WWJ’s COVID-19 Outreach team has been “out and about” in Will County providing information about our services and COVID-19 essentials, including COVID home testing kits and KN95 masks. In the beginning of April, WWJ partnered with Spanish Community Center, Lighthouse Church of All Nations, and Holsten Human Capital Development (HHCD) for their weekly food pantries. Passing out more than 400 food boxes, WWJ has been able to have over 100 conversations with community members and warehouse workers on Covid-19 vaccine and testing information, housing assistance and workers’ rights.
WWJ has also attended a few community events, including one with our partners at United African Organization (UAO) for their Chicago African Summit and Community Resource Fair. Between April and May, WWJ in total has distributed 400 PPE kits and 250 COVID-19 home test kits. We continuously thank our Will County partners and navigators for their work and efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. For more information on our outreach work or on our services, visit our website at: https://wwjworkeroutreach.org/
WWJ co-hosted and attended the Vaccination Clinic at St. Peter Lutheran Church, spearheaded by the Will County Health Department. We proudly provided community members with legal resources, as well as PPE kits and at-home covid tests. WWJ also assisted The Salvation Army in distributing food boxes at the drive through food pantry, where over one 100 boxes were distributed. Lastly, WWJ attended the Civil Legal Aid, R3, & Restorative Justice community resource fair, as a community partner, hosted by Prairie State Legal Services where community members were able to learn about the resources offered in Will County, as well as sign up for legal referrals and receive PPE kits.
Food Worker Justice
Food Worker Justice Director Tommy Carden was a panelist in the Food Chain Alliance session at the 2022 Labor Notes Conference. Additionally, WWJ organizers Nick Domberg, Felix Ortiz, Brandin McDonald, and Violeta Thompson participated in HEAL’s School of Political Leadership program, a six month long program supporting teams of leaders in the food justice movement. Nick, Brandin, Felix, and Violeta brought their experiences as former warehouse workers and Joliet community members to design a campaign plan to support workers seeking to leverage the Good Food Purchasing Policy in organizing fights against low pay and inadequate working conditions.
On June 5th, just days before the Biden Administration and global leaders met in LA for the Summit of the Americas, WWJ’s Environmental Justice staff and leaders joined members of the national Moving Forward Network on kayaks outside the port of LA/Long Beach, the nation's largest container port, to demand clean air for portside communities of color. Warehouse workers, their families, and environmental justice communities at the fenceline of freight pollution from the warehouse industry demand zero emissions NOW, from Joliet to Newark to LA. The land and labor of our communities creates massive profits for the warehouse industry, and warehouse workers deserve to have clean air and good jobs in return. #ZeroMustMeanZero
As part of the WWJ/TWUAP partnership with Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH), COVID-19 and Worker Rights outreach continues with organizers Bobby and Brandin in the communities of Bedford Park, Park Forest, Melrose Park, Olympia Fields, Markham, Dolton & Harvey for TWUAP. PPE kits and COVID-19 prevention and awareness materials were distributed to workers in those south suburban communities.
TWUAP continues to build relationships with allies within the labor movement. Director Jannelle White who serves on the advisory committee for The DePaul University Labor Education Center, attended their annual Fundraiser on June 2nd. She also attended the appointment of the new Executive Director of the Illinois Latino Caucus, Oswaldo Alvarez in May. TWUAP recently accepted an invitation to speak before a panel on “healthy work” virtually with the US Department of Labor.
WWJ thanks all our allies and supporters for a successful kickoff campaign and open mic night fundraiser in support of our Record Relief Solidarity Fund. We raised even more than our goal of $5,000 to go towards our sealing and expungement program. If you missed the kickoff campaign, you can still support the Record Relief Solidarity Fund and listen to stories from workers who have successfully cleared their records here. Connection to sealing and expungement services can be life-changing, and we’re excited to help more workers get their records cleared!
WWJ’s reach continues to expand. We’re grateful for each follower, like, comment and share. All of your engagement helps to amplify the work our teams are doing to serve Chicagoland working class communities. In an effort to streamline how WWJ disseminates information about our events, actions and ongoing outreach, we’re excited to roll out the newly reformatted quarterly newsletter. We invite you to stay connected with us via our email listserv and various social media accounts. If you have questions feel free to reach out to our Communications Team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org!