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Join VOZ! A worker-led organization that empowers diverse day laborers and immigrants to improve their working condition and protect civil rights through leadership development, organizing, education and economic opportunity.

JAN  15

Paul Riek‎ to Voz Workers' Rights Education Project

March 8 at 12:44pm · 

A TRIBUTE TO ROMEO SOSA (by Valerie Chapman):

In a chance encounter I learned that Romeo Sosa was leaving VOZ. I can’t imagine VOZ without Romeo even though I know that things change and that after 13 years of fighting for the rights of the poor and oppressed against the powers that oppress, Romeo may have given all that he can to the organization.

But what a gift he has been.

I first knew Romeo when he came to work as an assistant in St. Francis Dining Hall. A staff person with good Spanish language skills was needed to help with the many Spanish speaking day laborers who came to the hall each day. In a very short time Romeo distinguished himself as a person with unique communication and organizing skills. His style was gentle, inclusive and collaborative. It is often difficult for men to work in St. Francis Dining Hall. It takes a person who really knows how to be available to people, to serve without being demeaning or becoming too directive; someone who knows how to walk with people who are struggling to survive in difficult circumstances. This is something Romeo understands well having left his own country after enduring years of civil unrest and war as a young man.(He has a very moving story if you ever get the chance to hear it.)

Romeo organized chess tournaments and used his considerable talent as an artist to bring culture into the lives of the poor who came to eat each day at St. Francis. Romeo enjoyed people and worked especially well as part of a team…another skill that many in our culture can find difficult. When the time came for the Director of the Dining Hall to leave Romeo stepped into the roll of Director and led the hall during some tense times as the neighborhood began to gentrify. After several years in the position Romeo had the opportunity to go to work for VOZ, a position that he was suited to by nature as well as heart.

At that time, VOZ was a project of St. Francis Parish so Romeo moved from one part of the Campus to the other. Work with the immigrant population has never been easy but Romeo was gifted at it. He understood the needs and dreams of the men who came from far away looking for a better life and who were at the same time discriminated against. Romeo put his heart into the work. As the Director of VOZ Romeo also had to spend hours developing relationships with neighbors, with business people, with potential employers, with lawyers and immigration rights workers, with the police and government officials as well as the funders who made it possible for VOZ to survive. While VOZ was part of St. Francis, Romeo and the Advisory Board worked diligently to learn everything they could about the non-profit world because the dream was to become an independent 501c3 organization.

It is possible that some who work with VOZ today do not know of the tremendous effort the transition to independence took. After the 911 attack available funding for immigrant projects was gutted. For every step forward there was at least one step back. The church community was not affluent enough to fully support VOZ although they kept it going on a minimal basis. The funding situation was looking a lot better when Romeo came on board as the Director of VOZ until the recession of 2008 created havoc in the funding world once again.

Working long hours to compensate for a lack of money for more staff, Romeo directed the organization through this hard time never letting go of the dream of independence. Romeo’s style has always been counter to the dominant hierarchical culture of the US. He is a collaborator and a listener. He talks to people and draws on their wisdom. He comes from a communal culture that knows how to bring people together and Romeo persisted at this style allowing the voices of all the staff, the volunteers and the day laborers to be part of the mix. This process takes time, time that people in the dominant culture are reluctant to take because they want things fixed immediately. But the work of creating a strong inclusive community makes for a stable organization over time.

Romeo’s work paid off. The work of the board and the staff and the day laborers paid off. VOZ realized the dream of independence and opened the hire sited almost at the same time. And the victories continue. Just recently I heard that the dream of a permanent site has come much closer to reality.

I do not want to diminish the work of the Board or Executive Committee or staff or the many integral volunteers. I know how hard they all have worked. For years I was part of the Board of VOZ and saw that up close. But for the past 13 years the heart of VOZ has been Romeo, silently working into the night on grants or budgets, preparing for site visits, pondering staff needs and trying to figure out the best way forward without ever forgetting the reason for the existence of VOZ: the men who need work in a harsh and often foreign land. As a small non-profit without an overarching organization to look to for advice, the leadership of VOZ has had to be very self-reliant, looking only to friends and advisors and to those who are part of the community to figure things out when times were tough. Working in the office in a building too far away from the Hire Site to be seen every day, Romeo’s diligence, devotion to the work and perseverance through many good times as well as tense situations could easily have been overlooked by those who came late to the organization. Romeo worked with the May Day Committee, helped organize the largest immigrant March ever held in Portland, participated in numerous City and Non-Profit coalitions for justice and has been a significant person in this community in ways too numerous to list.

As Romeo leaves to go on to make a difference through some other important work I felt the need to write this tribute to him. I know him as an artist, a storyteller, an organizer; as a facilitator and collaborator who stands on principles of justice, speaks at least five languages, knows how to get things done, understands the lessons of history, … and a man who has given a great deal of himself to VOZ and the day laborers.

May God Bless him in his future endeavors and May God Bless VOZ in the coming days without him.

Valerie Chapman, D. Min.
Retired Pastoral Administrator of St. Francis Parish

We #Standupfightback against Injustice.

WE are taking the streets on Martin Luther King Jr.'s day of birth.
WE celebrate and continue his efforts by standing TOGETHER through
the physical OCCUPATION of intersections in downtown Portland.
WE are coming together to visually express the importance of intersectionality in the fight for Justice. WE take a stand against all
legalized violence and oppression!

"One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws"- MLK Jr.

This is a collaboration of organizations, movements, and individuals that work in our communities to engage and resist legalized oppression. We come together on this day to synergize our efforts into a larger community movement of CHANGE MAKERS. We come together on this day to share the work we are doing, and will continue to do as long as there is systemic oppression.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" - MLK Jr.

Join the movement! Share the work and effort of your organization and community through visual occupation, conversations with passerby's, and by sharing ways in which we are all connected. Let's lift our fights for justice, hand in hand.

Here is the GROWING list of community organizations, new and timeless, that will be occupying their right to SOAPBOX in SOLIDARITY for SOCIAL JUSTICE.

Please MESSAGE the page for ways YOU and the organization you are a part of can be involved!

Join Don't Shoot Portland!

Join Right 2 Survive! A direct action group that educates both houseless and housed people on their civil, human, and constitutional rights. We also work to bridge the gap between housed and un-housed people by clearing away misconceptions and stigmas associated with houselessness and empower houseless people to stand up for them selves when their rights are violated.

Join Sisters Of The Road! Existing to build authentic relationships and alleviate the hunger of isolation in an atmosphere of nonviolence and gentle personalism that nurtures the whole individual, while seeking systemic solutions that reach the roots of homelessness and poverty to end them forever.

Join Portland Tenants United! The mission of Portland Tenants United is to empower and organize tenants through direct action to challenge oppressive housing policies and practices and to demand housing stability, security, and dignity for all tenants in the Portland Metro area.

Join VOZ! A worker-led organization that empowers diverse day laborers and immigrants to improve their working condition and protect civil rights through leadership development, organizing, education and economic opportunity.

Join Right 2 Dream Too! A nonprofit organization operating a space where people can rest or sleep safely and undisturbed.

Join Western Regional Advocacy Project! Created to expose and eliminate the root causes of civil and human rights abuses of people experiencing poverty and homelessness in our communities.

Please join all of the collaborative efforts taking place on the 15th !

There is a Rally and March TO City Hall, more information in event link:

And the finale of our day will be AT City Hall for a Rally and March beginning at 4:30pm, more information in event link:

NOV 19
1220 SW 3rd Avenue Portland, OR 97204-2825

 We invite you to join Voz and the Portland Immigrants Rights Coalition (PIRC) to observe the anniversary of presidential announcement on immigration with a Vigil to Demand Relief for Targeted Families. This is part of #Not1More National Week of Action.

In what should be a moment to mark the impact of relief for nearly half the undocumented community, instead will be a day of protest in multiple cities calling on the President to address the rogue enforcement and inhumane impact of unjust deportations that have continued since his November 20th, 2014 executive action on immigration.





Build network of Voz

Grow relationships between day laborers and community members

Have fun!






Voz Workers’ Rights Education Project is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization. All donations are tax deductible and our EIN is: 26-1357376


To buy seats, a table, to register, or for any question please contact VOZ at:

 (503) 233-6787

1131 Se Oak St, Portland, Oregon 97214
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