Migrants from Centreville Labor Resource Center Share Stories

Migrants from Centreville Labor Resource Center Share Stories

On April 7, Mason students welcomed guests from the Centreville Labor Resource Center (CLRC). The CLRC is a non-profit organization that serves both migrant laborers and the business community in Northern Virginia.

The mission and everyday operations were explained by the CLRC's director, Molly Maddra-Santiago. Molly is a Mason graduate, holding a B.A. in Spanish and an M.A. in Global Affairs. She has been with CLRC since its opening in 2011, first as training and education coordinator, and now as the Director.

The mission of the CLRC is to provide a safe, organized Center where residents and job contractors can negotiate work arrangements with day laborers. For members of the CLRC, the center also provides ongoing educational and vocational training workshops.

One of the key issues the center focuses on is the elimination and prevention of wage theft—when workers do not get paid by employers after a job is completed. This is a problem many migrant laborers face. Given that workers are often in vulnerable positions, they feel they have no recourse.

The highlight of the evening was the opportunity to hear directly from two migrant laborers affiliated with the CLRC. Both came to Northern Virginia from Guatemala. They shared stories of their journeys to the US, including why and how they crossed the border to come here. Their stories detailed the enormous risks and challenges they faced and the difficulties of leaving loved ones behind.