Liberal Arts Career Services
Liberal Arts Career Services

Workers Defense Project

Spring 2011 Site Review

Position: Community Organizing Intern
Student: International Relations/Chinese Junior

For those aspiring to fight for social justice by building coalitions, coordinating direct actions and uniting the community to stand up together to make change, interning as a community organizer at the Workers Defense Project is an invaluable experience. Not only will you be thrust into the world of fighting for better labor standards and protection for construction workers, you will play a role in the success of a movement that spans languages and borders—the fight for justice for the working class.

A typical day is dependent on the needs of the Workers Defense Project. Functioning not only as a dynamic worker center, but also a community center, I have had the opportunity to organize a variety of events. I have organized everything from a Faith in Action Night, an event to bring religious leaders of different faiths to speak on the importance of respecting worker rights, to Fire for the People, a hip-hop showcase of musicians supporting grassroots movements during SXSW, to the giant Day of the Fallen March, a 500+ person march to the capitol to bring attention to lack of worker safety in Texas. Each is unique and serves a different purpose, all while falling under the broad umbrella of ‘community organizing.’ A day in the life includes preparing the next big event, but also building coalitions to develop long-term relationships with other organizations. My hours are based on what is needed to get the job done to make sure that an action is successful.  I attend Central Labor Council meetings and have made announcements at all the Building and Trades Council member unions in the Austin area. Although much of the time involves going over details of actions, meeting with different organizers and confirming commitment from allies, it has been humbling to see what all goes into planning a successful direct action.

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    University of Texas at Austin
    FAC 18
    2304 Whitis Ave. Stop G6200
    Austin, Texas 78712-1508