Mark Your Calenders

If you really want to know more about the sanctioned abuse of people for profit, attend this event:

On Monday, October 20, 2008, at 4:30 p.m., the Vanderbilt Law Social Justice Program will present a lecture by Jennifer J. Rosenbaum, counsel to the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, entitled “Bonded Labor For A New Millennium:  Guestworkers and Indentured Servitude in Post-Katrina American Politics.”
After Hurricane Katrina, American businesses brought thousands of international workers to the Gulf Coast on temporary guestworker visas to alleviate what employers claimed was a labor shortage caused by the displacement of local populations.  Promised fair wages, housing, and, in some cases, permanent U.S. residency, these workers sold their homes and possessions and often took on crushing debt in their home countries to pay recruiting fees of up to $20,000.00.  They arrived in the United States to face unfair and unsafe working conditions, denial of earned wages, confiscated passports, forced residence in inhumane labor camps, and the threat of deportation were they to leave their jobs or report the conditions they endured.  Despite their collective disadvantage, these workers came together across industry and nationality to form the Alliance of Guestworkers for Dignity.  Working together through organizing, impact litigation, and political protest, they have successfully mounted challenges against their particular employers, the exploitation of guestworkers generally, and Congressional expansion of the guestworker program.
Rosenbaum will discuss her work supporting the Alliance’s guestworkers, including representing a group of more than 100 men trafficked from Mumbai, India to Pascagoula, Mississippi to work in shipyards on the false promise of permanent U.S. residency.  In protest of the working conditions they faced in the United States and to raise awareness of other guestworker program abuses, these men recently marched from New Orleans to Washington, D.C., where they held an almost month-long hunger strike, bringing national attention to their cause.  Rosenbaum will also consider the experience of the post-Katrina Gulf Coast and what its lessons suggest for the next phase of the national immigration debate.

Vanderbilt Law Social Justice Program Lecture Series Presents:
Jennifer J. Rosenbaum, New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice
Monday, October 20, 2008
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Vanderbilt Law School, Hyatt Room
Reception to follow.
Speaker Biography:
Jennifer J. Rosenbaum serves as counsel to the New Orleans Workers’ Center For Racial Justice, where she provides legal support to workers organizing across race and industry in post-Katrina New Orleans and litigates the impact employment and civil rights claims that are central to the workers’ grassroots campaigns.  Ms. Rosenbaum previously served as a staff attorney at the Immigrant Justice Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center and as a Skadden Fellow at Southern Migrant Legal Services, a project of Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid.  Ms. Rosenbaum is the 2007 recipient of Harvard Law School’s Gary Bellow Public Service Award and the 2005 recipient of the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services’ Riney Green Award. Ms. Rosenbaum clerked for the Honorable Thomas A. Wiseman ‘54, United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, and is a graduate of Harvard Law School and the University of Tennessee.


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