Damayan Awarded the 9th Annual Outten and Golden Public Interest Award

DAMAYAN MIGRANTS | March 06, 2018

New York, NY - Surrounded by Damayan Board members, staff, leaders, members, friends, and supporters, Damayan Executive Director Linda Oalican was delighted to receive the 9th Annual Outten and Golden (O&G) Public Interest Award last night in O&G’s Upper East Side office.

O&G is a highly prestigious employment law firm that has honored at least one exceptional nonprofit each year since 2010. This year, O&G honored Damayan for their work fighting for the civil rights of vulnerable groups, specifically Filipino migrant workers and labor trafficking survivors. Past honorees included AdhikaarBrandworkers, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Make the Road New York, and NICE, among others.

Atty. Kathleen Peratis opened the program and shared about the Public Interest Awards, and Atty. Wayne Outten, O&G Founding and Managing Partner, presented the award and check worth $10,000.00 to Ms. Oalican.

“In New York City, Damayan is leading the fight against labor and human trafficking, and we are winning,” Ms. Oalican said. “Through grassroots organizing, partnership with labor and immigration attorneys, alliances with sister organizations, and by empowering survivors to become social justice leaders, we have shown that trafficked workers can win and hold traffickers accountable, even if they’re diplomats.”

Holding back her tears, Damayan organizer and labor trafficking survivor Edith Mendoza also shared how Damayan, in cooperation with a partner agency, helped her sue her former employers, German diplomats Pit and Mareike Koehlers, and win her trafficking visa.

“Through Damayan, I found my passion to serve the people. I became a community organizer and, by organizing, I found my self-respect and dignity. I also found out that I could be a fighter against labor trafficking and modern day slavery,” Ms. Mendoza said.

Damayan members who attended were beaming with pride and joy, and some even traveled from Upstate New York and Maryland. Close friends and supporters also joined in the festivities, including Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center, Eisner and Dictor P.C., Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)Asian American Impact FundNational Domestic Workers AllianceWe Dream In Black - National Domestic Workers AllianceJews for Racial and Economic Justice [JFREJ]Justice Center en El Barrio, and Ugnayan.

The event also marked the launch of Damayan’s #DamayanStrong16Campaign to celebrate Damayan’s 16th anniversary with a goal of raising $16k by June 2018. The #DamayanStrong16 Campaign honors the workers, members, leaders, and allies that have made Damayan’s achievements over the past 16 years possible. As a grassroots organization, Damayan relies on the support of donors and sustainers to continue its vital work organizing Filipino migrant workers.

To donate or become a sustainer for the #DamayanStrong16 Campaign: www.damayanmigrants.org/donate.