Hello JwJers! I am Dominica Gonzalez and I am a new summer intern for Philadelphia Jobs with Justice. I just finished my first year at Smith College, but now I am home in Pennsylvania for the summer. I have worked a little with Western Massachusetts Jobs with Justice near my school, but I am eager to work more in depth with the Philadelphia chapter.
I have always been interested in social justice but it was not until this past year that I started organizing. At school, I was a part of Students for Social Justice and Institutional Change. We worked with SEIU Local 211, a union that included my college’s dining hall and housekeeping workers. This year the college was renegotiating their contracts and attempted to cut wages and reduce benefits, even though the workers are currently making significantly less than the living wage in Northampton, Massachusetts. We stood in solidarity with them by organizing actions and, since we are a student organization, we were able to use school funding to print hundreds of campaign pamphlets to distribute to the student body.
Also, I was part of a newly formed group at school called Organizing for Undocumented Students (OUS). We ran a series of campaigns to push the college to change their admissions and financial aide practices towards undocumented students. We have successfully pressured the college into advertising their undocumented student admissions policy on the admissions website, although we are still pushing for more detailed information on the website. The group is progressing quite quickly, many major decision makers are aware and in communication with our group, such as the Vice President of Enrollment, the Student Government Association, and the college President. We now have a strong network of Students, Alumni and Faculty. We have also been in close contact with Freedom University, a program that offers free college level classes to Undocumented students in Atlanta, Georgia. We have also made a tumblr to encourage higher education reform for undocumented students all over the nation.
I am passionate about labor and immigration issues. I also love photography, so you will probably meet me with a camera in hand. I am really excited to work hard and learn a lot this summer.
In Solidarity, Dominica Gonzalez