Community Organizing & Policy Advocacy
Labor Justice efforts are designed to advocate for fair employment practices for farmworkers and to build the capacity and leadership skills of farmworkers to identify, report and resolve employment-based abuses such as discrimination, unpaid overtime, wage theft, on the job sexual harassment, and employer retaliation for demanding fairness in the workplace. MICOP continues to train and organize farmworkers around unjust working conditions and empower them to implement actions that will contribute to better working conditions, and advocate at the local and state level for stronger enforcement of, and, grower compliance with, the labor laws. MICOP was funded by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) through the California Strategic Enforcement Partnership initiative to engage in strategic enforcement towards creating a culture of compliance in California’s economy. Major activities include a) Build and strengthen collaboration with CA Labor Commissioner’s office to scale up strategic enforcement and to build and deepen community and public partnership, b) Collaborate with the CA Labor Commissioner’s office to identify unpaid wage cases to be investigated and prosecuted by the Labor Commissioner. The unpaid wage cases should meet the agreed-upon criteria and c) Work with other partners to develop a robust public-private partnership model for strategic enforcement. MICOP organizes workers to be part of fair initiatives such as the wage replacement program and to continue to advocate for additional state-held dollars and expanded considerations for undocumented Californians both during the current COVID-19 pandemic and for future natural disasters that our communities will almost certainly face in the coming months.
Camino a la Salud
Health Advocacy | Pathway to Health
The Health Advocacy program addresses the gap separating Ventura County’s indigenous immigrant population from the medical systems in our county. The team performs outreach and education to the community about low-cost or free health programs available for immigrants, regardless of immigration status. Through this outreach, we learn about the systemic barriers preventing our community from accessing these services. Our team utilizes strategic advocacy strategies to collaborate with the leadership of local health providers and health systems. The purpose of this work is to increase accessibility and clarity within local safety-net health programs for the uninsured immigrant community.
Examples of the work within our program:
- Development of Ventura County Health Access Guide
- Outreach and Education
- Conduct Surveys and Data Collection
- Engage in Statewide Policy
- Bi-annual Immigrant Health Roundtable
- Stakeholder Coalition for the Uninsured
- Community Organizing
- Public Charge Education and Outreach
This program is funded through the California Wellness Foundation, The California Endowment, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, and the McCune Foundation.
Tequio Youth Group
Tequio Youth Group develops the leadership skills of indigenous Mexican youth to promote indigenous pride, encourage academic achievement, and advocate against bullying of indigenous young people. In 2012, youth leaders of MICOP’s Tequio youth leadership program, were responsible for the adoption by local school districts of a policy banning the use of derogatory terms such as “oaxaquita“ in three school districts and successfully advocating for indigenous language access in the Oxnard High School District. From 2014-2015, participants of the Tequio Youth group participated in a two-year systems change campaign called “Fields to College,” in which they advocated for increased language resources for parents and students of Oxnard Union High School District (OUHSD) where they all attended. This campaign had two parts: first, to increase language access to their immigrant indigenous parents and second, to increase English language tutoring and improved English language classes.
Tequio Youth learn to be leaders as they engage in greater MICOP causes, while they decide which goals and objectives they would like to take on. Academic achievement is one of the pillars of the Tequio Youth Group. Unlike many of their peers who often leave school to work in the fields, nearly all Tequio participants graduate from high school and matriculate into college. Tequio Youth Group gives young people the skills they need to succeed in achieving their goals, as they also work to create positive social change for their community.
Tequio Youth Scholarship
Established in 2012 to inspire and encourage academic success in the indigenous community, the Tequio Scholarship Fund provides individual grants to college students from Ventura County who are of indigenous Mexican roots from the states of Oaxaca and Guerrero. The term “Tequio” describes an indigenous person’s desire and obligation to assist their community. We provide these grants in the spirit of Tequio, and we seek to support highly motivated students who share this commitment to serve their community. As you climb, may you lift your community with you.