[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="233" caption="Image from Jobs With Justice"][/caption] As the Take Back the American Dream conference approaches, we will highlight some of the amazing people speaking in DC next week. (For those who can't make it in person - don't worry, we'll live stream the conference right here at www.rebuildthedream.com!) To start us off, Tuesday's morning plenaries will include a talk on "Jobs, Justice and the American Dream" from Ai-Jen Poo, founder of Domestic Workers United (DWU) and director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Since 1996, Ai-Jen has fought for one of the most marginalized and vulnerable labor groups in American society - domestic workers. DWU promotes justice for over 200,000 women domestic workers in the New York Metropolitan Area. DWU garnered so much support and momentum that the group was able to pressure the New York State legislature to pass the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights last year, giving basic labor protections to the women who work day after day to make the lives of others run smoothly. These predominantly women and often immigrant laborers work grueling hours to clean the bathrooms, make the beds, and nurture the children of some of the richest families in New York, yet they endure some of the lowest wages and most punishing work conditions of any in our society. The time they invest in other families often comes at the expense of their own well-being and the well-being of their children. Ai-Jen has emerged as a firm voice for social justice while uplifting the dignity of all people involved - both the domestic care workers and the wealthy families to whom they provide care. She sees the demands of the labor movement as intertwined with the needs of all Americans - fair wages, good jobs, decent housing, and increased accountability on the part of banks and corporations. In an interview with the Ms. Foundation for Women, Ai-Jen described how DWU's work to educate domestic workers and foster community activism is part of the national struggle. “We need much more organization at a grassroots level to build a broad-based mass movement across communities, across sectors, in the interests of poor and working people,” she said. “Then, and only then, will we be able to put into place policies that really are about the interests of our families, of our communities, that are about respecting all forms of work, particularly women’s work, and about human rights and dignity for all.”
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