latino workersCommunities & Immigration

2014 - 2015 Policy & Social Engagement Fellowship Project

Faculty Partner: Anna Guevarra, Asian American Studies
Community Partner: Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE)


Domestic work is one of the largest and most unregulated low wage employment sectors in the U.S. Domestic workers are vulnerable to wage theft, low pay, hazardous work conditions, discrimination and sexual harassment. It is also an industry with a large concentration of undocumented workers and immigrants.
In Illinois, a number of coalitions including various labor collectives and Pan-Asian groups are mobilizing support for the passage of a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. Currently, there is no systematic data on Filipino domestic workers in the state. They remain a relatively isolated group, with scant knowledge of their rights. Their participation in the movement to pass the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights remains unexplored. This collaborative project with AFIRE seeks to address this problem/absence,and explore the reasons for Filipino domestic workers’ isolation and weak participation in the wider community of domestic workers in Chicago.


2010-2011 Policy & Social Engagement Fellowship Project

Faculty Partner: Ruth Gomberg-Munoz, Anthropology, Loyola University
Community Partner: Chicago Community and Workersʼ Rights


This project unites the resources of Dr. Gomber-Munoz's university affiliation with the goals of the Chicago Community and Workers' Rights (CCWR) to advance leadership development training within Chicagoʼs immigrant community. Its first product is an "Immigrant Community Defense" conference, which brought together immigrant workers, community leaders, and scholars to discuss contemporary immigrant labor struggles and engage in "community defense" workshops. The second product is a booklet that will serve as a pedagogical tool for leadership training. The third product consists of a database with contact information for conference participants and CCWR clients. This database will serve as an organizing tool that allows for rapid and ongoing communication about workersʼ mobilizations and CCWR events.


2011-2012 Policy & Social Engagement Fellowship Project

Faculty Partner: Ralph Cintron, English, Latin American & Latino Studies
Community Partner: The Puerto Rican Agenda


The Puerto Rican community in Chicago has faced considerable social, economic, and political strife. In response to the myriad issues, The organization "The Puerto Rican Agenda" emerged a little over a decade ago as a collaborative of Puerto Rican leaders who address the needs concerning programs, policies, and legislation affecting the Puerto Ricans in Metropolitan Chicago. The Agenda is comprised of local social service agency leaders, academics and educators from Chicago universities, and Puerto Rican business leaders. The Agenda also counts on the support of elected officials at the city, county, state and federal levels.

The Agenda is carrying out an intensive community research and census demographic study to investigate the current state of the Puerto Rican community sixty years after Puerto Ricans first began migrating to the Chicago Metro Area. The goal of this project is to:

  • Establish a baseline regarding the socio-economic and cultural conditions of Puerto Ricans residing in the Chicago Metropolitan Area that might serve future research projects;
  • Provide reliable information that will serve the planning goals of the Puerto Rican Agenda's committees and allied civic organizations so that they may devise evidence-based strategies and better administer their agencies;
  • Collect the gathered data into a publication to be distributed to stakeholders including elected officials, and act as a catalyst for influencing legislation.

The complete report is availible online, It was the subject of April 2014's Scholar Spotlight, and more project details are on The Puerto Rican Agenda's website.