Last night, TONYC and actors from the AIDS Center of Queens County troupe came together at the Queens Library in Astoria for a vibrant performance of Pasa aqui y alla or It happens here and there, addressing labor rights and land rights for undocumented immigrants in Mexico and in the United States.
We had such a fun time and had a great multigenerational dialogue with Astoria locals, and we were so happy to be joined by representatives from APICHA Community Heath Center: healthcare and resource providers for the LGBTQ community and undocumented immigrants, and Riders Alliance NY: fighting for affordable transportation for low income New Yorkers! Thank you to the amazing actors and Jokers, volunteers, the spect-actors for sharing experiences, resources, and actions to take to change these situations.
Here are the Jokers, Raquel and Megan asking the audience if they have experienced what was performed on stage or if they understand what it feels like to have your rights denied.
There were some great interventions by audience members including Diana who took the role of the mother to appeal to the lenders heart and to insist on a receipt, but to no avail, and Larissa, who confronted her boss with wage theft and a threat to have the restaurant shut down. Another intervention, headed by Moon led to the restaurant workers going on strike.
One spect-actor noted that the current minimum wage for restaurant workers in NYC is $9, but there are movements to raise it so all workers, including those with tipped wages will earn $15/hour as a base salary, so whether you are washing dishes or waiting tables, you are making a fair wage. Some organizations doing this work are 15 Now and Fight for $15. If you are someone who is not receiving a fair wage from your employer, you can take the following actions: become a member of Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC), complain to the New York State Department of Labor, or hire a pro bono labor lawyer to sue a restaurant, but note that they will charge 30% in the event that you win the case.
Joker, Megan, reminded us that if we're not taking action, that leads others to believe we think these injustices are okay. Find ways to take action today in your neighborhood, in your workplace, and with your communities. Together, we can make change!
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See you in action!
The TONYC Team