The HWC releases it South Omaha Community Assessment, “Our Stories, Our Voices.”

Posted on by HWC Staff

Since its inception in 2009, one of the principle goals of the Heartland Workers Center (HWC) was to increase the participation of Latinos into public life. We’ve worked toward this goal by organizing leader to conduct Get-Out-The-Vote campaigns during Election years and engage in legislative action at both the local, state, and federal levels.

In 2015, the HWC took the opportunity to learn more about the South Omaha community by conducting a community assessment. Our goals were to better understand the issues facing the community, collect data, and identify potential leaders.

For four months, we went door-to-door to ask South Omaha residents about their experiences and opinions on housing and neighborhoods, education, health, public services and assistance, employment, and political participation. In the end, we collected 630 surveys.

Today, the HWC is releasing its findings in our assessment report

Some of the main findings from this report are:

» Nearly half (47.2%) of respondents say that their household must sacrifice expenses, including utilities and food, in order to cover housing expenses.

» Over 65% of respondents said they have lived in their homes for over five years, and 71% said they own their home.

» Over one quarter (28.7%) of respondents say that there are individuals in their household who could be working, but are not working.

» Over one third (35%) of respondents stated that they don’t have health insurance.

» Many residents have serious concerns about street conditions and crime in their community.

» Over one quarter (28.7%) of respondents say that there are individuals in their household who could be working, but are not working.

» Over one third (35%) of respondents stated that they don’t have health insurance.

The release of this report prior to the local elections is also important. More often than not, voter turnout is higher during Presidential Elections than all others. However, the data shows us that many of the concerns of the community can be resolved or addressed at the local or state levels.

While our first goal was achieved through the release of this report, we also hope that assessment participants and community residents will use this data information to engage with each other to make their community better. We found that 77.8% of respondents are interested in working with others to create positive change, which is an asset we hope to build upon, and from there, engage with public officials and policy makers to make lasting change that will benefit South Omaha residents and all of Nebraska.

“Today, more than ever, the findings from our community assessment mark an important moment in South Omaha history,” said Sergio Sosa, HWC Executive Director. “For many families in the U.S., and especially South Omaha, they are experience moments of increasing poverty, instability, and uncertainty because of their immigration status. During this time, where voting can create change, the assessment’s findings become more than just an academic study, but rather a tool that communities have to organize themselves, build collective power, and become protagonists of their own lives to transform their own communities.”

HWC South Omaha Community Assessment in ENGLISH

HWC South Omaha Community Assessment in SPANISH

I VOTE FOR MY FAMILY / VOTO POR MI FAMILIA

Posted on by HWC Staff

Vote for Your Family on Tuesday, May 9th!!

We are a few weeks from the Municipal Elections on May 9th.
In South Omaha, there are 27,151 people registered to vote, of which 6,042 are Hispanic.

Voting is a right, and beginning at the age of 18, we can exercise it. This gives us the opportunity to make our voices heard and express our opinions, suggestions, and disagreements. To vote is, without a doubt, one of the most important decisions that one can make as a citizen. Yet, we must be conscious of the enormous responsibility that we have when voting. Voting allows us to make decisions about and define the path our communities will take.

A large part of the community does not know the candidates well, nor do they decide whom to cast their vote for. But we should not criticize a government without using our commitment to vote.

Yet before going to vote, we should ask ourselves about the needs and dreams we have for the South Omaha community. To vote does not mean that one must stay within the parameters of a political party; simply, it is an act of civic participation that we exercise according to our ideals.

Voting makes us participants in the decisions that the local leaders make. But it is essential that we are informed about the proposals that each candidate offers, reflect about what is in our interest, and vote for who we believe is the best option. This is how we exercise our rights and make sure no one decides for us.

For that reason, the Heartland Workers Center has prepared a Candidate Profile so that you can inform yourself about those individuals running for Mayor and Omaha City Council.

Remember, your voice is your vote. Make it heard.
Candidate Profile
A step-by-Step Guide for New Voters

Vota por tu familia este 9 de mayo!!!

Estamos a pocas semanas de las Elecciones Municipales del 9 de mayo. En el Sur de Omaha hay 27,151 personas registradas para votar, de lo cual 6,042 son Hispanos.

El voto es un derecho. Desde que cumplimos la mayoría de edad, podemos ejercerlo. Éste nos da la oportunidad de hacernos escuchar y expresar nuestras opiniones, sugerencias e inconformidades. Votar es, sin duda, una de las decisiones más importantes que puede tener un ciudadano, por lo que debemos ser conscientes de la enorme responsabilidad que es ejercer el voto. La importancia del voto radica en que es un recurso para definir los caminos a seguir por parte de una comunidad.

Gran parte de la comunidad aún no conoce bien a los candidatos y no decide a quien otorgarle su voto.
No debemos criticar a un gobierno si no cumplimos con nuestro compromiso que es votar.

Antes de ir a votar debemos cuestionarnos sobre las necesidades y deseos que tenemos y que necesita la comunidad del Sur de Omaha. Ir a votar no significa pertenecer a un partido político, simplemente es un acto de Participación Cívica que ejercemos de acuerdo a nuestros ideales.

Votar nos hace partícipes en las decisiones que toman los líderes locales, por lo que es esencial estar informados sobre las propuestas que ofrece cada candidato, reflexionar sobre lo que nos conviene más y votar por quien creamos es la mejor opción. Así es como ejercemos nuestros derechos y nos aseguramos de que nadie decida por nosotros.

El Centro Laboral tiene a su disposición el Perfil de Candidatos mediante el cual usted podrá informarse sobre los candidatos para la Alcaldía y Concejo de la Ciudad de Omaha.

Recuerda, tu voz es tu voto. Hazlo escuchar.
Perfil de Candidatos
Una Guía Paso a Paso para loos Nuevos Votantes

Reality of our Rights

Posted on by HWC Staff

When asked about the rights they had, some workers responded that they had the right to a lunch or 15-minute break. Unfortunately breaks, vacation and lunchtime are benefits provided by the employer – not rights ensured by federal or state labor agencies.

The Heartland Workers Center (HWC) gave workers rights presentations to parent groups at two local elementary schools, discussing their right to a safe and healthy workplace and the right to get paid.

When talking about health and safety, the HWC explained the nine rights all workers have under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Many were shocked to know they had so many rights from one federal agency and immediately began asking questions and sharing their own stories.

As the HWC began talking about workers’ health when working with chemicals, Maria, a parent, shared an experience she had. As she was cleaning a bathroom with bleach, she started feeling sick and woozy. If she had known the dangers of working with chemicals in an unventilated space, she would have acted differently.

One of the biggest problems we heard from the parents is, not knowing where to go for help or feeling like they do not have time to seek answers. Other issues mentioned were the language barrier – not knowing if anyone speaks Spanish – or if the services offered by these agencies was free or if there was a cost associated with them. But the only way to find out is by asking.

As we work to better inform the community about their rights as workers, the HWC will continue to offer trainings, presentations, and speaking with parents and workers about their experiences and how they related to the rights they have and their employers’ responsibilities.

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