In early 2019 we began a collaboration with New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE). NICE is a nonprofit organization that builds the individual and collective power of immigrant workers, with a focus on newly arrived immigrants and day laborers, who face some of the most significant challenges in finding safe, dignified, and fair-paying jobs and who are among those at the highest risk of workplace abuse and exploitation.
Illuminator members attended various general membership, women in construction, immigrant rights, and workers rights meetings at NICE in Jackson Heights from February to April. Together with NICE staff and members, we designed a projection for the Day of the Fallen Worker, April 29, 2019, to commemorate fallen workers and draw attention to unsafe working conditions for immigrant laborers.
In the last 10 years nearly 500 construction workers have died on their job sites in New York State alone. 90% of the construction workers killed were immigrants.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, we again partnered with NICE for a vigil for workers who have lost their lives. Many undocumented workers are providing essential services, and in many cases, they have no choice. They don’t qualify for aid, and the rent continues to be due. Time for recognition, respect and recovery for all.