Gilda Blanco is a housecleaner who came to the United States in 2008 from Livingston, Guatemala — the cradle of Garifuna culture in the region. Allison Julien migrated from Barbados and has been a nanny in New York City for 25 years.
Gilda Blanco is a housecleaner who came to the United States in 2008 from Livingston, Guatemala — the cradle of Garifuna culture in the region.
Since 2009, she has been organizing domestic worker leaders at Casa Seattle in Washington State.
For Gilda, this fellowship is an opportunity to both grow personally as a leader and to ensure that Dorothy’s powerful legacy helps to shape the future of all domestic worker leaders in the United States.
“Dorothy’s legacy is synonymous with struggle and love for community. It inspires and motivates me in the work I’m doing with domestic workers. I am honored to have the chance to keep her legacy alive by following the example she set.”
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Allison Julien migrated from Barbados and has been a nanny in New York City for 25 years. She was a leader in the successful campaign to pass the New York State Bill of Rights and was a founding member of the National Domestic Workers Alliance in 2007. She currently organizes domestic workers with the New York chapter of We Dream In Black, our dynamic new capacity building program for Black domestic workers.
Allison is “inspired by Dorothy Bolden’s leadership and passion for domestic workers to fight for better working conditions.” For her, “the Fellowship is an opportunity to be in the front lines at a critical time in our nation’s political landscape engaging with workers on issues such as immigration education and impacting them as a community.”
The Fellowship will be awarded annually to domestic worker leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to movement building and organization building, and whose leadership has the potential to achieve a long-term impact in our movement. The Fellows will have the opportunity to learn through mentoring and practice while supporting local and national organizing and capacity building initiatives.
Dorothy Bolden began organizing domestic workers in the United States in 1968. At that time, the federal minimum wage was $1.25/hour, but Black domestic workers in Atlanta were earning just $3.50 to $5.00 a day for twelve to thirteen hours of back-breaking work.
Dorothy’s visionary leadership helped pave the way for the dynamic multi-racial domestic workers movement we are building today. Now, I’m excited to share that we’re honoring Dorothy’s legacy with our Dorothy Bolden Fellowship to support the leadership of domestic workers and caregivers.
Funding for the program comes from the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Fellowship Ai-jen Poo, NDWA Director, received on behalf of our movement in 2014. The MacArthur award was a powerful public recognition of the important role domestic workers and caregivers play in shaping the growing movement for equity and democracy in America. The Bolden Fellowship will give leaders like Allison and Gilda the opportunity to focus full-time on organizing and movement building.