Latina bikes 1,600 miles to raise money for workers power group
Ana Guajardo founded the Centro de Trabajadores Unidos to help immigrants and workers in southeast Chicago, and fundraise for the CTU.
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Fifteen years ago, Ana Guajardo began a mission to organize and build the power of immigrant and worker power. Now she has embarked on a 1,600 mile bike ride to build a new center to turn her local organization into a powerful force for advocacy.
Guajardo is both co-founder and member of the Centro de Trabajadores Unidos, a grassroots organization that helps organize labor, provide legal assistance to workers, and offer leadership training to parents to help them work with teachers on their child’s education.
In order to raise funds for the new building, Guajardo began traveling from Monterey, Mexico on July 1, all the way to South Chicago where she is expected to arrive July 30. This fundraiser trip, named Bike-4-Justice, follows the same path her father took as an undocumented immigrant who crossed the border and made a new life in Chicago.
“My father walked across the border undocumented,” she said to Latino Rebel. “It was important for me to start this journey in Monterrey, where my father started his journey to Chicago years ago.”
These funds would go to help the Centro de Trabajadores Unidos construct a new two floor center in southeastern Chicago. The first floor is planned to provide a meeting space and give room to training centers and help immigrants with citizenship applications. The second floor is planned to serve as temporary housing for recently arrived immigrants.
Although the CTU has planned to build this new building since 2014, when they were granted a building with 4,300 square feet, because the administration of Illinois recently cut a large portion of the grant funding they offered to smaller organizations like the CTU, holding them back.
“Two months ago, I decided to leave my post in the organization as the executive director, but right now I am helping them in the construction of the new office building,” Guajardo said.
As co-founder of the CTU, she has sought to solve the many problems and issues that occur nationwide over immigration. She cites how many people have been deported and how many labor violations have happened in the CTU’s area. She says that labor violations have become so bad that a major employer in Illinois recently shut down and relocated to Indiana, leaving many without jobs.
Her journey has attracted the attention of Illinois Congressman Chuy García, who made a tweet to spread word of her fundraising work.
Guajardo’s Bike-4-Justice campaign is seeking to raise $20,000. At the time of this writing it has raised nearly $4,000. They are accepting donations either through purchasing entries to the fundraiser’s raffle, or by direct donation. She is also accepting donations through her Facebook campaign.