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Chelsea Latino Immigrant Committee (CLIC) was organized in 1998 to respond to needs expressed by the Latino immigrant community. The major focus of CLIC’s efforts is workers’ rights specifically the elimination of hazardous working conditions, discrimination and unfair wages. CLIC also assists in navigating confusing immigration processes and advocating for immigrant rights and leadership opportunities.
CLIC has accomplished the following:
- Developed and implemented a successful curriculum model to build skills and increase civic engagement through our Leadership Institute.
- Established a three city effort between Chelsea, Everett and East Boston to celebrate International Workers Day with a march and rally that draws thousands of people annually.
- Joined the Attorney General’s Fair Wage Campaign to raise concerns of workplace violations affecting immigrant workers.
- Formed a trusting partnership with Greater Boston Legal Services that provides pro bono legal representation to immigrant workers fighting for fair wages and equality in the workplace.
- Won thousands of dollars in back wages for work place violations and victims of fraudulent crimes who were targetted simply because they are immigrants.
- Achieved passage of the Reform Employment Agency Law (REAL) Act that provides protection for temporary and day laborers.
- Organized regular trainings including weekly “Know Your Rights” workshops that have attracted hundreds of community members.
In The News
On May 31st, members of the Chelsea Collaborative, Chelsea city councilors, workers rights activists and Chelsea Community members gathered for the unveiling of the Chelsea Collaborative’s new workers rights mural.
The mural creator, artist Nancy Guevara met with members of the Chelsea Latino Immigrant Committee an Environmental Chelsea Organizers a several times over the past few months to create the design for the mural. The mural is part of a statewide education campaign to bring more awareness to the worker’s rights violations that immigrant workers face throughout Massachusetts. Organizations like the Collaborative, have long been fighting issues of wage theft, especially in industries with a high level of subcontracting, where cleaning, construction and painting workers often see their wages and overtime stolen by predatory subcontractors.
It was an historic occasion on Monday night when the Chelsea City Council voted unanimously to enact a Wage Theft Ordinance – the first Council in the state to do so. The City’s wage theft ordinance, brought to the floor by nine councillors earlier this month, would seek to make a statement about the prevalence of wage theft from employees, but in particular from vulnerable immigrant communities in the city. Practically speaking, the ordinance states that no contractor (or any subcontractor) or vendor hired by the City can have a federal or state criminal or civil judgment, administrative citation, final administrative determination, order or debarment resulting from a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act or any other federal or state laws regulating the payment of wages within three year prior to the date of any contract with the City. It also calls for any violation of the above laws during a contract period be reported to the City within five days.It also includes a provision that allows the License Commission to deny any permit or license if violations of the law have been made within three years of any application. If any violation of the above law occurs during a licensed period, the Commission can also take action on a license for the violations.
When the federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Obama Administration suddenly announced on Dec. 23 that they would start conducting raids to take into custody Central Americans who were here illegally and missed critical court dates, it didn’t take long for panic to set in around Chelsea.
With a huge population of Central American migrants who have arrived over the last two years seeking economic opportunity in the U.S. and fleeing violence in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, the news travelled fast and that large population went into panic mode.
Social media would light up with erroneous reports of ICE being in Chelsea or Eastie every time a black sedan drove down a street.
If Joel gets sent back to El Salvador, he knows he'll be killed.
The 11-year-old refused to pay off gang members collecting money outside his school and received beatings for his lack of cooperation. After his uncle tried to defend him, the violence only got worse. Joel's mother, who came to the United States when Joel was 2, decided her son should risk the trip north. For now, he is safe, living with his mother, stepfather and three siblings. But Joel's future is uncertain.
Joel, who asked that his last name not be used, was one of 16,404 unaccompanied minors from El Salvador apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol in 2014. He was part of what has become known as "the surge" in border crossings by young people from Central America in recent years. In 2011, 1,394 children attempted the journey from El Salvador. In 2013, that number had grown to nearly 6,000 before almost tripling for the next year. A similar pattern is true for Guatemala and Honduras. Across all three Central American countries in 2014, 51,705 children were caught crossing the border alone.
he Chelsea Collaborative is a neighborhood organization northeast of Boston, based near the town Joel now calls home. It helped him find an attorney to take on his case and has provided direct services to more than 200 other unaccompanied minors released to families in the Chelsea area.
Alexandra Early is an organizer with the Chelsea Collaborative and has focused on the legal battles of immigrants coming through the center's doors. While the collaborative has been able to connect many children and families with attorneys, Early knows many others have fallen through the cracks of the immigration system. Last summer and fall, people came into the Chelsea Collaborative every day looking for help translating court paperwork sent to them in English. She said the system seems to be set up so the most likely outcome is a missed hearing that leads to deportation rather than a chance to prove the need for asylum.
The work of the Chelsea Collaborative is featured as one of the top 14 stories from 2014. "[...] SURGE OF ILLEGAL MINORS CHALLENGE SCHOOLS, SERVICES
The City, its schools and its support structures struggles to get a grip on hundreds and hundreds of illegal immigrants and unaccompanied minors pouring into the City from Central America. Hundreds of new students have enrolled in the schools, particularly in the high school and middle schools. City officials, the Chelsea Collaborative and the Chelsea Public Schools attend a packed Summit on July 10 to hear about the issues and to hear from two people who recently arrived from El Salvador. They talked about a “War Tax” that had to be paid to violent street gangs or else they would harm or assault victims. The crisis in Chelsea corresponded to a crisis on the Texas border with Mexico, and many of the students coming to the Chelsea schools have arrived via the Border.[...]"
Chelsea proudly calls itself a city of immigrants.
There are thousands living and working there illegally, and on Thursday night Pres. Barack Obama gave them a reason to smile and cry tears of joy.
Watch the report
At Tito's Bakery, they watched Obama on TV and his speech was translated in Spanish
“I think it’s amazing,” Maria Belen said. “I think its six years too late.”
Lourdes Alvarado Chavez remembers her own good fortune.
“I came to this country when I was 11, and my parents became resident aliens when in 1986 amnesty came out.”
Obama said neither amnesty nor a path to citizenship is being offered.
The Chelsea Collaborative is looking to hire a full-time community organizer to work closely with the Director of Organizing in overseeing the City-wide Tenants Association (CTA). CTA works to prevent displacement, no-fault evictions, egregious rent hikes and fraudulent bank practices while striving to create healthy, safe and affordable housing for Chelsea residents.
We are in the midst of trying times and I know many of you - like all of us at the Collaborative - are afraid for your families, your neighbors, and your own safety. But take comfort knowing you stand with the entire Chelsea Collaborative and City of Chelsea behind you. Immigrants in Chelsea are here to stay. Here's how we will resist:
It is important for everyone to understand you do have rights when confronted or questioned by police or other officials. You have the right to remain silent, to request to speak to a lawyer, and to make a phone call if arrested. If the police or immigration come to your door, they must have a warrant and you have the right to not open the door until you see the warrant with your name on it.
This year's Annual May 1st March and Rally brought out hundreds of residents and activists advocating for workers' and immigrants' rights and social justice. The march also featured musical accompaniment by two local bands: The Second Line Marching Band and Banda de la Paz. At the rally at Piers Park in East Boston, the crowd listening to speakers including a striking Verizon worker, the President of the Taxi Drivers Association, a Dunkin Donuts worker engaged in the Fight for $15, an affected restaurant worker and local activists advocating for the full rights of immigrants and workers.
Chelsea Collaborative hosted a series of “Know your rights” community meetings focusing on immigration due to the nationwide fear of ICE (Immigration) raids. Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes has clarified that in the City of Chelsea there have been no such raids to date. The rumors have created a devastating fear in our community to the point of families are not going into work, not keeping their appointments and instilled fear towards local authorities. It is for this reason, that the Chelsea Collaborative assisted our immigrant community and public officials on how to best respond to these kind of rumors of “Raids.” The purpose is to educate all on an individual's rights as an immigrant and as a human being.
The Chelsea Collaborative has launched Citizenship Classes for Chelsea residents. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a Citizen and needs help with the application or preparing for the test, please contact Daisy Gonzalez at (617)889-6080x130 or DaisyG@chelseacollab.org.