CATA staff assists workers in building their leadership capacity, analyzing the issues, and organizing actions for improvements at their job or in their communities. Over the years, workers have realized many victories, some big, some small, but always moving towards justice. Yet, despite the progress made, much more work is still left to be done.
As a testament to our ongoing commitment, this year, we've undertaken significant initiatives, including providing individual case support in 115 instances, addressing labor and health-related challenges. Additionally, our partnership with the University of Maryland on Project RESPIRAR has allowed us to meticulously document the living conditions of agricultural workers and assess the resulting health implications. These efforts represent just a glimpse of our continued dedication to the cause
Food Justice Program
CATA's Bridgeton Organic Community Garden grew this year by incorporating four new youth as Food Justice Interns – teaching them practical farming skills, building their food system analysis, and developing leadership skills. We also welcomed two former food Justice Interns to our staff, Felicita Susano Cristobal and Esmeralda Oloarte Arroyo, now food justice leaders at CATA.
In addition, the garden committee hosted weekly market days – distributed low-cost, organic produce in the community, and hosted cultural events. Around 90 members of the community visited us this year. We donated food to market visitors who showed a need - around 15 people. Starting next week on Thursdays, we plan to donate any leftovers produce grown at the garden to St.Teresa's or convert into value added items.
In 2023, our food justice team actively engaged in conferences, workshops, and rallies, promoting urban agriculture, food access, sustainability, and farmworker rights. Highlights include tabling at NOFA-NJ Winter Conference, leading youth wellness expos, participating in the Agroecology Summit and Immigrant Heritage Month Rally, presenting at the NOFA Summer Conference, giving a virtual Penn State talk, and addressing local youth community centers. These events expanded our network, skills, and mission outreach across multiple states.
CATA's community radio station, RadioCATA, has become an essential source of information for the Latino working community, sharing information on COVID-19, social supports and resources, state and federal assistance available, worker health and safety, and worker's rights.
We have a fantastic team of 4 Latinx volunteer DJs who host live radio shows. We also broadcast one podcasts from a partner organization.
Now, our signature radio show "Si Se Puede" goes live on Facebook (@radiocata) to reach a larger audience.
In addition, through a generous grant, we upgraded some of the equipment and rebuilt the studio space, strengthening our capacity as a community radio station.
Trenton Takeover 2023
In 2023, CATA continued its tireless advocacy for immigrant communities in NJ, PA and MD, pursuing efforts across multiple fronts, from policy reform to on-the-ground aid, to uphold and advance immigrant rights.
Campaigned with the Driving Pennsylvania Forward Coalition for universal driver's licenses in Pennsylvania, regardless of immigration status
Launched new campaign in New Jersey to win unemployment benefits for undocumented workers
Pushed to expand paid leave eligibility in New Jersey to workers without social security numbers
Worked with partners to advocate for legislation like the Temp Workers' Bill of Rights and against harmful bills like the Farm Workforce Modernization Act
Collaborated with the Lower Shore Vulnerable Populations Taskforce and others to coordinate vital services for immigrants like COVID-19 vaccines
Joined NJ Alliance for Immigrant Justice's Trenton Takeover on June 26th with ACLU-NJ, Thrive NJ Coalition, and allies. Advocated for abortion access, language rights, NJ Voting Rights Act, and more. Amplified voices for the rights of ALL New Jerseyans, regardless of immigration status.