Houston’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey will be a marathon, not a sprint. As usual, those who will bear much of the weight these coming months (or years) in the literal clean up and rebuilding of our city will be immigrant laborers. Only this time around, they will be even more at risk of labor abuses, exploitation due to upcoming implementation of state policies targeting them for arrest and deportation, and illness with the added health risks of broken infrastructures, chemical and material debris, as well as a surge in mosquitoes, etc. I have spent my time during the torrential downpour making lunch and first aid kits to take to the labor sites once the water subsides and speaking to colleagues regarding what needs to be done when recovery labor starts. But there’s only so much that I have and that we can do without help. Thankfully, and as per usual, the Fe y Justicia Workers’ Center is supporting my ideas for laborer outreach and we’ve joined in planning. I will be assembling outreach kits for day laborers to take to labor sites in efforts to inform them of their civil and labor rights and health risks as they are tapped to be the unappreciated labor in our post-disaster recovery.
Kits will include:
- bottled water
- tuna packs and a snack
- insect repellent
- surgical masks
We will also be including information regarding upcoming special trainings for laborers. The focus will be post-disaster recovery risks, health and labor site safety precautions, and I will assist with rights-based information regarding labor abuse, exploitation, and trafficking. Please consider donating to help me purchase the supplies needed to make the kits. We hope to start with 500 kits, which will cost around $2,000 ($4/kit), but we do hope to make and reach out to more than 500 laborers around the city these coming months. We’ll also need to print out know-your-rights information and schedules for the upcoming post-recovery labor trainings. We are mobilizing in the next couple of weeks as the recovery efforts begin and contractors start seeking out day labor, so please help me reach this goal as soon as possible.
If you would like to help by getting involved, please consider the following ways and send me a message below:
- If you are a safety and health trainer or can provide logistics support for those trainings (i.e. from finding local churches or community centers to providing workers with transportation or setting up the place),
- If you are from or have information from an organization or resource that you think should be included in the kits and/or trainings. This could include giving us brochures or training material to share with the laborers,
- Media outreach (i.e. relationships and press releases covering this info),
- Bilingual outreach support (i.e. volunteers to visit labor and reconstruction sites with information, spreading this information to employers across the city, hiring halls and temp agencies, etc),
- Help in converting this information into (even) more accessible educational resources (i.e. short-videos / PSAs to share with traditional and social media).
Please help us ensure the safety and dignity of those who will rebuild our city with little to no access to labor protection and health care. Thank you!