Regardless of your status as a citizen or an immigrant, there is something that connects everyone in this country – and that’s the right to work, to make a living. It is in the language of our Constitution – that we have certain rights, no matter who we are. In America, you have the right to find a job, get paid for your work, and collect decent wages from an ethical employer. There is dignity in work – knowing that your work will be able to support your family is a powerful realization of the American Dream.
On Thursday The Sawaya Law Firm was honored to be the Leadership Sponsor of the Unidos Tamale Lunch at El Centro Humanitario. Since 2002, El Centro’s model offers both programs that link day laborers and domestic workers to employment opportunities and engaging campaigns to affect policy that strengthen their rights and address health and safety concerns. Its core programs are designed to enhance job and life skills while building leadership and strengthening relationship with the community.
The annual Tamale Lunch is a way for El Centro to share it’s message of Work, Dignity, and Community with a broader audience. The presentation was attended by members, workers and community advocates, and featured the voices of the people who’s lives have been transformed by El Centro’s services. Also in attendance was Jeanette Vizguerra.
In April of this year, Jeanette Vizguerra, a mother of four, had been living in a Denver church to avoid deportation. She was recently named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. Unfortunately, Vizguerra’s story was not unique – her short bio on Time’s website, written by actress America Ferrera, sounds too familiar to the members and workers of El Centro. When Ferrera writes Vizguerra’s story, she writes the story of the America – “(Vizguerra)…shed blood, sweat and tears to become a business owner, striving to give her children more opportunities than she had. This is not a crime. This is the American Dream.”
Along with Executive Director Sarah Shikes and a dedicated staff, El Centro welcomed the community in and shared stories like Vizguerra’s, while the audience dined on homemade tamales, rice and beans. The center has long been an advocate for worker’s rights and helping workers understand the law, especially in areas of work-site injuries and wage theft prevention – which is why The Sawaya Law Firm has been a donor, sponsor and ally of El Centro for years. We are proud of the work that El Centro does for our immigrant communities in Colorado and beyond, and will continue to support the laborers and workers that work so hard to make this country great.
For more info on El Centro – Visit their website -> http://www.centrohumanitario.org/