By Anthony Victoria
IE Community News Group
Three of the Inland region’s top Latino serving organizations now have a place to call home.
Labor employee advocates Warehouse Workers United (WWU) has given the Inland Empire-Immigrant Youth Coalition (IEIYC), Justice for Immigrants Coalition of Southern California (JFIC), and UNITE Local 11 the opportunity to set up headquarters at their Resource Center, located at 601 N. Euclid Avenue in Ontario.
On July 11 the organizations held a housewarming party for the public to celebrate what they referred to as a special moment for the Inland community.
The two former groups are part of a regional pro-immigrant coalition that calls for just and humane immigration reform and immigrant rights. Together they have organized demonstrations and protests, press conferences, and prayer vigils to address issues such as discriminatory law enforcement practices against immigrants, detainment of immigrants, and equal access to health care, education and employment.
Services that will be provided by the JFIC and IEIYC include Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) clinics, forums and information on Assembly Bill 60 (Driver’s Licenses for undocumented residents) and Proposition 47 (Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes), and Medical enrollment assistance.
JFIC director Javier Hernandez said access to a center will help each organization improve services to constituents across the region.
“The good thing about this is that now we have an office space where we can meet with our partners and centralize our work,” Hernandez said. “Having this space will strengthen our work because now we can tell people to come meet us here.”
Inland Empire-Immigrant Youth Coalition organizer Mitzie Perez speaking to supporters during a house warming party at the Warehouse Workers United Resource Center on July 11.
Mitzie Perez of the IEIYC said receiving office space is an outstanding accomplishment. Due to the lack of a central location, the grassroots organization that she helped create in 2010 met in schools and other public places.
“This is a very special moment that we are able to have,” she said. “We are fortunate to have an office space to share with organizations that are doing amazing work in the community.”
Last Saturday, Perez and other members of the IEIYC awarded DACA scholarships to three Coachella Valley students—Isaac Albarran, Ana Araujo, and Luis Gonzales-Sarabia.
“We were able to fundraise and hand out scholarships to youth who are very resilient in their communities,” Perez expressed. “We’ve found a lot of need in the community for scholarships and access to education.”
UNITE Local 11 organizing director Manuel Roman—whose organization represents hotel workers, cooks, dishwashers, and housekeepers in Southern California—said it is an honor to share a space with, “such awesome organizations.”
“We are now proudly organizing here in these areas and we will be here for some time,” he said. “It’s beautiful to feel the vibe here. We’re all fighting for the rights of immigrants and workers to help improve our economic status.”
WWU Resource Center director Silvia Carrillo expressed her gratitude to all the organizations due to their diligent work. She also conveyed her commitment in ensuring her organization maintains championing employee rights in warehouse and retail workplaces.
“We have done a lot of work in the past and we continue to do it,” said Carrillo. “We need to empower our community in order to educate ourselves.”