22 September 2007

Day workers - Herndon and Arlington

UPDATE: turns out that Arlington does have a County-supported, official day labor site, much like the one that no longer exists in Herndon. That's what I get for shooting off my mouth. :-) So, yay Arlington, and boo Herndon. Still, all the more reason not to give up on Herndon, 'cause I really don't want my neighbors to have to move to Panama or to Arlington in order to feed their families.


My good friend Israel posted on his blog about two local governmental jurisdictions (the one where I live, and the one where he lives) and their respective attitudes toward immigrants who depend on day labor to survive.

This issue has been weighing on my heart, at least a little, for a while - at least since I moved to Herndon and started getting the free newspaper and reading the latest chapter of the saga of the day workers' center on the front page of each issue. Here are some random thoughts:

  • Yay for the Arlington County Board, but I'm not sure that resolution is anything other than a show of support in principal, which says, "we resolve, by continuing our current policies, to not be quite as nasty as some other local governments we might mention". It doesn't actually say that that they plan on doing anything new for day workers - such as, for example, creating an official, funded site - and I suspect that if someone tried to do new stuff, they'd meet with opposition in Arlington, as anywhere. Call me cynical, but I sort of read this resolution as essentially an expression of the political POV of those who make up the majority of the Board at the moment, and not much more. So, yay for Arlington, and boo for Herndon - but we should remember that Herndon actually did something fairly revolutionary, and, somewhat unsurprisingly, the revolution was put down. If Arlington tried to turn its vague thumbs-up into something concrete and equally revolutionary, then believe me, the "send the scary brown people home" folks would come out in force there too - possibly in enough numbers to change the political make-up of the county council.
  • That said, I'd love to be a part of something revolutionary in Arlington. So I says to Izzy, Izzy, I says, if you talk to las chicas de Chirilagua, please keep me in the loop on what they say.
  • That said, I'd hate for people who care about folks who feed their families through day labor to say, "Oh well, Herndon screwed the pooch - tough noogies for immigrants in Herndon" and move on. So I'm thinking (and talking to my church's GNU Team - "Giving to Needs Unmet") about reaching out to Reston Interfaith / Project Hope and Harmony to find out how things are shaping up as they continue their efforts outside the context of the officially supported center.
Little prayer to God here: if I / we can help, please don't let apathy be the reason we don't. Amen.

1 comment:

WMS said...

Somehow I think us "legals" taking the side of the "illegals" will make a difference. Even if just a show of commitment to honest people trying to overthrow the stereotype of criminals by DOING AN HONEST DAY'S WORK... rather than stealing for their hungry family.

I also like your idea of working with Reston Interfaith to help these guys... certainly if their doing day labor and may have families, and are illegal they probably have all kinds of needs outside just work... like children who need healthcare, wives who need time off... perhaps a need for some recreation at cox farms?