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Letters to the editor/reporter news.

The March cover story, "The Go-Between," which focused on Jose L. Oliva of the Chicago Interfaith Workers' Rights Center, explained well the current social and political obstacles faced by immigrant workers in Chicago. However, in focusing solely on one person from one organization, the article did not accurately portray our community's responses to these obstacles.

In reporting upon Chicago's immigrant worker movement, the focus must be directed on the workers themselves, their contributions, and the risks that they take as very low-income, and often undocumented, people.

With this in mind, we find it problematic that the day laborers of Albany Park and their organization, the Latino Union of Chicago, founded in 2000 by immigrant workers, were not featured. The Chicago Interfaith is one organization in a coalition, spearheaded by day laborers and the Latino Union, which is on the streets with these workers day-to-day, aiding them in negotiating with police and angry neighbors as well as facilitating the workers in representing themselves.

While the article succeeded in unraveling the complexities of labor abuse and the problems certain government agencies are having in confronting them, the important nuances of our community's response to this reality were left out.

While Mr. Oliva is an integral ally in this struggle, immigrant workers like the day laborers in Albany Park are doing much more for themselves than depending on him as a 'go-between.' At the grassroots level, there is much more resistance and much more work being done than reflected in your report.

Jessica Aranda

Executive Director

Martin Atilano

Board President

Latino Union of Chicago

The intent and content of the article, "The Go-Between," is superb. We measure successful media coverage in three distinct ways: Does it raise the overall consciousness of the reader/viewer/listener about the issue? Does it help build the organization (particularly by providing positive insight as to the processes that are being funded)? And, does it help build the movement? Personally, I believe the article clearly achieves the first two, but sometimes focusing on an individual can minimize the efforts of others involved in the work.

Jose L. Oliva


Chicago Interfaith Workers' Rights Center
COPYRIGHT 2004 Community Renewal Society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Author:Oliva, Jose L.
Publication:The Chicago Reporter
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Jun 1, 2004
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