Author Archives: Jordan

PRESS CONFERENCE: Farmworkers, advocates and local residents speak up for dignity and respect in front of Melrose Farms

Press contact: Rebecca Fuentes  (315) 657-6799 Workers’ Center of CNY
Farmworkers and advocates give a report to the community about the conditions at Melrose Farms. Enough is enough!
           On February 7, 2018 the town of Owasco ordered the owner of Melrose Farms, in the town of Owasco, to “cease and desist” the use and occupancy of the building where he had been providing housing to farmworkers and their families (see attachment for more information). Many people came together to support the families who then became homeless. It was a beautiful show of support for the farmworker community, as the families were assisted in finding housing, food and support while they found another job.
The farm was not only in violation of housing code enforcement, but also the Cayuga county health department found the farm did not obtained any permit to build a septic tank for the housing and that the waste was being discharged into the farm’s manure lagoon.
Even before many of us became aware of the inhumane housing conditions at Melrose, several workers had contacted the Workers’ Center of Central NY to complain about wage theft, as workers were not getting minimum wage or getting payed for all their hours.
On Tuesday, August 28, we are coming back to Melrose farm to give a community report about today’s working and housing conditions at this farm. We will share worker’s testimonies about current conditions at Melrose and demand action from local officials.

WHAT: Farmworkers and advocates present a report to the community about working and living conditions at Melrose Farms. Farmworkers will share their testimonies about working and living at Melrose Farm.

WHERE: Across the road from Melrose Farms, 3815 Melrose Rd. Auburn, NY 13021
WHEN: Tuesday, August 28, 2018 at 11:00 am
 
WHY: Farmworkers deserve dignity and respect now!
Six months after Melrose Farm’s owner J. Tidd was ordered to cease and desist use and occupation of a building that was found unfit for human habitation, what has been done by the owner and the local authorities to correct the working and living conditions at this farm? We must speak up and continue the pressure so employers do the right thing. The safety and dignity of farmworkers as well as the environment, depends on it.
February, 2018

Consulado General De Mexico En Nueva York/Mobile Mexican Consulate Visit

Trabajando fuerte para traer los servicios a nuestra comunidad. Aquí con miembros del consulado sobre ruedas de Mexico que estuvieron en nuestro Centro de Trabajadores.
Sí se puede!!!

Working hard to bring services and resources to the community. Here with members of the Mexican Consulate on wheels. They were in Syracuse at our Workers Center. Thank you to all who helped us and made sure it was a success.

https://consulmex.sre.gob.mx/nuevayork/index.php/en/consulate-on-wheels

Press Release: NY State Fair Opens with Upstate Demand for Driver Licenses: Farm Workers, all Immigrants Need License Access Now

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, August 21st 2018

Press Contacts:

Rochester: Carly Fox, 585-500-9409, cfox@wjcny.org

Syracuse: Rebecca Fuentes, 3152185708, rfuentes@workerscentercny.org

Buffalo: Jennifer Connor, 716 550 9393 JFMFPress@gmail.com

NY State Fair Opens with Upstate Demand for Driver Licenses: Farm Workers, all Immigrants Need License Access Now

The State Fair largely celebrates New York’s Agricultural industry and the workers that hold up that industry would like to have freedom of movement and protection from being put in the deportation pipeline simply because they don’t have a NYS license. “Farmworkers, are an integral part of the motor that drives our state’s agriculture. says Luis Jimenez, president of the Agricultural Alliance in Western NY. “As a father raising U.S.-born children, I want them to have the same opportunities as others. If the police stop us, we might be deported just because we can’t show a license. My children are terrified every time we drive because it could mean we will be permanently separated.”

Advocates across the state say that New York should join the twelve other states for whom getting a driver’s licenses is only about driving and is not connected to immigration status. “New York should resume issuing licenses to all, and join the 12 other states that do.  It is a simple matter of safety for all who drive, and it will generate $57 million dollars a year for our state’s economy. It is common sense policy and the Rochester City Council is fully supportive of this measure.”  Jackie Ortiz, Rochester City Council Representative

License regulations can either be changed through two paths: Governor’s direct order, and through a change in the law. Assembly Bill 4050, first introduced in 2016, would make a standard license available, regardless of immigration status. The bill gained momentum during the 2017-2018 legislative session, with 34 Assembly Members signed on, including Pamela Hunter, Harry Bronson, Crystal Peoples-Stokes, and it was introduced in Senate as S? at the end of session. Nine Senators have signed on so far.

 

“Farms are really important in Western New York and form an integral part of New York’s identity and economy, and today, Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse stand together to say: we need New York’s elected officials to deliver on issues that are important to us” says …. The health of our upstate farms and cities are inseparable, and safe driving  for workers, by having access to a license, would drive the health of our region. Driving is not a privilege, it is a necessity to daily life, and both migrant farm workers who keep farms going as well as asylum seekers who bring new life to our cities need access to a license now.

 

“We are out here because we support freedom of movement for the workers who keep our agricultural industry alive through the sweat of their labor” said Carly Fox, Senior Worker Rights Advocate with the Rochester Worker Justice Center. “The State Fair is a moment to celebrate the contribution of Agriculture to New York State, however, for most of the workers in NY who pick our fruit and milk our cows, there are significant barriers to be able to get to the grocery store and buy food.”

Immigration Forum: Education for Action! 8/22

Join us for an evening of immigration education.
Learn about the issue’s history, how immigration’s national context affects our local communities; hear WNY (im)migrants’ experiences, and how you can work in solidarity with them by joining high-impact, locally-based efforts.

Registration form now available!
http://bit.ly/ImmEduForum

Or RSVP to rocrapidresponse@gmail.com to reserve your seat.

Please let us know if you are planning on attending and any special requests for the evening.

Suggested donation of $5.00

Location:
150 South Clinton Avenue
(At the Corner of Court Street)
Rochester

Time: 6PM to 9PM

Presenters and Workshops will be announced as they are formalized.

Building is wheelchair accessible
Food & Child Care provided
Sign language interpretation available upon request
Interpretación en español disponible

Sponsoring Organizations:
Rochester Rapid Response Network
Alianza Agricola and Allies of the Alianza Agrícola
Rochester Greenlight Allies
(Green Light NY Driving Together : Luz Verde NY Manejando Juntos
The New York Immigration Coalition

Gov. Cuomo: Take Executive Action for Driver’s Licenses Now!

Gov. Cuomo: Take Executive Action for Driver’s Licenses Now!

Green Light Press Conference Syracuse 8/21

AS STATE FAIR KICKS OFF, UPSTATE COMMUNITIES SEEK DRIVER’S LICENSES FOR IMMIGRANT FARMWORKERS

Join us on Tuesday, Aug 21st at 3PM for a press conference on the eve of State Fair to call for driver’s license access for NYS agricultural workers.

The New York State Fair, an event that is a celebration of the upstate agricultural economy, kicks off this week in Syracuse. The statewide Green Light campaign is bringing together elected officials, workers and community organizations in Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo the day before the fair to call for driver’s license access for those who keep the farms running. Since 2002, those without Social Security numbers are denied access to licenses.

The Green Light NY: Driving Together campaign seeks to ensure equal access to driver’s licenses for all residents of New York State, regardless of immigration status. Our statewide coalition brings together immigrant communities, advocates, allies and other stakeholders to coordinate a unified driver’s license campaign. Twelve other states across the country have chosen safer roads and increased revenue by giving undocumented immigrants access to driver’s licenses. If New York does the same, it will increase revenue from licensing and other fees by $57 million annually for city and county governments statewide.

Location: Park Central Presbyterian Church 504 E Fayette St, Syracuse, New York 13202

For Press Inquiries Contact:
Rebecca Fuentes: rfuentes@workerscentercny.org 315-657-6799
Kayla Kelechian: kkelechian@workerscentercny.org 315-385-9874

In Loving Memory of Selena Hidalgo Calderon/En Memoria de Selena Hidalgo Calderon

In Loving Memory of Selena Hidalgo Calderon.
Oct. 15, 1999 – May 17, 2018
Saturday June 9, 2018
Please join us for a Memorial Service

People close to Estela are asked to arrive at 5:30pm. Selena will be brought in at 5:30pm, and Estela and family/friends will walk in behind Selena.

6:00 PM – Viewing, prayer, singing and organ music

7:00 PM – Mass

7:30 PM – Reception

Park Central Presbyterian Church
504 E Fayette St
Syracuse, NY 13202

Donations: https://www.gofundme.com/support-estela-and-her-family
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En Memoria de Selena Hidalgo Calderon.
15 de Octubre 1999 – 17 de Mayo 2018
Sábado 9 de Junio 2018
Por favor unirse a nosotros para un servicio conmemorativo.

Relativos y amigos de Estela por favor llegar a las cinco y media. Selena será traída a las cinco y media y Estela, los relativos, y amigos caminarán detrás de Selena.

6:00PM – Ver, oraciones, cantar, y música de órgano

7:00PM – Misa

7:30PM – Recepción

La iglesia de Park Central Presbyterian
504 E Fayette St
Syracuse, NY 13202

Donaciones:https://www.gofundme.com/support-estela-and-her-family

Can My Boss Do That?

Save the Date

Date: June 8 2018

Time: 12pm-2pm

Place: 2013 E. Genesee St Syracuse Ny 13210

Bosses Stealing your Tips?

Unsafe Working Conditions?

Not Getting Overtime Pay?

Stolen Wages?

Hurt on the Job?

Come learn and share about your experiences with other workers! Hosted by the Workers’ by the Workers’ Center of Central New York, more details coming soon!

Please RSVP by 05/28/18

How to RSVP: call Kayla Kelechian (315) 385-9874, the Workers’ Center of Central New York (315) 218-5708 or email kkelechian@workerscentercny.org

Please notify us if you will be needing interpretation or childcare services

Press Statement: Three Local Policies That Can Help Prevent Tragedies/Tres políticas locales que pueden ayudar a prevenir tragedias

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday June 1st, 2018

Press Contacts:
Yanira Rodríguez yrodrigu@syr.edu 315-744-0329
Sara Curtis sara.curtis.wjcny@gmail.com 585-447-2125

Syracuse, NY: Three Local Policies That Can Help Prevent Tragedies

1. Equal Access to Survivor Support Resources
While Selena’s death was senseless, it also represents a chilling reality here in the United States. Fifty-five percent of the women murdered in the U.S. are murdered by an intimate partner. Though it is difficult for many survivors and victims of domestic violence to access much needed resources and support, these difficulties are especially acute for immigrant farmworker women.

The current wave of anti-immigrant rhetoric and the aggressive detainment of immigrants directly contribute to the isolation and vulnerability of farmworker women who have limited financial resources and little to no access to the transportation needed to escape dangerous situations.

We point out the barriers while acknowledging the many great local resources for survivors of domestic violence:

Worker Justice Center of NY Domestic & Sexual Violence Project for Farm Worker Women 24-hour Crisis Hotlines – WNY (866)343-8808 & Hudson Valley Region (845)471-3033

Vera House, Inc. 24-hour Hotline (315)468-3260

The Victim Resource Center, Inc. 24-hour Hotline (866)343-8808

2. Driver’s Licenses Regardless of Immigration Status
One tangible way for farmworker women to access basic services and leave dangerous situations is the ability to obtain a driver’s license.

In twelve states, people can receive a driver’s license regardless of immigration status. Unfortunately, New York state is not one of these states, limiting the ability of undocumented workers to access necessities for themselves and their families. The Workers’ Center is collaborating with organizations across the state to make driver’s licenses available to all as part of the Green Light Campaign. New York once ensured equal access to a license but Governor Pataki caved to anti-immigrant sentiment in 2001. NY A10273, which has 28 co-sponsors in the New York Assembly, would allow the state to issue standard licenses to qualified state residents regardless of immigration status.

“Too often, our immigrant communities find themselves in precarious working conditions and/or violent environments,” said Fabiola Ortiz, an organizer with the New York Immigration Coalition and a Workers’ Center ally. “Having a driver’s license would increase the chances of reporting the crimes that immigrant women are victims of.”

“It’s not just a matter of freedom of movement, but of seeking justice. Driver’s licenses are not a privilege, but a necessity, and sometimes can make the difference between life and death,” said Ortiz.

3. Restrict ICE and Border Patrol
Anti-immigrant rhetoric from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the White House, conservative media, and white supremacists hide the fact that immigrants make communities safer. Every study to look at the relationship between violent crime and immigration has concluded that immigrants commit less violent crime than native born US citizens, and more immigrants in a community typically makes that community a safer place to live.

Yet, despite these incontrovertible facts, ICE is attempting to use Selena’s death as justification to further terrorize and criminalize hard-working families in the region.

Given that ICE’s actions make it less safe for farmworker women to receive the support and resources they deserve, it is unconscionable that field director Thomas Feely would use Selena’s death to further the myth of the criminal immigrant. As the “me too” movement has so clearly demonstrated within the past year, men who commit egregious acts of violence against women are found throughout many different spheres of society–including the state attorney’s office, the white house, and at Feely’s own agency. Hundreds of reports were recently released of ICE agents raping and assaulting women and children in their custody.

As Selena’s mother, Estela Hidalgo Calderon said, “We came to this country in search of safety and we never thought we’d find a demon. But there are demons in all places.”

Restricting ICE and border patrol when possible will help give undocumented workers equal access to basic rights and resources. Private companies like Greyhound should restrict border patrol from racial profiling on their buses. Cities and local law enforcement agencies should not collaborate with ICE or border patrol if they want to help keep immigrant communities safe.

Farmworker women need be able to access life-saving resources without fear that they themselves will be torn from their families, criminalized, detained, and/or violated in the process.

Resources:

Detained, Then Violated: 1,224 Complaints Reveal a Staggering Pattern of Sexual Abuse in Immigration Detention. Half of Those Accused Worked for ICE.

ACLU Obtains Documents Showing Widespread Abuse of Child Immigrants in U.S. Custody

Green Light Campaign

Protesters call on Border Patrol to Stop Boarding Buses to Question Passengers

The Myth of the Criminal Immigrant

Special Report: The Criminalization of Immigrants in the United States

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PARA SU PUBLICACIÓN INMEDIATA
Viernes 1 de junio de 2018

Contactos de prensa:
Yanira Rodríguez yrodrigu@syr.edu 315-744-0329
Sara Curtis sara.curtis.wjcny@gmail.com 585-447-2125

Syracuse, NY: Tres políticas locales que pueden ayudar a prevenir tragedias

1. Igualdad de acceso a los recursos de apoyo de sobrevivientes. Al tiempo que la muerte de Selena no tuvo sentido, su muerte representa una realidad inquietante aquí en los Estados Unidos. El cincuenta y cinco por ciento de las mujeres asesinadas en los EE.UU son asesinadas por un compañero íntimo. Aunque es difícil para muchos sobrevivientes y víctimas de violencia doméstica acceder a recursos y apoyo muy necesarios, estas dificultades son especialmente graves para las mujeres trabajadoras agrícolas que son inmigrantes.

La propagación actual de narrativa anti-inmigrante y la detención agresiva de inmigrantes contribuyen directamente al aislamiento y la vulnerabilidad de las mujeres trabajadoras agrícolas que tienen recursos financieros limitados, y poco o ningún acceso a transporte necesario para escapar de situaciones peligrosas.

Señalamos los obstáculos al tiempo que reconocemos que hay muchos y excelentes recursos locales para sobrevivientes de violencia doméstica:

Worker Justice Center of NY Domestic & Sexual Violence Project for Farm Worker Women 24-hour Crisis Hotlines – WNY (866)343-8808 & Hudson Valley Region (845)471-3033

Vera House, Inc. 24-hour Hotline (315)468-3260

The Victim Resource Center, Inc. 24-hour Hotline (866)343-8808

2. Licencias de conducir independientemente del estado migratorio.
La capacidad de conseguir una licencia de conducir es una forma concreta para que las mujeres trabajadoras agrícolas accedan a los servicios básicos y salgan de situaciones peligrosas.

Actualmente, en doce estados, se puede recibir una licencia de conducir independientemente de su estado migratorio. Desafortunadamente, Nueva York no es uno de estos estados, lo que limita la capacidad de los trabajadores indocumentados para acceder a las necesidades para ellos mismos y sus familias. El Centro de Trabajadores está colaborando con organizaciones de todo el estado para que las licencias de conducir estén disponibles para todos como parte de Luz Verde NY Manejando Juntos.

A pesar de que Nueva York aseguró el acceso equitativo de las licencias, el gobernador Pataki cedió al sentimiento antiinmigrante en 2001. Ahora, NY A10273, que lleva 28 co- patrocinadores en la Asamblea de Nueva York, permitiría al estado para emitir licencias estándar a residentes estatales calificados, independientemente de su estado migratorio.

“Con demasiada frecuencia, nuestras comunidades de inmigrantes se encuentran en condiciones de trabajo precarias y / o entornos violentos,” dijo Fabiola Ortiz Valdez, organizadora de la Coalición de Inmigración de Nueva York y aliada del Centro de Trabajadores. “Tener una licencia de conducir aumentaría las posibilidades de denunciar los crímenes de los que son víctimas las mujeres inmigrantes.”

“No es solo una cuestión de libertad de movimiento, sino de buscar justicia. Las licencias de conducir no son un privilegio, sino una necesidad, y en ocasiones pueden marcar la diferencia entre la vida y la muerte. ” dijo Ortiz Valdez.

3. Restringir el ICE y la Patrulla Fronteriza
La retórica antiinmigrante de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas (ICE), la Casa Blanca, los medios conservadores y los supremacistas blancos ocultan el hecho de que los inmigrantes hacen que las comunidades sean más seguras. Cada estudio que analiza la relación entre el crimen violento y la inmigración ha concluido que los inmigrantes cometen menos crímenes violentos que los ciudadanos nativos de los EE.UU, y que más inmigrantes en una comunidad suelen hacer de esa comunidad un lugar más seguro para vivir.

A pesar de estos hechos incontrovertibles, ICE está intentando usar la muerte de Selena como justificación para aterrorizar y criminalizar aún más a las familias trabajadoras en la región.

Dado que las acciones de ICE hacen que sea menos seguro para las mujeres trabajadoras agrícolas recibir el apoyo y los recursos que merecen, es inconcebible que el director regional Thomas Feely usará la muerte de Selena para promover el mito del inmigrante criminal. Como el movimiento “yo también” ha demostrado tan claramente el año pasado, los hombres que cometen actos atroces de violencia contra las mujeres se encuentran en muchas esferas diferentes de la sociedad, incluida la fiscalía estatal, la casa blanca y la agencia de Feely. Cientos de informes fueron liberados recientemente por agentes de ICE que violaron y agredieron a mujeres y niños bajo su custodia.

Como madre de Selena, Estela Hidalgo Calderón dijo: “Vinimos a este país en busca de seguridad y nunca pensamos que íbamos a encontrar un demonio. Pero hay demonios en todos los lugares “.

Restringir a ICE y patrullaje fronterizo cuando sea posible ayudará a dar a los trabajadores indocumentados el mismo acceso a los derechos y recursos básicos. Las compañías privadas como Greyhound deberían restringir la patrulla fronteriza de perfiles raciales en sus autobuses. Las ciudades y las agencias locales de aplicación de la ley no deberían colaborar con el ICE o la patrulla fronteriza si desean ayudar a mantener seguras a las comunidades de inmigrantes.

Las mujeres trabajadoras agrícolas deben poder acceder a los recursos que salvan vidas sin temor a que ellas mismas sean arrancadas de sus familias, criminalizadas, detenidas y / o violadas en el proceso.

Recursos:

Detained, Then Violated: 1,224 Complaints Reveal a Staggering Pattern of Sexual Abuse in Immigration Detention. Half of Those Accused Worked for ICE.

ACLU Obtains Documents Showing Widespread Abuse of Child Immigrants in U.S. Custody

Green Light Campaign

Protesters call on Border Patrol to Stop Boarding Buses to Question Passengers

The Myth of the Criminal Immigrant

Special Report: The Criminalization of Immigrants in the United States

Statement from the family of Selena Hidalgo and the Workers’ Center of CNY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday May 24th 2018

Press Contacts:

Rebecca Fuentes rfuentes@workerscentercny.org 315- 657- 6799

Kayla Kelechian kkelechian@workerscentercny.org 315-385 9874

Syracuse, NY: Statement from the Family of Selena Hidalgo Calderon and advocates the Workers’ Center of Central New York.

“My daughter and my grandson were my life, she was my first born and I feel like a piece of my heart is gone.”

-Estela Calderon, mother of Selena Hidalgo Calderon

When a mother loses a child, no matter what age, they grieve for their baby, for their toddler, for their teen, for the adult they would have become. The grief of losing a child to illness or an accident is immense but more so losing one’s child to an act of senseless violence. As members, friends, and staff of the Workers’ Center of Central NY, we grieve alongside Estela for the loss of her 18-year-old daughter, Selena Hidalgo Calderon. Estela describes Selena as a tender-hearted daughter and loving mother of her one-year-old son, Owen Hildalgo Calderon.

A hard-working mother, Selena was one of the many thousands of upstate NY farm workers who have contributed to the state’s agricultural industry.

The Workers’ Center of Central New York organizes with farmworkers around the region for equal rights and access to basic protections at the workplace. It also builds community among farmworkers who have lost their jobs or who experience the many hardships of being marginalized laborers. Selena’s death is an immeasurable loss, but it was also preventable.

We see her death as linked to the precarious, isolated, and vulnerable living conditions of immigrant women working in rural areas. Living with limited resources, little to no access to transportation, and persecuted by state agents, immigrant women are afraid to report domestic abuse or assault and often have no way to leave dangerous situations. As a workers’ center we stand up for the rights and dignity of low-wage workers and build community and organize precisely to end these cycles of isolation and violence. We will continue to fight for a world in which every person has equal access to basic services and protections.

Upon learning that Selena and her one-year-old son were missing we organized a press conference in Sodus, NY to alert the broader community and have them join us in our search. We were able to activate a network of people who gave us information of when Selena was last seen. Shortly after, we learned of her death. Her one-year-old child is still missing.

“What has happened to my family is unfair. I want the perpetrator to go to jail forever. I do not want another family to be hurt in this way.”

As Estela’s statement reminds us, we are guided by collective principles of family and community and we mourn and rally alongside Estela because she is part of our extended immigrant family. In these very difficult times we stand in solidarity, in accompaniment, and as witnesses. We denounce all forms of violence against women and children and call attention to the particular vulnerabilities faced by immigrant families. If anyone who reads this knows or suspects an immigrant woman is suffering assure them they are not alone and please contact us at 315-218-5708 or direct them to the following resources:

Worker Justice Center of NY Domestic & Sexual Violence Project for Farm Worker Women 24-hour Crisis Hotlines – WNY (866)343-8808 & Hudson Valley Region (845)471-3033

Vera House, Inc. 24-hour Hotline (315)468-3260

The Victim Resource Center, Inc. 24-hour Hotline (866)343-8808

If you are able to contribute to a fund for Estela and her family during this difficult and painful time, please visit the following Go Fund Me page:

https://www.gofundme.com/support-estela-and-her-family