These are not easy times but we are indeed on the road to justice. Turning the tide is not just about a campaign against immigration enforcement but also about day laborers leading a movement for dignity and justice. When we open a worker center and extend our open hand to our neighbors, we are turning the tide. When our promotion efforts bring new employers to hire ready workers, we are turning the tide. When humble workers refuse to allow this country to take our labor without also recognizing our full humanity, the tide has already begun to turn.
Since our last assembly the world has changed around us and we have responded in turn. Our membership and our staff have grown. We’ve celebrated proud victories like the passage of the Just Pay for All bill in Illinois. We defeated the Redondo Beach anti-day laborer ordinance. We uncovered the truth about Se Communities. Our members in Arizona have seen Arpaio stripped of his immigration badge and placed under further investigation. We’ve developed new models like the Comites en Defensa del Barrio that were born in Arizona and continue to spread throughout the South. We have thrown ourselves fully into the charge to protect our members from the dangers of police-ICE collaboration in the form of SB 1070 and ICE Access programs while advancing our health and safety, workforce development, and labor work to support our members in improving conditions and advancing our rights.
We’ve named the Asamblea “On the Road to Justice; Ni un paso atrás” because we have come too far to go backwards. The hatred and bigotry that we have faced together; from Farmingville to Arizona, from Georgia to Alabama, have spread to the top levels of government. Now even presidential candidates are promoting attrition. But together we are proudly saying we’re not going even one step backwards. Instead, we are gathering our forces, joined by allies from labor, from faith, and even from Hollywood, to band together to move this country forward.
Whenever we defend the rights of day laborers, we advance the rights of everyone. We are a people who lift as we climb. Let us take advantage of our rare time together to strengthen our network and deepen our commitment, to prepare for the challenges ahead, and celebrate the past two years.
We formed NDLON ten years ago so that the humble worker on any street corner would have his or her voice respected in the halls of Congress and the wings of the White House. During this national assembly, we set forth for another ten years on the road to justice.