Happy New Year - Feliz año nuevo!
Another year, another chance to look back at all we've accomplished this year. As we head into the new year, this gives us a chance to pause and reflect on our work, our mission, and our impact. We are grateful to our volunteers, community members, and partnerships with several organizations throughout the state who have contributed their time, energy, and resources to support Mano's mission. We are proud of our impact this year directly working with migrant and seasonal workers, farm and factory workers, parents, and children.
Here are highlights we'd like to share with you:
- Access to Essential Services: we had 602 office visits, home visits, or calls with 918 people to help support basic needs, health housing, employment, civil rights, referrals to other organizations, and more.
- Community Capacity: Spanish only or bi-lingual workshops were led or co-led by community leaders to highlight knowledge within the community, including sexual health, financial literacy, forming a supportive all-women’s group, and sharing cooking traditions as a way to celebrate and pass on culture to future generations.
- Leadership Development: members from Nuestra Voz set the direction of our advocacy programming, designed agendas, and co-facilitated meetings. They expressed more autonomy and ownership over the group, raised their voices louder and asked harder questions of staff, allies, and local institutions.
Community Organizing: community members marched in solidarity in New York City with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) national call for action against sexual violence and human right abuses in the food/supply chain. This energy was further expended a week later at a convivio (community potluck) hosted to share stories and reflections from the march back to community leaders in Downeast Maine.
- Coalition Building: we collaborated with local and state partners on worker rights, immigrant rights, domestic violence, child poverty, education and environmental issues. We invested our time and knowledge in and to hold partners and institutions accountable to equitably serving immigrants of all statuses, farmworkers, and communities of color.
- Worker Rights: staff advocated directly with workers particularly in instances of worker exploitation, sexual harassment, wage theft, and unfair labor practices.
Read our recent press release about wreath workers, "Your Christmas Wreaths are Built on the Backs of Exploited Workers / Tus Coronas Navideñas son Hecas en las Espaldas de Trabajadores Explotados"
- Welcoming: we value the work, presence, and contributions of migrant workers that contribute so much to our state. We mobilized resources (clothing, food, etc.) and services (legal, healthcare, etc.) at our 2nd Annual Welcome & Resource Center which were visited 679 times over six days by over 500 wreath and forestry workers. We approach this work not as charity, but as filling a gap that workers themselves would be able to fill if they were getting paid a living wage.
- Community Bridges: we are grateful for our unique role to build cross cultural bridges in the community by hosting events that celebrate and share cultures such as El Día de las Madres (Mother’s Day), the first Día del Padre (Father’s Day) convivio and soccer game, Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), and our end of year celebration La Posada.
At Mano, we like to say it takes a village and this year was no different. We need your support to continue our work - we need to raise $15,000 by December 31, 2018 to continue to support the efforts and energy of immigrants and farmworkers right here in Downeast Maine. And we can’t do this work without you.
Help us reach our goal of $15,000 by making a tax-deductible donation by December 31st. Your donation directly sustains and strengthens our impact in Maine.
Earlier this month, in collaboration with Nuestra Voz en la Comunidad and Christmas on Main Street, we hosted our annual La Posada End of Year Celebration on Saturday, December 1st in Milbridge.
Families from throughout Washington County took part in kids activities including a crafts and activities table, and piñatas.
There was an array of home cooked meals shared for the potluck and afterwards kids were treated to an assortment of goody bags with candy and toys. At the later half of the evening, there was a raffle giveaways, music and dancing. We welcomed folks who come year after year and welcomed new faces.
We accomplished a lot in 2018, thanks for another year of support and for spending time together at our end of the year celebration. We enjoyed a presentation by one of the Nuestra Voz members on how to make traditional Puerto Rican desserts, had a homemade Mexican dinner, did a gift exchange, and celebrated el Dia de las Velitas by lighting candles and setting good intentions into 2019.