The New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice was born out of Hurricane Katrina to bring immigrants and African Americans together on issues of immigration and economic justice. NOWCRJ’s work expands participatory democracy through building the power and participation of poor people across color lines. The Congress of Day Laborers, one of NOWCRJ’s four major programs, anchors critical campaigns to preserve and expand bedrock civil, labor and human rights in the context of immigration enforcement.
BreakOUT! seeks to end the criminalization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth to build a safer and more just New Orleans. BreakOUT! builds on the rich cultural tradition of resistance in the South to build the power of LGBTQ and people directly impacted by the criminal justice system through youth organizing, healing justice, and leadership development programs.
The LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund’s grant supports the Congress of Day Laborers and BreakOUT! in their partnership, particularly through working on the campaign From VICE to ICE. BreakOUT! and Congreso created the From VICE to ICE campaign to recognize and more fully explore the deep connections and overlaps between immigrants, people of color, low-wage workers, LGBTQ people, and youth in New Orleans. Through meeting together, learning from one another’s structures and procedures, conducting actions together, supporting one another’s work, and fighting the collusion between ICE and the New Orleans Police Department, the partner organizations are building trust and working towards a roadmap for the South in regards to immigration and LGBTQ justice.