By Gloria Delgadillo
I recently read a story in the Austin Chronicle about the humble beginning of Workers Defense Project—it was as inspirational as unbelievable. It is truly incredible how far WDP has gotten in ten years. We—and I say we because I feel deeply connected to the WDP family—have made a strong presence in the community of Austin, Texas and now we are also heading to Dallas.
I have experienced a fair amount of frustration interning at WDP. The people are great, the work is rewarding, the cause is worthwhile, but it has been challenging to make people outside the WDP network to understand why this work is worthwhile to our communities. Working in organizational development and fundraising, I didn’t have a very friendly start. I dealt with rejection after rejection to the point that I now jump up with joy when I finally get a ‘yes.’ Nonetheless, my faith in justice is stronger than ever before.
Going back to the story on the WDP’s roots, it has finally clicked in that WDP started out with two volunteers out on the streets educating workers on their rights. Now almost 10 years later WDP is a powerful voice in the Austin community, and we are going nowhere else but forward.
‘Development’ was a non-existent program in WDP, but now with how far we have gotten, we are able to fund it. It is hard to picture development as the activist, but development is important as is organizing. Our calls and planning reaches out to far places, and one thing I have learned as the development intern is that ‘No means hello."