Posts Tagged ‘Janet Hernandez’

Little Jocelyn Farms for Food & Freedom

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

jocelynBy Alice Kenny

As a light breeze brushes freshly tilled soil, Jocelyn, 5, picks up a hammer to help her dad build a family garden.

It’s a magical moment for her family, a time when Jocelyn, her mom, dad, and big brother Steven, 7, think about working the soil and enjoying the sun, about picking tomatoes, peppers and beans.  Best of all, it’s a time when they don’t think about growling bellies or the daily search for work.

Jocelyn’s father belongs to Obreros Unidos de Yonkers, a group of approximately 300 day laborers in the Yonkers area served by Catholic Charities.  Here they learn about employment rights to prevent their exploitation and abuse, receive assistance collecting unpaid wages, get help accessing healthcare services, participate in English and computer skills classes and receive emergency food to supplement their gardens’ bounty.

Most importantly, Catholic Charities helps Jocelyn and families like hers become independent.  The community garden on Oak Street in Yonkers where Jocelyn helps her family is one of two community gardens maintained by and for day laborers.

The land, donated by the Greyston Foundation, an integrated network of programs that help families move toward self-sufficiency, had been littered with plastic bags and rotting garbage.  The laborers tossed out the garbage, built a fence to keep out future litter and are hammering together 22 boxes so that Obreros Unidos de Yonkers  families can  reap the harvest from  their own plots of land.

This community garden is one of two maintained by Obreros Unidos. The second, tilled right in front of the Catholic Charities offices on Hawthorne Avenue in Yonkers represents a joint effort between Catholic Charities Community Services, the Greyston Foundation, YMCA of Yonkers and Habitat for Humanity of Westchester.

“The gardens enable families, many who worked as farmers in the South and Central American nations where they were born, to share this tradition with their children while teaching them the importance of hard work and community,” says Catholic Charities Day Laborer Organizer Janet Hernández.

Making a Living Should Not Include Dying

Monday, April 28th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Workers' Option 2

Image from TUC

Workers’ Memorial Day, observed every year since the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) was established on April 28 1971, is a day to honor those workers who have died on the job, acknowledge the grievous suffering experienced by families and communities, and recommit ourselves to the fight for safe and healthful workplaces for all workers.

To promote worker safety, Catholic Charities is offering a 10-hour OSHA Outreach Training Program for entry- level  – this Saturday and Sunday, May 3 and May 4.  Taught in English and Spanish, the course helps workers become knowledgeable about workplace hazards and contribute to our nation’s productivity.

The program provides training on the recognition, avoidance, abatement and prevention of safety and health hazards in workplaces. It also provides information regarding workers’ rights, employer responsibilities, and how to file a complaint.

Join us:

  • This Saturday, May 3 from 4 – 9:30 p.m. in the San Pedro Church basement, 91 Ludlow St, Yonkers, NY
  • And  this Sunday, May 4, from 12 – 5:30 p.m. in San Pedro School, 204 Hawthorne Ave., Yonkers, NY

Space is limited so reserve your seat now.

*This course is part of Catholic Charities’ ongoing involvement with Obreros Unidos of Yonkers.  Catholic Charities educates this group of day laborers about employment rights and responsibilities.  It provides assistance to prevent exploitation and workplace abuses including help with collecting unpaid wages. It assists with integrating workers into society.  It provides local resources including access to healthcare, emergency food and identification cards.  And it offers a meeting space along with English as a Second Language and computer classes to help immigrants with their goal of acclimating and contributing to their new homeland.

For more information call Janet Hernandez 917.579.9048 or Wilson Terrero 914-963-1730 x 227

Hungry for Immigration Reform? Join Our fast.

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan said the opening prayer yesterday at the United Community Center of Westchester in New Rochelle at a rolling fast held by day laborers, members of the immigrant community, and organizations within the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

The fast kicked off in California and just reached New York.

Participants’ communal hunger spotlights the immigration debate. Members of Catholic Charities’ Obreros Unidos in Yonkers — along with United Community Center of Westchester in New Rochelle and the Don Bosco Center in Port Chester  — are taking their turn in a week-long fast from June 10 through June 14.  They are publicly sharing their stories about the toll deportations take on their own lives.  And they are chanting “Not One More” to demand that the President suspend the deportations as Congress seeks immigration reform.

Through Obreros Unidos, Catholic Charities educates day laborers in the Yonkers area on employment rights and responsibilities to prevent exploitation and abuse. Catholic Charities also assists in the collection of unpaid wages, helps workers get access to healthcare services, provides emergency food, and offers English language and computer skills instruction.

“I am fasting on behalf of the 300 day laborers of Obreros Unidos de Yonkers and their families, many of whom have personal experiences of family separation because of deportation” said Janet Hernandez, one of the fasters and an organizer with Catholic Charities for Obreros Unidos de Yonkers.

Join us by saying “Not one more” to deportation.

Looking for more information about Obreros Unidos de Yonkers?

  •  Call (914) 375-6729/48 or visit the office at St. Peter’s Church basement, 91 Ludlow Street, Yonkers, NY  10705
  •   Call the Catholic Charities Help Line — (888) 744-7900 — to find services you need.

Day Laborers Celebrate Their Heritage With Three Kings Party

Monday, January 7th, 2013


 

By Alice Kenny

On Saturday, January 5th, Obreros Unidos de Yonkers held their annual Three Kings Party to celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany. Timothy Cardinal Dolan joined over 300 members and their families for an Epiphany Vigil Mass at St. Peter’s Church and a celebration afterward.

The Feast of the Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day, is widely celebrated in the Hispanic community with parties, gifts and a special pastry called rosca de reyes (kings’ ring). Catholic Charities staff and volunteers, including the Sisters of Charity, helped at Saturday’s party by serving dinner, distributing toys to children and giving gifts to the registered workers.

Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities, Janet Hernandez, the community organizer who staffs the Obreros Unidos program and Father Lino Otero, the pastor of St. Peter’s parish, all participated in the celebration, along with Yonkers Mayor Michael Spano.

“This is a great opportunity to celebrate the contribution that immigrants are making,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan. “Their faith, industriousness and commitment to family are values that inspire us all. Catholic Charities is both proud and privileged to be part of this community and provide needed help that creates a future of hope for these workers and their families.”

Obreros Unidos (Workers United) is a group of approximately 300 day laborers in the Yonkers area that works with Catholic Charities on projects throughout the year. For example, after Sandy hit, Obreros Unidos members volunteered to remove crumbling sheet rock and pull out ruined furniture from Staten Island houses destroyed by the storm. Catholic Charities also provides multiple services for the group, including educating workers on employment rights and responsibilities in order to prevent exploitation and abuse.