Freedom Flyers Arrested While Protesting in Support of Houston Janitors

Maria Gocal, 57, is an ABM Janitor from Chicago for over 36 years.  “As a union janitor in Chicago I have peace of mind knowing that my job can support my family – my son just graduated university, I have a home, and a voice at work. That’s what every worker deserves. Houston janitors don’t have that opportunity and I’m here so that the corporations and employers in Houston see that we are strong and it’s time for them to invest in the community and working families.”

Josefina Carrasco, 57, Chicago, has been a janitor for 10 years. “I know the fear that so many of the my co-workers have to live with. The fear that you could lose your job for speaking up. Janitors here in Houston can’t risk arrest without risking their jobs too. I can, so I will.  It’s important for janitors to know how much support they have out in the world, and that we hope they will take strength from what we are doing here today. Because I have a good job I was able to send my 4 kids to college, I was able to build a middle class life for my family, janitors here in Houston deserve the same chance. “

Matilde Reyes, 44, is a janitor from Chicago. “Today I am proudly taking a stand, so that workers everywhere know there is strength when you unite together. We follow a long line of freedom fighters who have taken arrest, like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Cesar Chavez—they did it for us, and now we do it for Houston janitors.  This can help the whole world, because this type of mistreatment of working people is happening everywhere—and standing together, we have the power to create good jobs and a better life for working people.”

Mary Grillo, Washington D.C., Mary is a long-time advocate for janitors’ rights around the country. “After 30 years of standing up for workers’ rights I am reminded that we’ve never won anything without being willing to fight for it, from Independence, to Civil Rights, to good jobs. I’m here to make the point that there is a direct connection between the explosion of poverty wages and the health of our economy. This fight is about a lot more than just Houston—it’s about what kind of country we will become. We have to take a stand for each other and for good jobs everywhere.”

Angela DiLeo, Washington D.C., is a long-time advocate for janitors’ rights. “I cannot stand aside as fellow human beings are being harassed and threatened at work. It is unfathomable that in America today people who work hard for some of the richest companies in the world must struggle to get by on poverty wages.”

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