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Workers Rights

An Inside Look at Liberty Hill’s Fund For Change Granting Process

By Miranda Chartoff

photo 2 Community Funding Board: (Top row left to right) Shukry Cattan, Elissa Perry, Eric Wat, Rabbi Heather Miller (Middle Row left to right) Xiomara Corpeno, Stacey Strongarone, Jacky Guerrero, Yamileth Guevara (Bottom Row left to right) Regina Freer, Jennifer Ito, Hal Barron

It’s that time of year again! Liberty Hill is in the midst of its primary competitive grantmaking program, Fund for Change. With the help of the Community Funding Board (CFB), Liberty Hill will soon decide which grassroots leaders will receive grants from the Fund for Change in 2014-2015. The CFB is a diverse group of volunteers who have organizing experience and strong perspectives around specific social issues. The CFB acts as a “think tank” to help Liberty Hill better assess the effectiveness of applicant organizations and the landscapes in which they work. The CFB plays an essential role in the five-month process of choosing which organizations to support financially.

To convene the CFB, which has been part of Liberty Hill's grantmaking process since its founding, Liberty Hill reaches out to organizers, academics, donor-activists, and other experts representing the great diversity of Los Angeles. This year, returning members of the CFB are Regina Freer, Saul Sarabia, Stacey Strongarone, Jennifer Ito and Eric Wat. Serving for the first time are Hal Barron, Jackie Guerrero,  Shukry Cattan, Xiomara Corpeno, Yamileth Guevara, Maria Loya, Rabbi Heather Miller, and Elissa Perry.  Members commit to an orientation day, a number of site visits to applicant organizations, completion of an assessment tool for a selection of applicants, and a report-back meeting for discussion and debriefing about each potential grantee.

Alexandra Suh: a Changemaker Personified

By Crystal Shaw


May-Day-2012-SH KIWA Executive Director, Alexandra Suh. (Photo by Pocho One)



Liberty Hill’s 2014 Wally Marks Changemaker Award honoree, Alexandra Suh, will be recognized on September 6 at our Change LA 2014 event—a casual afternoon mixer designed to let participants meet and mingle. So if you come, you’ll have a chance to meet Alexandra, and you’ll discover, as I did, that she’s a “Changemaker” personified: fearless, a believer in community, a person who stands at the forefront but realizes that it’s everyone around who will make real change come to fruition.

Alexandra is Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance’s Executive Director. After becoming ED in 2011, Alexandra got busy refocusing KIWA’s work, bringing it back to being a real nuts and bolts worker’s center for not just Korean workers, but for every immigrant worker fighting for the rights they deserve. This move makes KIWA part of L.A.’s exciting worker center movement, which is having real impact in improving conditions for low wage workers, an urgent need in L.A. where, according to a recent L.A. Times report, “Last year, average wages in Los Angeles County declined 1.9% — tying Jefferson, Ala., for 302nd place out of 334 large counties nationwide.” And the projection for the future: “More than a million jobs will be created in the region between 2010 and 2020, and nearly half will pay less than $14.35 an hour.”


You may have heard about Alexandra’s fearless leadership through the success that KIWA’s has had with the co-sponsorship of AB 2416, the Wage Theft Recovery Bill, which has recently passed the California Assembly with a vote set in the Senate this week. KIWA is also an anchor organization for the Los Angeles Wage Theft Ordinance which seeks to strengthen the city’s ability to crack down on wage theft. We talked with her to discuss the award, KIWA’s creative and stand-out rally techniques, and her broad vision for KIWA, one that stretches all the way to Korea.


Resources for Ethical Employers and Empowered Workers

By Susan LaTempa

Aquilina Soriano-Versoza (l) of Pilipino Workers Center and Danielle Feris of Hand in Hand celebrate Domestic WOrkers Bill of Rights Aquilina Soriano-Versoza (l) of Pilipino Workers Center and Danielle Feris of Hand in Hand celebrate Domestic Workers Bill of Rights



Do you support social justice and workers rights? Want to take action? Here's a chance for many families to help implement a law fought for by many Liberty Hill community partners that now applies to around 200,000 workers in California: the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. 

Until January of this year, maybe because of a  lingering "Upstairs, Downstairs" view of society, we as Californians excluded the people who care for our nearest and dearest family members from labor-law protections enjoyed by all other hourly California workers.   Although there hasn't been much publicity, the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights means that  nannies, childcare workers, and personal attendants who work in the home have won overtime protection. It's a modest win in some ways--time and a half when you work more than nine hours a day or more than 45 hours per workweek-- but along with the minimum wage protection won in 2001, it brings these essential workers basic rights.

Want to do the right thing in your own home? Want to empower yourself to work out a fair arrangement with the employer whose home you work in? Want to share information with your extended family and friends? Join activist workers and employers who worked hard together for passage of the bill and educate yourself about best practices, difficult conversations and health and safety issues.

To start, whether you're an employer or a caregiver, download and take a look at this sample work agreement created by the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Oakland-based group Hand in Hand. It covers a wide range of topics to review in a simple fill-in-the-blanks format. Details about the law itself are on this fact sheet from bill sponsor Assemblymember Tom Ammiano.

Huge Victory for AB 2416, the Wage Recovery Act

Breaking and exciting news! AB 2416, the Wage Theft Recovery act that  Liberty Hill grantee Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance is co-sponsoring, just passed the California Assembly this past Wednesday, May 28th!  KIWA Executive Director, Alexandra Suh shared the particulars of this exciting news with Liberty Hill, which we’d like to pass on…

wage theft 1 Wage theft robbers ripping off workers (Photo cred: Victor Narro, Project Director, UCLA Labor Center)


First, I wanted to share the super exciting news that the bill we are co-sponsoring, AB 2416, the Wage Theft Recovery Act, just passed the CA Assembly yesterday! 


Watch Kafi Blumenfield Receive Liberty Hill’s 2014 Diversity in Philanthropy Award

Liberty Hill was exited to honor one of its own rabble rousers during this year’s Upton Sinclair Dinner.  Kafi Blumenfield has done so much for Liberty Hill’s causes and we are excited to share Kafi’s speech as she accepted Liberty Hill’s 2014 Diversity in Philanthropy Award.

What do women want? Workers' rights!

By Jonathan Skurnik

** UPDATE 9/9/14**

On August 29, 2014 Assembly passed AB 1522 granting guaranteed paid sick time to Californians, but unfortunately not for about 400,000 home health care workers. During last minute negotiations between the bill's author, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) and Gov. Brown domestic workers were stripped from AB 1522.

Aquilina Soriano is the Executive Director at Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California, one of the most active workers' rights groups in the Liberty Hill community of grassroots organizations. As an important part of the California Domestic Workers Coalition and the National Domestic Workers Alliance, PWC has been on the front lines of the fight to extend labor law protections to healthcare workers, nannies, housekeepers and others whose workplace is a home. Most of these workers are low income women of color, some of whom are undocumented.

Frontlines to Headlines February 2014

For many of Liberty Hill’s organizing partners, February’s news coverage was about getting recognized for important work. From spots on top ten lists to personal profiles of group leaders, the work of Liberty Hill’s affiliated activists is not going unnoticed. Meanwhile, other organizations turned up the heat on ongoing campaigns, and Liberty Hill CEO Shane Murphy Goldsmith kicked off March by bringing the message of Change, Not Charity, to a major online network.

March 5