Workers Center for Racial Justice




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2017):

Revenue: $780,305
Expenses: $728,105
Assets: $92,697




Left-of-Center Activist Organization


DeAngelo Bester

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Workers Center for Racial Justice (WCRJ) is a left-of-center advocacy organization that focuses on “direct action” organizing, policy advocacy, and voter engagement in the Chicago area. WCRJ works to advance a left-wing, pro-labor-union agenda by organizing African-American workers and families to protest African-American unemployment, low wages, and the purported over-criminalization of African American communities. 1

WCRJ was founded in 2012 by left-of-center community and labor union activist DeAngelo Bester. 2


In 2018, WCRJ reported $968,788 in revenue, the entirety of which came from contributions and grants. The Center also reported slightly over $1 million in expenses, of which $366,265 went to salaries, compensation, and employee benefits. The organization ended the year with just $58,987 in assets. 3

WCRJ processes donations through the left-of-center pass-through funding organization ActBlue Charities. 4



WCRJ has called for the reduction of police funding and its reallocation to community services and public health budgets. In its policy report, WCRJ argues that most of Chicago’s 911 calls don’t actually require a police response, and that other departments could better handle the various dispatches. By 2023, WCRJ proposes that Chicago Police Department funding be decreased by $900 million, and that that funding should be distributed to various social programs, including  $200 million to the community safety unit, $420 million to family and support services, $140 million to the Department of Public Health, and $140 million to the Department of Housing. 5

WCRJ has also called for prohibiting police unions from engaging in collective bargaining over any issues other than wage and benefits, especially negotiations over clauses in contracts that WCRJ argues would shield officers from being held accountable for abuses of power. 6

COVID-19 Response

WCRJ has also issued a series of demands in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. These include mandating that 33 percent of all Illinois state economic aid packages be set aside specifically for African American-owned businesses and non-profits. WCRJ has also advocated for a tax on high-end real estate transfers and further progressive taxation policies. WCRJ has used the pandemic to call for the early release of all Illinois prisoners over the age of 50 and those who could be classified as being medically vulnerable. WCRJ has also demanded the commuting of sentences for all individuals who have served more than 50 percent of their original sentences. Additionally, WCRJ has argued that released prisoners should be housed in hotels at no cost to themselves. 7

Economic Policy

WCRJ also endorses a variety of left-of-center state-level legislation in Illinois, including legislation that would increase the minimum wage to $15 for tipped and young workers, mandate paid sick days, ban local governments from enacting right to work legislation, and implement a graduated state income tax system. 8

Jussie Smollett Controversy

Workers Center for Racial Justice issued a statement supporting Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx (D) in the wake of her decision to not prosecute actor Jussie Smollett following his alleged hate crime hoax. Smollett had claimed originally to have been attacked by supporters of President Donald Trump, when evidence later emerged indicating that he himself staged the attack. WCRJ said that the campaign against Foxx was fueled by a desire to stop her work in promoting racial justice and stopping alleged police abuse. WCRJ also argued that more cases should be dismissed in general. 9


DeAngelo Bester is the executive director and founder of WCRJ. Bester previously worked as a community and labor organizer with National People’s Action for six years prior to starting WCRJ. He is also on the board of the National Black Worker Center Project. 10


  1. “Campaign for Safety and Liberation.” Workers Center for Racial justice. Accessed October 26, 2020.
  2. “Board of Directors.” Accessed October 26, 2020.
  3. Workers Center for Racial Justice NFP, IRS (Form 990), 2018, Part I
  4. “Donate WCRJ.” Accessed October 14, 2020.
  5. “Proposal for Equitable Safety Reinvestment.” Workers Center for Racial justice. Accessed October 26, 2020.
  6. “Campaign for Safety and Liberation.” Workers Center for Racial justice. Accessed October 26, 2020.
  7. “COVID19 Racial Justice Agenda.” Accessed October 26, 2020.
  8. “Racial Justice Online Action Center.” Accessed October 26, 2020.
  9. “Join WCRJ as We Stand With Kim Foxx.” Accessed October 26, 2020.
  10. “Board of Directors.” Accessed October 26, 2020.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: August 1, 2014

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Dec Form 990 $780,305 $728,105 $92,697 $146 N $780,305 $0 $0 $82,542 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $616,301 $598,368 $87,496 $146 N $616,301 $0 $0 $0
    2015 Dec Form 990 $251,953 $233,593 $30,500 $0 N $251,953 $0 $0 $51,917 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990EZ $137,755 $137,030 $12,139 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990EZ $124,394 $106,476 $11,414 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990EZ $28,400 $28,921 $353 $874 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Workers Center for Racial Justice

    8603 WAUKEGAN RD
    MORTON GROVE, IL 60053-2200