From Queens to Princeton
7th September 2016
I was very fortunate to spend the morning in Queens with Adhikaar, a group established in 2005 who strive to improve the lives of the Nepali community and help get their voices heard within the social justice movement. Irene (an organiser for the National Domestic Workers Association) held a workshop on the history of domestic workers examining their their lack of rights and problems faced over the centuries. From post slavery to colonialism to early capitalism and the civil rights movement, a lot was to be learnt at that table. I have a degree in history, was taught it both back home as well as when I was living in here in America and this was a whole different perspective on American history for me…
Round the table there were a diverse range of women with many different backgrounds, one explained how back home in Nepal she was a human Rights lawyer however, worked here as a nanny. Many of the older women explained they left a war torn country to come here for a better life, the younger women round the table explained the aftermath of the war, that it had left an unstable government as well as a weak economy. Whilst here many of them suffered discrimination or injustices of some sort and decided to come together with one common goal, to make their lives better and their communities a fairer and safer places place to be. They had already worked hard to establish a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights to ensure better conditions i.e. a minimum wage, better health and safety standards etc. for domestic workers. They continue to work hard and support their community providing English classes as well social events and even ‘know your rights’ workshops…. (Sounds familiar right?)
After I went to meet Seán In Jersey City following his meeting with Jersey City Together and from there we drove to Princeton University where we had dinner with some of Frank’s friends who were activists in different fields and plotting all sorts. Now we are off to Brooklyn for more learning… Never stops!