Always working to identify and support the best grassroots community organizing in the region, Bread & Roses Community Fund is now taking part in efforts to strengthen the region’s Latino communities.
The Delaware Valley’s Latino population is growing, with a 45% increase since 2000 in the number of people in Philadelphia with Latin American roots, according to the most recent U.S. Census data. In the Norristown suburb of Philadelphia, one in three residents is Latino.
In December, Bread & Roses’ Community Grantmaking Committee (CGC) awarded $40,000 to local Latino-led and Latino-serving grassroots organizations. These grants were made possible by a generous gift from the Saba Chai Five Foundation and the support of thousands of individual donors.
The CGC awarded grants to six groups with strong track records in community organizing:
- El Comité de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agricolas (CATA) ($9,000 grant) will organize Mexican migrant workers at Chester County packing houses to fight for better treatment and working conditions.
- JUNTOS ($9,000 grant) will mobilize Latino immigrant families in Norristown, largely from Mexico, to protest police harassment and learn about their rights.
- Ceiba ($7,000 grant) a coalition of four Latino-serving organizations, will work to ensure that a city-run home repair program is fully accessible and inclusive of Spanish-speaking homeowners.
- New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia ($5,000 grant) will continue to organize faith congregations to take action on immigration reform through education, storytelling, and direct action campaigns.
- PhilaPOSH ($5,000 grant) will organize Spanish-speaking workers, who are often exploited due to their legal and economic status, to resist unsafe working conditions and labor violations
- Media Mobilizing Project ($5,000 grant) is organizing with thousands of immigrant families, including Mexican and Central Americans, to overturn a recent law that prohibits undocumented immigrants from getting driver’s licenses in Pennsylvania.
“JUNTOS’ campaign represents the heart of good community organizing and hints at the potential of this group to build power statewide,” CGC member Fred Ginyard says. “Their campaign grew out of an urgent need and was clearly developed by people most affected by police harassment.” JUNTOS will use their grant to hire a community organizer to open a Norristown office.
CATA has a strong track record organizing migrant Latino farm workers and plans to expand their reach to include workers at Chester County meat and vegetable packing facilities. “CATA is being led by young, energetic leaders who are absolutely amazing,” CGC member Molly Frantz says. “Despite significant risk, they are doing whatever it takes to win.”
The six groups who received funding through the Latino Organizing Fund are building power for a growing population. “There was a lot of talk about the power of the Latino electorate during the last election,” says Will Gonzalez, executive director of Ceiba, which has been working for change in eastern North Philadelphia. “But the real magic happens after we vote leaders in and have to hold their feet to the fire to make real change.”
Grantees were selected because of their commitment to grassroots community organizing as well as racial and economic justice. Their dedication to collective action helps cultivate the next generation of Latino leaders fighting for real and lasting social change in our region.