Miami Workers Center

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Miami Workers Center was founded in Liberty City in 1999 by former labor organizers Gihan Perera and Tony Romano and residents from the Liberty City neighborhood in Miami. Building on contacts from labor organizing Gihan and Tony decided to investigate how people were dealing with exploitation not just on the job but in the community.

The first grassroots council started by the Miami Workers Center was Minority Families Fighting Against Wages, Wages was the name given to welfare. MFFAW organized against welfare reform during the Clinton era, built community leaders, and engaged in political eduction.

MFFAW eventually became Low-Income Families Fighting Together, LIFFT. LIFFT was primarily based in Liberty Square aka Pork n' Beans and Scott Carver Homes, two public housing developments in Liberty City threatened with destruction. In 2001, MWC organizers and LIFFT leaders were able to stop the destruction or Pork n' Beans, but were not able to save Scott Carver Homes ending in the tearing down of all 850 units by the County. Over 7 years, we fought for the replacement of those housing units until 2007 when the county signed an agreement to rebuild the homes. Some of our members were still being relocated in 2013.

Since 2001, LIFFT members have worked in several other campaigns. Together they won compensation for slumlord residents, funding for in-home childcare workers, and defended the rights of public housing residents.

Throughout the years, several leaders in LIFFT made a name for themselves as voices for the community: Ms. Yvonne Stratford, Ms. Mary Nesbitt (RIP), Ms. Mary Wadley, and Ms. Erie Bendross. These leaders set an example for future leaders to follow.[1]

Recipient of Open Society Funding

Open Society Foundations Logo

Miami Workers Center received $100,000 over six months for the "Rapid Response to Hate" initiative, which "will provide emergency housing and legal and other services for low-income immigrant women" from the Open Society Foundation's Communities Against Hate initiative, which "supports organizations that are grappling with the spike in hate incidents in the United States over the last several months" as explained by a white paper dated June 22 2017.[2]

It continues:

"Our local grants, which range from $15,000 to $150,000, aim to support, protect, and empower those who are targets of hateful acts and rhetoric, and to bolster communities’ resilience and ability to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future. We are making grants on a rolling basis, and there are a few more in process. A complete list will be published on the Open Society Foundations website when all of the grants have been issued."

Right to the City

The Right to the City Alliance: Initiated by the Miami Workers Center, SAJE and Tenants and Workers United in 2007, the Right to the City Alliance brought together organizations from across the country that were organizing against gentrification in working class communities of color.

Miami Workers Center supporters

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Miami Workers Center - Tomorrow is #GiveMiamiDay! Now more than ever we need your contribution so we can keep working in 2017 to demand local policies that protect Miami's women, girls and femmes.

We need you! Starting tonight at midnight, please consider giving to the Miami Workers Center here: — with Nilu Choudhury, Tomas Kennedy, Cindy Wiesner, Julia Dawson, Serena Perez, Luisana Perez-Fernandez, Karla De Anda, Julia Daniel, Kathy Bird Carvajal, Gihan Perera, Hashim Benford, Marcia Olivo, Sarai Portillo, Camilo Mejia, Maria Rodriguez, Andrea Mercado, Daniela Saczek, Carla Hansack, Maria Asuncion Bilbao, Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, Trenise Bryant, Natalia Jaramillo, Viviana Ivalo, Miami Girls Foundation and Move to End Violence.

Statewide Alliance Group

From JoHanna Thompson writing on the Freedom Road Socialist Organization's website:

Despite his position on anti-BDS legislation, Gillum seemed like someone who comrades could work with in office.
Falling in line with the New Confederacy, DeSantis was less concerned with changing liberal minds than attacking liberal ideologies, making inaccurate associations of his opponent, and getting conservative voters to the polls.
One door hanger asked the question, “Does this sound familiar?” It depicted a picture of a street mural, by a local artist, of Andrew Gillum. Underneath the picture were the words, “Andrew Gillum: Another Big Government, Socialist Dictator” followed by three more street murals of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Fidel Castro, and Hugo Chavez. It boldly proclaimed, “Don’t let the socialists take over Florida! Republicans must vote, there’s too much at stake.”

On one hand, the door hanger was laughable, while on the other, it spoke to the intentional decision of grassroots organizations and a union to work collectively as Statewide Alliance Group. SWAG specifically consists of: The New Florida Majority, Dream Defenders, Organize Florida, Florida Immigrant Coalition, SEIU, Faith in Florida, and Central Florida Jobs with Justice.

The Dream Defenders (DD) took a deep dive in community to create an ideology reminiscent of the Black Panther Party Ten Point Program with seven freedoms. DD launched the #freedompapers, claiming #thisistheyear, focusing on building with community to target private prison corporations, like GEO Group, and transform the Florida political landscape.

Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC) along with Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) and United We Dream focused on immigrant rights and abolishing ICE. The New Florida Majority (NFM), SEIU, Faith in Florida, Jobs with Justice, and the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) Electoral Justice Project appealed to their vast membership bases.
In addition, the Miami Workers Center (MWC) centered the Movement for Black Women and Girls with Soul Sista’s. Power U Center for Social Change continues to inform youth. Community Justice Project (CJP) supported Poetry for the People’s, Maroon Poetry Festival, which amplified the Black Arts Movement and use of art in activism.
The age old social justice organizations such as NAACP, ACLU, Faith in Florida, PACT, and the likes, also joined the effort to get Amendment 4 passed. All used the same messaging in their conversations which advocated for a Yes Vote on Amendment 4. The strategy was to restore the rights of over 1.4 million voters as freedom voters.

It was a brilliant, coordinated strategy in alignment and consistent communication that is beginning to consolidate a united front against the New Confederacy in Florida.[3]

Board

As of 2015;[4]

Staff

As of 2015;[5]

FLIC and allies

Florida Immigrant Coalition April 21 2018:

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Powerful experience and powerful connections with members and guests from Farmworker Association of Florida, YAYA - National Farm Worker Ministry, Florida Student Power Network, QLatinx, UNITE HERE Central Florida, Central Florida AFL- CIO, We Are All America, Organize Florida, FL HeretoStay, SEIU Florida, WeCount, Coqui Language Collective, Palm Beach County Coalition for Immigrant Rights, Miami Workers Center, Florida KIDS COUNT and more! — with Aashutosh Pyakuryal, Curtis Hierro, Tomas Kennedy, Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez, Mike Thom, Mike V. Cocco, Denise Diaz and Tessa Petit in Apopka, Florida.

Grassroots Steering Committee

Elected leaders of Miami Workers Center's grassroots councils: LIFFT, MIA and Gender Justice

As of 2015;[6]

Grassroots Global Justice Alliance Coordinating Committee

Grassroots Global Justice Alliance Coordinating Committee, as of 2015;[7]

1ra Asamblea De Trabajadoras Del Hogar

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Miami Workers Center June 28, 2016 circulated an ad for 1ra Asamblea De Trabajadoras Del Hogar;

If you clean houses or do you babysit in South Florida, it's time to learn about your rights! Sign up for free at the 1ra Asamblea De Trabajadoras Del Hogar-1st Domestic Workers Assembly in Miami next Saturday 23th of July

T. Claudia Gonzalez, Ale Sau, Natalia Jaramillo, Patricia Sosa, GuadaLupita De La Cruz, Rosana Araujo, Paula Munoz, Amrry Gonzalez, Adrian Madriz, Maria Rodriguez, Isabel Vinent Grimany, Paola Calvo Florido, Tomas Kennedy, Ada Bermejo, Andrea Mercado, Agua Panela, Serena Perez, Francisco Pitico Portillo, Viviana Ivalo, Gabriel Garcia-Vera, Claudia de Anda, Cynthia Selene Hernandez, Rita Mendez, Ivan Parra, Dian Y. Alarcon, Candy Ironworker, Jacqui Carmona, Jeanette Smith, Yaquelin Mela Lopez, Lis-Marie Gueguense, Marcia Olivo, Mauro Kennedy, Laura J. Lopez-Coache, Bertha Sanles Wilson, Daniella Levine Cava, Julio Calderon, Elbert Garcia, Helene Villalonga, Karla De Anda, Jonathan Fried, Levis Torres, Kathy Bird Carvajal, John De Leon, Luisana Perez-Fernandez, Armando Carrada, Sarai Portillo, Saul Aleman, Maria Asuncion Bilbao and Latina Comunica.

"Hate crimes"

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Miami Workers Center December 13 2016 circulated a meme clalling for people to report "hate crimes"

Please share! If you or someone you know has been the victim of a hate crime, threats or discrimination during or after the elections, please report it! Fill this survey is anonymous and confidential: http://bit.ly/MiedoenMiami

With Rosana Araujo, Dian Y. Alarcon, Maria Asuncion Bilbao, Ada Bermejo, Karla De Anda, Felix Espinal, Claudia Saucedo, Jonathan Fried, Carla Hansack, Natalia Jaramillo, Viviana Ivalo, Gabriel Garcia-Vera, Bertha Sanles Wilson, Mayte Canino, Bianka Nora, Ruth Chalono, Cynthia Selene Hernandez, Aidil Oscariz, Andrea Mercado, Cindy Wiesner, Kathy Bird Carvajal, Jersey Garcia, Maria Angelica Ramirez Barrera, Camilo Mejia, Charo Valero, Jacqui Carmona, Alana Greer, Elbert Garcia, United Families and Latina Comunica.

References

External links