March at university embraces fight for worker rights

Posted | by Ian Pajer-Rogers |

"Guide us in our own work, and in our call to justice" could be heard around Valparaiso University's campus Tuesday evening as students, faculty and community members gathered to call attention to issues of workers' rights.

Hosted by the university's Social Action Leadership Team (SALT), Muslim Student Association (MSA) and Latinos In Valparaiso for Excellence (LIVE), participants in the first Cesar Chavez Day Workers' Rights Pilgrimage experienced moments of interfaith reflection as prayers were offered on the behalf of various workers during a march through the campus.

The event opened at the Chapel of the Resurrection with VU senior and SALT leader Caleb Rollins addressing the crowd and introducing speakers Omar Estwani and Kim Bobo before the group headed out. Estwani, a leader in the local Muslim community, made connections between supporting the plight of the poor and scriptural instructions.

Similarly Bobo, the founding director of Interfaith Worker Justice, shared various scriptural passages and called those gathered to act for workers' rights. "We have the possibility of changing what work looks like in this country," she said.

From there, participants made 10 stops around the campus. Prayers for those in jobs from landscaping to fast food to agriculture were read in various languages, participants sung chants and carried signs supporting initiatives like the "Fight for $15" campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

View the full story from The Chicago Tribune