Join the Charter for Compassion Social Justice Sector on August 29, 2017 at 8 am pacific for the third in a series of webinars exploring the topics surrounding immigration and the refugee crisis. In our third webinar, we will present a panel of speakers from Northwest Arkansas. The panel will address Northwest Arkansas Immigration Challenges and Responses to those Challenges.
The panel will include actions of the The Northwest Arkansas Workers’ Justice Center (NWAWJC) which is a non-profit organization that assists the least empowered residents of Arkansas low wage workers. Through advocacy, organizing, and education, NWAWJC seeks to help workers to help themselves obtaining safe workplaces and fair wages.
Founded in 2002 with the central focus to help low-income and immigrant workers in Arkansas to advocate against workplace injustices, the NWA Workers' Justice Center seeks to empower our working community through labor education, advocacy, and organizing as a means to generate a positive systemic change. All of the workers whom we assist live below the federal poverty line. The NWA Workers' Justice Center is affiliated with Interfaith Workers Justice (IWJ), Food Chain Workers Alliance (FCWA), and is part of national networks and coalitions that organize workers for better wages, benefits, and workplace dignity.
Also featured on the panel will be actions taken by Ozark Indivisible, which is part of a national movement that formed in opposition to the Trump agenda. Originally motivated by “The Indivisible Guide,” published by former Democratic congressional staffers, the movement has let to demonstrations and collective action across the country. Many commentators have attributed the failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act to the Indivisible Movement.
Mireya Reith, will share the actions of the Arkansas United Community Coalition, a Charter for Compassion Partner. The Arkansas United Community Coalition (AUCC) is an immigrants’ rights nonprofit organization that was founded in 2010 to bring together Arkansas-based organizations and individuals, across sectors, with the mission to empower Arkansas immigrants and their communities through leadership development, organizing, advocacy, the promotion of civic participation and immigration service navigation. AUCC envisions an Arkansas that is elevated to its full civic, economic and social potential through the development of inclusive and equitable communities where all multi-ethnic groups, newcomers and native-born Arkansans work together to enhance their collective quality of life.
Fernando was born in the Mexican southern state of Oaxaca. He immigrated and joined his parents in the US when he was 5 years old. He grew up in rural southwest Missouri in a small town called Monett. His family was one of the first immigrant families to move to Monett. There he and his family witnessed and live through many injustices including seeing immigration raids, workplaces injustices, and discrimination in housing and the public school system. His passion for organizing workers and the immigrant community was born through these experiences.
Fernando counts with over a decade of student, community, and labor organizing ranging from president of student organizations, founding member of the first organization of young immigrants in the State of Arkansas, and labor organizing through unions and a worker center. His educational background includes a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Arkansas. He is also certified to train workers on health and safety issues on the job.
Magaly was born in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico. She’s the middle child of 5 children. At the age of 15 years old, she knew she wanted to be a theater actress, and she followed her passion for theater and moved to Mexico City in 2001. Later continued her career at the University of Arkansas and graduated in 2013. She’s been living in Arkansas for 13 years, and throughout those years she learned the struggles the immigrant community faces in this country. After listening to stories of poultry workers, she knew she wanted to organize poultry workers to seek dignity and respect.
Magaly is the co-founder of IWW (Industrial Workers of the World), and IWOC charters in Arkansas, in 2015 she became the Executive Director of the NWA Workers’ Justice Center, she’s currently trying to bring the GFPP (Good Food Purchasing Policy) campaign to Arkansas by collaborating with local farmers and environmentalists to keep supporting workers efforts in quest of dignity and respect in poultry plants.
Blanca is an activist, student, and healthcare professional who has been involved in immigration policy reform her entire life. A political refugee from El Salvador, she came to the United States amid conflict in her home country. She attended Rogers Public Schools, and went on to receive a scholarship to run cross country at Arkansas Tech University.
Blanca is the Immigration Chair of Ozark Indivisible. As an activist, she uses her skills of advocacy, commitment, empathy, communication, and collaboration.
Mireya Reith is co-founder and Executive Director of the Arkansas United Community Coalition (AUCC). Inspired by her experiences growing up in Fayetteville, Arkansas as the daughter of a Mexican immigrant, Reith came to AUCC with a 14-year career in the field of international political development, working across five continents with American nonprofit organizations and the United Nations to engage marginalized communities in democratic processes. Returning to Arkansas in 2010, Reith has worked to bring her international experiences to her home state through efforts including the development of a Latino youth civic association, the launch of a Latino/Marshallese nonprofit leadership academy, and directing Hispanic voter outreach in Arkansas for 2010 election campaigns. Reith proudly served her country as a municipal development volunteer with the Peace Corps in El Salvador, and currently serves her state as the first Latina appointed by the Governor to the Arkansas State Board of Education. Reith has also recently been awarded: the Mexican Consulate in Little Rock’s Hispanic Woman Champion Award (2014), the White House Cesar Chavez Champions of Change Award (2013), Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families’ Sister Joan Pytik Child Advocate of the Year (2013), and Arkansas Times’ 40 Most Influential Arkansans Award (2012).
Reith received her Master’s in International Affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University (NY), concentrating in Economic and Political Development, and earned her BA in Political Science and Spanish from Williams College (MA).
Arkansas United Community Coalition Team Members
Host: Pattie Williams