes y ahora son ley en Colorado! CIRC’s proyectos de ley se encuentran entre los 11 proyectos de ley a favor de los inmigrantes que se han convertido en ley en esta sesión legislativa, lo que convierte a este en uno de los años más históricos para los derechos de los inmigrantes en la historia de nuestro estado.

El gobernador Polis promulga 4 proyectos de ley a favor de los inmigrantes en un año decisivo para la justicia migratoria

Las nuevas leyes críticas incluyen SB-131, que protege los datos que los inmigrantes confían a agencias estatales y locales de ser expuestos injustamente a ICE; y HB-1194, que crea un fondo de defensa legal a nivel estatal para inmigrantes en proceso de deportación.

El gobernador Polis firmó 4 proyectos de ley que protegen los derechos de los inmigrantes en Colorado, sobre temas que van desde el acceso seguro a anticonceptivos hasta una mayor protección para los trabajadores agrícolas. Lisa Duran, Directora Ejecutiva de la Coalición por los Derechos de los Inmigrantes de Colorado, dice que después de años de retórica y políticas antiinmigrantes cada vez más viciosas a nivel nacional, estas victorias estatales se sienten como un cambio bienvenido. “En primer lugar, estos proyectos de ley son las victorias de los miembros de la comunidad que los demandaron, que se organizaron para ellos y que compartieron su testimonio con la legislatura”, ella dice, “La comunidad de inmigrantes de Colorado hizo que sus voces se escucharan en esta sesión legislativa y sus representantes escucharon. Estamos orgullosos de vivir en un Colorado que es más acogedor y justo para los inmigrantes.”

Los siguientes proyectos de ley se convirtieron en ley de Colorado el 25 de junio:

HB-1194: Un fondo de defensa legal de inmigración ampliará la disponibilidad de servicios legales gratuitos y representación para personas de bajos ingresos en procedimientos de inmigración, con prioridad en aquellos que están detenidos por inmigrantes y aquellos que están siendo deportados en áreas rurales del estado. La Oficina de Nuevos Estadounidenses otorgará subvenciones a través de este fondo a organizaciones sin fines de lucro en Colorado para brindar este asesoramiento legal y representación gratuitos.
Mekela Goehring, Directora Ejecutiva, Rocky Mountain  Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN):“Creemos que cada persona merece un abogado a su lado mientras navega por procedimientos judiciales de inmigración complicados y de gran importancia. Hoy, con la firma de HB21-1194, Colorado demuestra que es un verdadero líder en el movimiento por la representación universal, como uno de los primeros estados de la nación en crear un fondo de defensa legal para inmigrantes en todo el estado. A través del poderoso liderazgo de los miembros de nuestra comunidad de inmigrantes, defensores y representantes electos, Colorado está un paso más cerca de poder decir que a cada persona atrapada en los procedimientos de cumplimiento de la ley de inmigración que no pueden pagar un abogado se le proporcionará uno, y que la justicia verdaderamente es accesible para todos. La creación de un Fondo de Defensa Legal en todo el estado es un gran paso para mejorar un sistema inequitativo que actualmente no brinda representación legal a quienes enfrentan la deportación. El acceso a los servicios legales ofrece diez veces más posibilidades de ganar un caso. Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning elogia a los legisladores de Colorado por dar este paso vital para apoyar a las personas que buscan reconstruir sus vidas en los EE. UU. “
Para obtener más información sobre este proyecto de ley, comuníquese con: ian@coloradoimmigrant.org

SB-131: Para garantizar la privacidad de los datos de los solicitantes de programas y servicios estatales, incluidas las licencias de conducir, las agencias estatales no pueden divulgar información de identificación personal con el propósito de hacer cumplir la ley de inmigración, a menos que lo exija la ley o una citación, orden judicial u orden emitida por un tribunal. . Las agencias estatales deben obtener certificaciones antes de brindar acceso a bases de datos compartidas, deben limitar la recopilación de información sobre el estado migratorio a lo que sea necesario y deben presentar informes periódicos para garantizar su cumplimiento con la nueva ley.
Henry Gomez de Grupo Esperanza en Colorado Springs trabajó durante más de dos años para luchar por la protección de la privacidad de los datos como parte de I Drive Colorado y la Coalición de Derechos de los Inmigrantes de Colorado: “Queremos agradecer al Senador González y al Representante González-Gutiérrez por defender este importante proyecto de ley para asegurarse de que ICE no pueda acceder a nuestros datos de inmigración. En enero de 2022, cuando estas protecciones se vuelvan permanentes, todos deberían sentirse seguros al solicitar una licencia o identificación de Colorado. Gracias al Senador y Representante que trabajaron con nuestras comunidades y la oficina del gobernador para proteger nuestro derecho a la privacidad de los datos, Colorado se convertirá en un estado más seguro y acogedor para todos ”.
Para obtener más información sobre este proyecto de ley, comuníquese con siena@coloradoimmigrant.orgHB-1150: Una Oficina de Nuevos Estadounidenses de Colorado creará una estructura muy necesaria para que las agencias estatales trabajen en colaboración para promover la integración económica, social, lingüística y cultural exitosa de los inmigrantes en Colorado. La oficina será un impulsor de los esfuerzos de integración en todo el estado y proporcionará a Colorado un plan integral para lograr la integración exitosa de los inmigrantes, al mismo tiempo que eleva a los vecinos más nuevos de Colorado y se asegura de que ellos y las organizaciones que los atienden estén equipados para tener éxito.
Jennifer Wilson, directora ejecutiva del Comité Internacional de Rescate en Denver:“Como una organización que sirve a los refugiados que huyen de la guerra y la violencia, los beneficiarios de visas especiales de inmigrante que reconstruyen sus vidas en nuestra comunidad, los solicitantes de asilo y los asilados que buscan seguridad y los sobrevivientes de la tortura recuperan el control de sus vidas, el Comité Internacional de Rescate en Denver aplaude la firma de HB21-1150.
Una Oficina de Colorado para Nuevos Estadounidenses es vital para el compromiso de nuestro estado de ser un estado más inclusivo que beneficie a todos los habitantes de Colorado. Vemos los obstáculos que enfrentan los inmigrantes y la necesidad de una mayor y mejor coordinación entre las agencias estatales, oficinas, departamentos, la comunidad de inmigrantes y las organizaciones comunitarias que los atienden. Como organización comunitaria, el trabajo que hacemos para ayudar a los inmigrantes a navegar por los sistemas, encontrar empleo, volverse autosuficientes, participar en decisiones que los impactan e integrarse en su nueva comunidad no ocurre de forma aislada. Se necesita toda la comunidad.”Para obtener más información sobre este proyecto de ley, comuníquese con victoria.francis@rescue.org

SB-199: Con el fin de crear equidad en las oportunidades, a partir del 1 de julio de 2022, la presencia legal ya no será un requisito para algunos beneficios públicos estatales y locales, donde lo permita la ley federal. Esto amplía el acceso más allá de lo que está disponible bajo SB 21-077 y HB 21-1054.
Lorena García, Coalición Eliminando Barreras:“Entre 2016 y 2020, más de 16 ciudades y condados de todo el estado aprobaron resoluciones en apoyo de las comunidades de inmigrantes. Ahora los líderes y administradores municipales tendrán la oportunidad de servir mejor a sus residentes y hacer crecer sus economías locales. Esperamos trabajar en estrecha colaboración con los líderes estatales y municipales para la implementación. Las familias y comunidades de todo el estado están agradecidas de que nuestros líderes estatales continúen trabajando juntos para eliminar las barreras para las familias inmigrantes de Colorado.”


Además de los proyectos de ley anteriores, los defensores, los legisladores y los miembros de la comunidad celebrarán la aprobación de varios otros proyectos de ley importantes a favor de los inmigrantes que se aprobaron en esta sesión, que incluyen:
SB-009: Mediante la creación de un nuevo programa, los residentes de Colorado sin documentación tendrán acceso a servicios de anticoncepción y asesoramiento a través de Medicaid para que puedan planificar lo mejor para ellos y sus familias.
Katherine Riley, Gerente de Políticas de la Organización de Colorado para las Oportunidades y los Derechos Reproductivos de las Latinas (COLOR):“COLOR lideró una campaña dinámica y aseguró la aprobación del Proyecto de Ley 9 del Senado, que crea un Programa de Atención de la Salud Reproductiva que proporciona anticoncepción a personas indocumentadas a través de Medicaid estatal. También permite que cualquier persona que use Medicaid obtenga un suministro de anticonceptivos para un año a la vez, a fin de reducir las barreras. Al promover el Proyecto de Ley del Senado 9, estamos diciendo “no más”. No le daremos la espalda a las personas indocumentadas en nuestro estado. Haremos más para garantizar que todos los habitantes de Colorado tengan derechos básicos y que estemos comprometidos con la mejora de la salud de nuestras comunidades, no solo de aquellas con medios o con un determinado papel.”

SB-87: Este proyecto de ley crea los Derechos de los Trabajadores Agrícolas ampliados, independientemente del estado migratorio de alguien, al poner a los trabajadores agrícolas bajo las mismas protecciones de las que disfrutan muchos otros trabajadores: garantías de salario mínimo y pago de horas extras, pausas para comer y descansar, el derecho a organizarse, tienen visitantes en la vivienda de los empleados, y acceso al exceso de trabajo y protecciones de salud.

Nicole Civita, Project Protect Food Systems“La SB-87 se destaca no solo por lo que hace – garantizar derechos y protecciones para los trabajadores agrícolas en Colorado – sino por cómo lo hace. Mientras que otros estados ofrecen una variedad de protecciones, Colorado es el primero en hacer un cambio estatal tan completo en la forma en que trata a sus trabajadores agrícolas. Esta legislación también inicia un cambio en el sistema racista y discriminatorio construido sobre las espaldas de las personas negras y morenas, y nunca ha habido un momento en la historia de nuestra nación en que los trabajadores agrícolas fueran tratados con la dignidad y el respeto que merecen como seres humanos. solos con las recompensas que merecen por realizar un trabajo exigente y verdaderamente esencial.”

HB-1057: La ley actual establece que es un delito amenazar con denunciar el estado migratorio de otra persona para robar dinero u objetos de valor. Esto agrega que es criminal amenazar con reportar el estado migratorio de alguien para obligar a alguien a hacer algo (o no hacer algo). Este proyecto de ley cubrirá circunstancias como el robo de salarios por parte de los empleadores y situaciones de violencia doméstica en las que un abusador amenaza a la víctima para que no llame a la policía por temor a que el abusador informe a los funcionarios de inmigración.
Fiscal de distrito Michael Dougherty, Fiscalía de distrito del condado de Boulder:“Estamos orgullosos de haber ayudado a redactar este proyecto de ley y de ser una fuerza impulsora de este proyecto de ley. Esta nueva ley está directamente en línea con la prioridad de nuestra oficina sobre la seguridad de la comunidad, así como la protección de los inmigrantes. Además, es consistente con el enfoque que esta oficina ha puesto en nuestro programa de U-Visa la aprobación del proyecto de ley para aumentar las sanciones por robo de salario en 2019 y la protección de nuestras poblaciones vulnerables. Esta ley es un gran paso para Colorado en la protección de nuestra población inmigrante.”

SB-233: Muchos inmigrantes sin presencia legal no son elegibles para recibir asistencia por desempleo debido únicamente a su estatus migratorio. Este proyecto de ley facilita un estudio para ayudar a comprender cómo podría ser la inclusión en los beneficios de desempleo para los residentes de Colorado indocumentados en nuestro estado.Cristina Lopez, Colorado People’s Alliance:
“Me encanta compartir con nuestra comunidad de inmigrantes este gran logro que podría brindar alivio a los trabajadores que pagan impuestos y que han sido excluidos de los beneficios por no tener un número de seguro social no solo durante sino mucho antes del COVID-19. Esperamos que SB21-233 sea el primer paso para un alivio permanente para nuestras comunidades.”

HB-1060: La “U-Visa” proporciona un camino bajo la ley federal de inmigración hacia la residencia permanente legal para inmigrantes víctimas de ciertos delitos. Los solicitantes elegibles deben tener un formulario de certificación de la policía que indique que la persona ha sido una víctima y ha sido útil en la investigación o enjuiciamiento del delito. Este proyecto de ley asegurará que todas las agencias de aplicación de la ley completen la certificación dentro de un plazo específico, y también describe los factores que se pueden considerar, protege la información personal de las autoridades de inmigración y garantiza que la aplicación de la ley informe a las víctimas sobre la U-visa.
Georgina Olazcon Mozo, Red de Defensa de los Inmigrantes de las Montañas Rocosas (RMIAN):“La aprobación de HB-1060 garantiza una mayor seguridad en nuestras comunidades porque los inmigrantes sobrevivientes de delitos no tienen que vivir con el temor de que haya consecuencias migratorias negativas si denuncian delitos. Este proyecto de ley brinda a los inmigrantes sobrevivientes en nuestras comunidades la misma oportunidad de solicitar una U-visa independientemente de dónde vivan en Colorado. Les dice a los inmigrantes sobrevivientes que, después de haber vivido experiencias horribles, finalmente pudieron encontrar la luz al final del túnel.”

Para obtener más información sobre este proyecto de ley, comuníquese con golazconmozo@rmian.org

—HB-1054: Este proyecto de ley garantiza que las personas sin presencia legal en los Estados Unidos puedan acceder a la asistencia de vivienda local y estatal. Si bien algunos programas de vivienda pueden tener requisitos de elegibilidad federales que requieren ciertos tipos de estatus migratorio, las personas y familias indocumentadas tendrán un mayor acceso a los recursos de estabilidad de la vivienda.

—SB-077: El estado de inmigración ya no será un requisito de elegibilidad para licencias, certificados o registros estatales y locales. Ejemplos de esto incluyen licencias ocupacionales, como asistentes de enfermería certificados o licencias comerciales municipales. Este cambio afecta a todos los residentes de Colorado sin presencia legal, incluidos aquellos con autorización de trabajo, como los beneficiarios de DACA.

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Pride Month & Resisting Corporate Take Over

In case you haven’t noticed, the corporate take-over of #PrideMonth has begun. 

As the general support for LGBTQ rights grows, so does the corporate incentive for brands and companies to position themselves in sync with that growing sentiment. 

In that commercialization lies the disconnect: Brands promoting gay pride are not consistent in actually supporting the rights of the LGBTQ community, but they do manage to capitalize on the growing number of people (aka consumers) wanting to show support and solidarity.

But in reality, all this commercialized support is ultimately utterly empty and harmful.

The commercialization of Pride Month has blurred and simplified the ways to actually support LGBTQ folks. A first step has to be looking past the easy-to-sell concept of rainbow awareness’.

Updating your log to display a rainbow flag ain’t awareness if that is where your support ends!

It is our job to show solidarity not only during Pride Month, but all year long. Supporting organizations that are queer-led such as FCCAN and Fuerza Latina is one place to start.

Here are just a few other queer led healing spaces & movement building spaces we encourage you to support with whatever resources you may have (time, money, spreading the word on social media, etc) :

Colectivo Intercultural TRANSgrediendo

Queer Healers Directory

Queer the Land

NoCo Splash

Survived & Punished

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Reflections on ancestors, whiteness and environmental justice

by Sam Murray

With my time as an intern for FCCAN coming to an end, I’ve been reflecting on the many experiences and lessons learned this past year. While 2020 was a difficult year for me, as it was for almost everyone, it was also a year of reconnection where I set out to understand who I am in relation to my family and family’s past. It’s bittersweet to know that I am leaving by the end of the summer, having finally formed a connection with this place after living within the insulated bubble of CSU for three years. However, I have so much gratitude for the people I have met and the stories of my family and ancestors that I have uncovered and brought to light. I started my internship with a focus on environmental justice (EJ), spending time with both the Environmental Justice Working Group and the Center for Environmental Justice (CEJ) at CSU. Spending so much of my time researching environmental injustices, brought to mind the proximity that I have to EJ.


I was born to young and poor parents struggling to make it by in rural Kansas. My family moved to Colorado when I was ten, in hopes of a more promising future. Similar to my parents, both my paternal and maternal great grandparents came to the Great Plains in search of opportunity and to escape famine, assimilation, and displacement. My mother is Swedish and Volga German and, from what my Father knows, he is of Irish and Volga German descent. Both families were able to take advantage of the Homestead Act, acquiring stolen land to settle and farm in Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota. While digging through my family history I Iearned that my Great Grandfather wanted to immigrate to America because of the shortage of food in Gotland, Sweden. Similarly, my Volga German family came to the States during the turn of the century, escaping famine and the growing anti-German sentiment from the Russian monarchy.

The farm that my dad grew up on


While the Volga Germans were facing increasing conflict, and by the 1920’s would be subjected to genocide, they settled land that lived on by Indigenous peoples. The Russian monarchy had been trying to “civilize” the Volga region and failed multiple times. The Manifesto that brought ethnic Germans and Ukrainian to this region was just another strategy to infringe on the autonomy of the Chuvash, Bashkirs, Kalmyk, Kyrgyz, Mordvins, and Tatars. Similarly, Swedish people of Nordic descent have encroached and stolen traditional Sami land, forced assimilation policies, and instilled anti-Sami sentiment within their society.


While my great grandparents and their families sought refuge in the Great Plains, this opportunity came at a great cost and environmental injustices claimed the lives of most of them, leaving the small family I now have today. Most of my extended family and many of my immediate family have died from rare forms of cancer. Growing up in Kansas, in poor and rural areas, my Great grandparents and Grandparents had farmed wheat, corn, and worked in hog farms. Both my parents remember the green and pink pesticide clouds that would be sprayed over their houses. My Dad recounted that he would be playing outside when the planes would come, and my grandmother would be at the door screaming for him to run back to the house. He would often get stuck in the clouds. Similarly, he remembers the run-off lagoon at the hog farm and the horrifying smell in the air that he said, “stuck to my skin and clothes.”

Here is my mom’s family in Kansas during the dust bowl:


My paternal grandfather and his five siblings all died from cancer in reverse order, with
the youngest, Karen, dying first at the age of 47 from breast cancer. Considered “radical,” Karen
had the most liberal views for their nuclear and conservative family. Which is probably why no
one listened to her when she told everyone that she might have found evidence that their family
was exposed to toxic waste in the 60’s. With so many family members and relatives dying of
cancer, it quickly became normalized and by the time I had turned 12, I remember having gone
to more funerals than family gatherings. Now, as my parents go to check-ups, remove polyps,
and monitor what doctor’s call “high-risk genetics,” I fear that the environmental harms that
have pervaded my lineage will find its way back into our small family’s life again. Which
obviously is to say that it had never even left.


However, the environmental privilege that my living-immediate family holds, is the piece
of this story that I hope leaves with you as a reader.
Environmental justice issues are often
intentional and as a direct result of populations marked as “surplus” or “sacrificial”.
White settlers experiencing environmental injustices is not uncommon, for anyone can be impacted by EJ. However, white settlers, like my family, are often able to remove themselves from an environmental justice situation. Or they are able to leverage their privileges and bring to light the EJ issues that is impacting them–and sometimes even before it does impact them (i.e. DAPL was originally planned underneath Bismarck, ND). My family can serve as an example where they had enough generational wealth from allotted property, that many could afford medical expenses or move out of the area.


As I have tried to unpack my whiteness over the past four years at CSU, confronting my
familial and personal history with environmental justice has been foundational for me in
reconnecting with who I am.
However, as a white settler it is not enough to just know where I come from before my ancestors assimilated into American whiteness, nor how EJ has impacted me. It is essential to understand the environmental privilege that white settlers hold, despite how environmental harms have impacted them. While my family and ancestors directly perpetuated the genocide of Indigenous peoples by settling allotted land, this legacy unmistakably lives on today with me as I am implicated and participate in the ongoing structure of settler colonialism.


My journey to reconnect with my family’s past is continuous, and I realized that I have a great need to reconcile for not only the violence ensued onto my family and the land they were on, but the violence they have perpetuated and benefited from.

I believe there is deep significance in the identities I hold, the histories of my relatives, and the cancer and disease that has taken the lives of so many of my family members. I’m not sure what that significance is, but I hope to transform that significance into something meaningful. Reconnecting and reckoning will be a lifelong process. I hope that now that I am starting the process, I will find the answers and connections I am searching for. Until then, I am thankful for the family that I have, the family that I have chosen, and the friendships that ground me.

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