This profile was last updated in 2014
The Massachusetts Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice, Inc. is a non-profit organization founded in 1997 that seeks to educate the public about the needs of working people, especially marginalized populations. The group also advocates for workers’ rights and assists those marginalized populations (for example, immigrant communities) with a variety of services. According to the 2003 description of the group on the United Way of Massachusetts Bay website, “since [the group’s] inception, [it has] worked in the campaigns for living wages for all and against sweatshop conditions, be they local or in foreign countries. [The group does] educational work on these issues, on the importance of the right to organize unions in the workplace, and on worker justice year around, speaking to the public and to congregations of faith. In the past year, increasing emphasis has been placed on support of community empowerment initiatives, especially through sponsorship and support of the Ana da Hora Workers Center in East Boston.”
The Ana da Hora Workers Center
The United Way of Massachusetts Bay website goes on to describe The Ana da Hora Workers Center, which “serves especially the growing community of Brazilian immigrants on the North Shore and other communities of Greater Boston. However, its services and membership are open to all immigrant workers and their families. The Center currently provides English as a Second Language (ESL) training and has initiated a legal services and advocacy program…Classes are taught by a team of dedicated and talented English-speaking volunteers, many of whom reside in the very same neighborhoods as the students. In addition to bringing low-cost Survival English classes to the immigrant population, the goal of the center is to foster a sense of community as well as to provide support for immigrants seeking legal assistance, advocacy on immigrant rights issues, employment, and housing.”
History of the Center
The description of the committee on the United Way of Massachusetts Bay website provides this history of the Ana da Hora Workers Center: “A Brazilian community organizer, Ms. Ana Maria da Hora, and an American physician, Dr. Jonathan Fine, knew that many Brazilian and Latino immigrants in East Boston and neighboring communities desperately needed to gain English language skills as well as knowledge about how to function in American society. In January of 2000, they discussed this idea with Rev. Robert Kennedy, the pastor at Saint Mary Star of the Sea Parish in East Boston. About three hundred Brazilians attend Mass each Sunday at Saint Mary’s, and thousands of Brazilian and other Latin American immigrants have taken up residence in East Boston and surrounding communities. Father Kennedy invited Ana da Hora and Jonathan Fine to begin teaching ‘Survival English’ in Saint Mary’s Hall on Saturday mornings back in 2000…[I]n the Spring Session of 2003, the center serve[d] 138 students every week in fourteen classes on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.”
Activities and Schedule
The center offers ESL classes Tuesday and Friday from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.. and on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the St. Mary Star of the Sea parish, where many Workers Center programs are held.
Information obtained from a description of the organization on the United Way of Massachusetts Bay website .