The Pioneer Valley Workers’ Center builds power with low-wage and immigrant workers throughout Western Massachusetts. Together, we organize to build community and win real change in the lives of working people.
BREAKING: After 71 days behind bars, immigration rights leader and youth organizer Eduardo Samaniego was denied bond for his release on December 27, 2018.
Sign this petition to demand his release now.
Eduardo is a national leader widely recognized for his strong voice calling for recognition of DREAMers and all immigrants in the US. He was held in Robert A. Deyton Detention Facility in Lovejoy, GA, where his health and wellness had been deteriorating rapidly. On 12/28, he was transferred to the medical wing at Irwin Detention facility 3 hours from Atlanta. Though his bond hearing was originally set for January 3, Eduardo’s lawyer learned with less than 24 hours notice that the hearing would be moved to December 27th. Like other immigration activists nationwide, Eduardo is being targeted for his work.
Eduardo is a well known and much-loved leader with deep ties to his community in both Georgia and Massachusetts. Eduardo studied at Hampshire College where he also served on the College Board of Trustees. Through his organizing for immigrant rights with the Pioneer Valley Workers Center, Eduardo has worked closely with Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern and Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and many more. He has worked with hundreds of faith leaders and religious communities. We are committed to supporting Eduardo throughout his immigration proceedings.
Eduardo’s health is very precarious. Two years ago, while studying at Hampshire College, Eduardo was the victim of a near-fatal gas explosion at an apartment building in Georgia and suffered burns over 45% of his body. He continues to suffer mentally and physically from this incident. He is not receiving proper medication or care while in detention. Further, he is extremely isolated due to being held in a high-security facility; visits with friends and loved ones are very limited. Eduardo’s health and survival are suffering in detention.
We call for Eduardo’s immediate release on bond so that he can pursue all legal remedies.
We are proud to work closely with Lucio Perez and Irida Kakhtiranova, who have taken physical sanctuary in local churches. We are honored to work with faith leaders and people of faith at both the First Church Amherst and the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence. Both of these brave individuals are currently are fighting their deportation cases from the safety of sanctuary in faith congregations, alongside their families and communities.
We support Lucio and Irida and their home faith communities through organizing around their campaigns. Taking physical sanctuary is a form of resistance to the state violence and the deportation machine, lived and fought 24-hour a day. Join us in supporting their work!
Donate to support Irida's family and legal costs here.
Supporting Our Workers
Rideshare and Accompinament Trainings
The Pioneer Valley Workers Center's Sanctuary in the Streets (SiS) network seeks build the trust and solidarity needed to confront injustice. Through SiS's solidarity programs, we provide direct support to worker leaders to promote organizing.
Join our network through participating in our Rideshare or Court Accompaniment programs! In order to be part of this network, you must join us for one of our orientations. If you've already been trained for the rideshare, you can sign up for accompaniment only. Please see below for signup information!
Driving is essential, but many of our members are not able to drive for a variety of reasons. Rideshare drivers participate in a one-hour training and are then notified of opportunities to drive community leaders when needed. Many of the rides are specifically to support Lucio Perez, living in sanctuary at First Church Amherst to fight his deportation case. Drivers support his family in visiting him, in addition to providing support to other community members. With at least 10 rides per week, we always need more dedicated drivers!
Immigrant community member’s sometimes request that someone accompany them to an appointment with Immigration officials or to a court date. In today's political climate, these meetings can be very scary, and indeed sometimes do lead to deportations. Volunteers will assist the immigrant community member by providing a ride, helping locate the appropriate office, providing support, observing and taking notes on the proceedings, and communicating with the Workers Center about the meeting's outcome. Familiarity with Spanish or other languages is useful but not necessary. Please join our one-hour training to participate in accompanying Immigrant Community Members to appointments. We hope to develop a large enough pool that we can always find someone available to fill each request.
There are no trainings scheduled right now, but you can still get involved.
Email rideshare: email@example.com
Email accompaniment: firstname.lastname@example.org
We have bilingual volunteer opportunities and phone responder trainings for Sanctuary in the Streets
Learn how you can help with:
- Court accompaniment
- Interpreting for meetings & events
- Rideshare coordinating
- Answering the Sanctuary in the Streets Hotline
Justice Cup 2018, Monday October 8th
The Justice Cup is our annual summer soccer tournament. Teams from Holyoke to Greenfield play soccer, enjoy good food, and celebrate the amazing social justice work being done across the Pioneer Valley. You don’t have to play soccer to come and enjoy the fun. The tournament also provides a platform for local workers to lift their voices and speak up at the mic about their experiences on the job.
Keep an eye on our website and our Facebook page for updates!
Why have a Workers Center?
The Pioneer Valley prides itself on being a hub of the local food movement which values sustainability, buying local, and fair trade, yet the jobs of those who serve food in its restaurants are characterized by low wages, few benefits, discrimination, no voice at work, and little opportunity for advancement.
Currently it is employers and consumers who dominate the dialogue around the food systems in our region while the voices and interests of workers are left unheard.
In the absence of grassroots base-building that seeks to connect and organize diverse groups of restaurant workers, there is little opportunity to engage in the direct action needed to create the systemic change that improves conditions for all food workers.