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MLK Workers Center

240 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Portland, Oregon 97232, United States (map)

Voz Hispana Cambio Comunitario (VHCC) develops and prepares leaders at the grassroots level to become active participants in creating a more just, democratic system in Oregon. VHCC believe that empowering those who are among the most vulnerable in the community to become agents of positive change will result in stronger communities that are able to provide opportunities for all residents, regardless of age, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, religion or immigration status.

We use the model of educación popular (popular education) to train our leaders and organizers to see; to think; to act; to evaluate and to celebrate.

VHCC is not affiliated with any political party, local or national organization. Our membership is composed of working class immigrants of many nationalities and ranging in age from 18 to 85 Mission

VHCC seeks to sow the seeds of leadership in the community by developing community organizers and raising awareness among women, men, youth and children about a model of social change that benefits all minorities and immigrants regardless of their immigration status, so that all may reap the benefits of social justice.

Future events happening here

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Past events that happened here

  • Tuesday
    Nov 7 2017
    Day Laborers and Disaster Relief

    (español abajo) Please join Voz and Gonzalo Mercado of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) in a presentation and discussion about the critical role day laborers have played in disaster resiliency efforts around the country.

    This summer we have seen unprecedented extreme weather caused by climate change: hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and fires. From Houston to Sonoma, day laborers have been on the front lines of disaster relief efforts. This was also true in 2012, when Hurricane Sandy caused massive destruction to the communities surrounding La Colmena - the Staten Island day laborer center. Join us to learn from Staten Island's experience coordinating trainings and relief efforts and protecting the health and safety of both day laborers and the communities impacted by the hurricane.

    When: November 7th, 9:00am
    Where: Voz' MLK Jr. Worker Center (240 NE MLK Jr. Blvd., Portland)
    Who: Gonzalo Mercado, Executive Director of La Colmena - Voz' Staten Island equivalent - and member of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

    This is an opportunity to come together to learn and discuss how Voz' MLK Jr. Worker Center can coordinate with government and nonprofit agencies to become a resource for disaster relief trainings and community leadership.


    Ven a participar en una presentación y discusión con Voz y Gonzalo Mercado de la Red Nacional de Jornaleros y Jornaleras (NDLON) sobre el rol que han jugado lxs jornalerxs en los esfuerzos de responder a los desastres naturales a nivel nacional.

    Este verano hemos visto los efectos del cambio climático en varios desastres extremos: huracanes, temblores, inundaciones y incendios. De Houston a Sonoma, lxs jornalerxs han estado en la primera linea de defensa. También fue el caso en el 2012, cuando el Huracán Sandy causó mucha destrucción en las comunidades alrededor de La Colmena- el centro de jornalerxs en Staten Island. Ven a aprender de la experiencia de Staten Island en la coordinación de entrenamientos y los esfuerzos de rescate y reconstrucción, protegiendo la salud y seguridad de lxs jornalerxs y las comunidades afectadas.

    Cuando: 7 de Noviembre, 9:00am
    Donde: Centro de Trabajadores MLK Jr. (240 NE MLK Jr. Blvd., Portland)
    Quien: Gonzalo Mercado, Director Ejecutiva de La Colmena - el equivalente a Voz en Staten Island - y miembro de la Red Nacional de Jornaleros y Jornaleras (NDLON)

    Es una oportunidad para reunirnos a discutir cómo el Centro de Trabajadores MLK Jr. puede coordinar con agencias del gobierno y organizaciones comunitarias para ser un recurso en la respuesta frente a los desastres naturales.

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  • Monday
    Mar 6 2017
    March for a Permanent Home for Day laborers!

    MLK Workers Center

    Join Voz, Portland Solidarity Network, Oregon AFL-CIO, Northwest Worker Justice Project, Coalition of Communities of Color, and other allies as we march to encourage the City of Portland to strengthen our partnership with them by granting Voz site control of the land at 240 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, where the Martin Luther King Jr. Worker Center is located. The land is currently owned by the Portland Development Commission (PDC) (an agency of the Portland city government) and is needed by Voz to construct a permanent worker center for Portland’s day labor workforce.

    Voz' partnership with PDC exists because of the MLK Jr. Worker Center’s tight alignment with PDC’s focus on “investing in job creation, innovation and economic opportunity that will transform Portland into one of the world’s most desirable and equitable cities”. We thank PDC’s Executive Director, Kimberly Branam, for making public statements that reaffirm PDC’s commitment to working with Portland’s multicultural population to “foster inclusive economic growth and healthy, diverse communities throughout Portland”. Voz is also proud of our partnership with PDC as an organization that supports refugees, immigrants, and other struggling workers through workforce development and community-building. We were excited to learn that “PDC will continue to support job creation, encourage broad economic prosperity, and make great places – with and for all the residents of our communities.” We encourage PDC to support us in building a permanent home so that we can continue our work of developing Portland into a more equitable city.

    Since 2008, the Martin Luther King Jr. Worker Center has provided day laborers a safe space to find work and a mutually respectful hiring process; created opportunities for continued learning and advocacy; and provided tools and support against wage theft. Below are some of the accomplishments that show the value that the MLK Jr. Worker Center brings to our city:

    Generated over 27,000 temporary and permanent jobs with respectable wages and fair working conditions. Provided a healthy, safe, and respectful environment for workers and employers to meet and negotiate, while preventing potential conflict Cultivated and strengthened the sense of responsibility of workers toward the community where they live, seek employment, and work Built a sense of identity and community through recreation, culture, education and organizing, while promoting solidarity and unity. Developed leadership of day laborers in order for them to promote and defend their own human, civil and labor rights Day laborers established a minimum wage for their work Drastically reduced the number of cases of stolen (unpaid) wages (cases at the Worker Center are rare; the vast majority of cases are on street corners or other locations) Provided trainings in job skills, job safety, English, computers, arts and culture

    Despite having become a permanent fixture in Portland, the Martin Luther King Jr. Worker Center is still operating out of temporary, portable buildings on land owned by the Portland Development Commission. In 2013, the PDC did not renew Voz' five year lease, instead switching to a month-to-month lease that provides no guarantee of permanence. Without ownership, Voz cannot move forward with a capital campaign to improve the property. After years of slow-moving negotiations with the city, the MLK Jr. Worker Center's future still remains uncertain. A long-term lease agreement is an important step towards constructing a more durable building with the basic services that our Worker Center should have, such as bathrooms, drinkable water, adequate offices, classrooms, and meeting space. This will empower us to continue, and even expand, this important work in our city and expand our capacity to provide the necessary job skills and safety trainings, English language and computer literacy classes, leadership trainings, rights protection workshops, and wage theft legal consultations that we've worked so hard to provide up to theis point.

    This is why we are asking our allies to join us on March 6th to demonstrate Voz’ widespread support and to encourage city officials to strengthen our partnership by fulfilling their commitments to move forward on granting Voz increased site control. Let’s stand together to build the Worker Center that Portland’s day laborers need and deserve!

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