Worker Activist Bruno Avila Honored by the Washington Peace Center

bruno 2

Tonight, the Washington Peace Center will host their tenth annual Activist Awards Grassroots Gala, to celebrate all DC activists’ hard work and successes over the past year. The EJC is proud that workers’ committee member Bruno Avila will be honored at this year’s Grassroots Gala with the “Power to the People” award for his hard work fighting for tenants’ and workers’ rights in the District.

Bruno training as a promotor with the EJC.

Bruno training as a promotor with the EJC.

Bruno first became involved with the EJC in 2013, when he organized his coworkers to successfully recover their unpaid wages at a restaurant in Georgetown, leading them in a campaign that, after the threat of public action, led the restaurant to pay the workers the wages they were owed.  Afterwards, he trained with the EJC as a community liaison (promotor) against wage theft, and now organizes other workers to stand up and fight back against wage theft.

Bruno also actively fought for the passage of the Wage Theft Prevention Act of 2014, which is now one of the strongest laws against wage theft in the country. After the law passed, Bruno shared these thoughts about his favorite part of the victory:

“My favorite part was that we make our rights worth something, despite everything that someone has going against them, maybe that they don’t have papers, that they have a boss that wants to abuse them, that supervisors in the workplace think that they aren’t going to do anything, we start to plant the seeds of credibility. And with this we can do big things. Here we don’t stop, it’s just the beginning. (Mi parte favorita fue que se hacen valer los derechos, a pesar de todo lo que tienes en contra, ya sea que no tenga documentos, que tenga un jefe que quiere abusar de ti, que supervisores en el lugar de trabajo piensan que no sa va a hacer nada, se empieza a poner las semillas de la credibilidad. Entonces con eso comenzamos a hacer grandes cosas. Aquí no paramos, es el comienzo de seguir).”

Bruno also continues to advocate for himself and the other families who live in his building, as well as for greater tenants’ rights for all DC residents as a leader with the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC). He is the President of the Tenants Association and has helped his neighbors as they have been threatened with displacement.

The EJC is happy to join LEDC and the Washington Peace Center in recognizing Bruno’s outstanding contributions to creating a more just and peaceful world. The awards ceremony will take place today at 6:30 pm St Stephen’s Church at 1525 Newton St NW. Please come out and celebrate Bruno’s work and the work of all the other awardees!

Felicidades, Bruno!

Bruno at the barbecue to celebrate the Wage Theft Prevention Act!

Bruno at the barbecue to celebrate the Wage Theft Prevention Act!