For three days this past weekend, over 400 domestic workers from around the country gathered in our nation’s capital for our 2012 National Congress. It was an historic event, with domestic workers from over thirty organizations and twenty-two states coming together to build our movement
Every National Congress is important because we learn from one another, strengthen our relationships and discuss how we will continue building our power — in five languages! This Congress was our largest and most successful gathering yet, marking the beginning of the commemoration of our 5th anniversary. We built a timeline to celebrate NDWA’s history and the many workers who played a role in that history. We shared our stories on video in a story booth. And on Saturday night, after a celebration banquet, we shared songs, dances and skits at a Domestic Worker Talent Show!
On the first day of the Congress, NDWA members participated in over twenty workshops covering topics from international domestic worker organizing to climate change to labor trafficking. We strengthened our leadership and partnerships in the Caring Across Generations campaign with a plenary featuring speakers from the National Council on Aging, the National Council on Independent Living, the Service Employees International Union and NDWA member Latino Union of Chicago, and with a series of workshops, including a packed session on disability justice, ableism and solidarity in care work.
On Sunday afternoon and Monday, NDWA joined with National People’s Action for our joint national conference in DC. Over a thousand strong, we held a joint indoor rally to “Put People First,” then took to the streets to demand a more just and caring economy. At one action, NDWA Organizer Maria Reyes spoke movingly about losing her home to Bank of America’s predatory lending practices and led the crowd in singing “No Nos Moveran” (“We Shall Not Be Moved”). At another, we took over three branches of Wells Fargo to ask that they stop investing in privatized immigrant detention centers and lobbying against immigration reform. Two members from Alabama, one of whom had been detained, shared their stories of living in constant fear of being separated from their children, bringing the crowd to tears. We came together with people from across the 99% spectrum — rural families facing foreclosures, people living with HIV, students drowning in debt, and more.
It was a powerful three days, and we are all returning to our local organizing full of energy and inspiration. You can share in the experience by viewing (and sharing) our photo album on Facebook
Thank you for building this movement together with us.
— The members, leaders and staff of the National Domestic Workers Alliance
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