Person

Saket Soni

Occupation:

Community Organizer

Founded:

New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice

Resilience Force

National Guestworker Alliance

Expertise:

Post-disaster economies

Immigration

Labor

Location:

New Orleans, Louisiana

Saket Soni is a left-of-center community organizer responsible for organizing, and ultimately mobilizing, left-leaning constituencies on issues such as immigration and labor, having been profiled as the “architect of the next labor movement” by USA Today. [1] He specializes in mobilizing the aforementioned constituencies within the context of various national disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina. [2]

Soni has founded several left-leaning organizations which work together to execute his strategies, including New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice (NOWCRJ), Resilience Force, and the National Guestworker Alliance (NGA). [3] He is active in publishing his positions across a variety of outlets, and authored And Injustice For All: Workers’ Lives in the Reconstruction and Never Again: Lessons of the Gustav Evacuation. [4] His commentary reaches the audiences of National Public Radio, Time, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Hill, The Nation, Latino Journal, Talking Points Memo, and CNN.com. [5]

Career

Saket Soni has spent the duration of his career as a community organizer, beginning with his time spent working with the Coalition of African, Arab, Asian, European, and Latino Immigrants of Illinois (CAAAELII). [6] The organization has since dissolved. [7] Soni’s time in Chicago served as a springboard from which to launch his career, and ultimately form several other organizations which work together to mobilize targeted left-leaning constituencies across issues such as immigration and labor. Organizations founded by Soni for such purposes include the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice (NOWCRJ), Resilience Force, and the National Guestworker Alliance (NGA). [8]

Coalition of African, Arab, Asian, European, and Latino Immigrants of Illinois (CAAAELII)

The Coalition of African, Arab, Asian, European, and Latino Immigrants of Illinois (CAAAELII) is a Chicago-based community organization founded in 1998 to mobilize left-leaning constituencies in an effort to influence immigration issues. [9] Saket Soni first began his career as a community organizer at CAAAELII;[10] however, the organization has since suspended operations and formally dissolved. [11]

While active, CAAAELII partnered with several groups to advance shared goals, and members included the following: Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment, Asociacion Ecuador Unido (Ecuador United Association), Arab American Action Network, Bayanihan Foundation Worldwide, Better Community Life, Cambodian Association of Illinois, Centro Comunitario Juan Diego, Centro Informativo Quetzalcoatl, Centro Sin Fronteras, Chicago Workers’ Collaborative, Chinese American Service League, Chinese Mutual Aid Association, Committee on Pilipino Issues (CPI), Community Defense Foundation, Erie Neighborhood House, Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago (ECAC), Guatemalan Cultural Community Organization, Hanul Family Alliance, Indo-American Center, Instituto del Progreso Latino, Korean American Community Services League, Korean American Resource and Cultural Center, Lao American Community Services, Latinos Progresando, Midwest Asian American Center, Muslim Women Resource Center, Nepalese American Society, Tibetan Alliance of Chicago, United African Organization, URHAI Community Service Center, and the Vietnamese Association of Illinois. [12]

New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice (NOWCRJ)

Soni first founded the community organizing group New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice (NOWCRJ). [13] In 2006, NOWCRJ was founded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina (which Soni claims was a “man-made disaster”) and serves the community organizer’s interests in post-disaster economies. [14] The Board of Directors at NOWCRJ is composed of the following members: John Cavanagh, Don Everard, Crystal Plati, Ted Quant, and Rosario Elizalde. [15]

NOWCRJ focuses its work in the following initiatives: legal and policy advocacy, Congress of Day Laborers, and Stand With Dignity (stylized STAND with Dignity). [16] The National Guestworker Alliance (NGA), another component of Soni’s network of organizations, is a project of NOWCRJ. [17]

Resilience Force

Resilience Force is another component of left-wing community organizer Saket Soni’s network of organizations which mobilize left-leaning constituencies across a host of issue areas. [18] Like the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice (NOWCRJ), Resilience Force supports his campaigns in post-disaster areas, and is a project of the National Guestworker Alliance (NGA), another component of Soni’s network. [19] The organization is operated by a staff of four, consisting of the following members: Jeff Pinzino, a left-wing fundraiser affiliated with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Midwest Academy, which trains left-wing community organizers; the former Executive Director of the South Florida Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO) Cynthia S. Hernandez; Daniel Castellanos, who helped found the NGA; and Javiera Alarcon, formerly of the Stewart R. Mott Foundation, MoveOn.org, and the Institute for Policy Studies. [20]

National Guestworker Alliance (NGA)

Saket Soni founded National Guestworker Alliance (NGA) in 2011 as part of a network of organizations seeking to mobilize left-leaning constituencies across a host of issue areas. [21] Resilience Force is a project of the NGA,[22] which itself is a project of the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice (NOWCRJ), and organizes left-leaning constituencies in an effort to influence labor and immigration issues. [23]

The campaigns executed by NGA to mobilize left-leaning constituencies in these areas include the following: Beat The Blacklist (stylized #BeatTheBlacklist), Jamaican Worker Justice, McDonald’s Must Pay, Breaking Chains at Walmart, Justice At Hershey’s (stylized [email protected]’s), Trafficking In Tennessee (stylized Trafficking in TN), and Signal International. [24] NGA is listed as an ‘Allied Group’ of the largest federation of labor unions in the United States, the left-leaning AFL-CIO, and the organization explicitly labels these partners as “progressive organizations.” [25] NGA is a fiscally sponsored project of the left-leaning NEO Philanthropy,[26] meaning NGA outsources the organization’s finance and administration roles to NEO Philanthropy, and NEO Philanthropy in turn acts as an umbrella organization for NGA, accepting and administering funds on behalf of NGA. [27]

References

  1. Bhatia, Pooja. “Saket Soni: Architect of the next Labor Movement?” USA Today. August 30, 2014. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/08/30/ozy-labor-organizer/14751071/. ^
  2. [1] Admin. “Saket Soni.” Resilience Force. Resilience Force, May 15, 2019. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://resilienceforce.org/saket-soni/. ^
  3. Admin. “Saket Soni.” Resilience Force. Resilience Force, May 15, 2019. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://resilienceforce.org/saket-soni/. ^
  4. Admin. “Saket Soni.” Resilience Force. Resilience Force, May 15, 2019. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://resilienceforce.org/saket-soni/. ^
  5. Admin. “Saket Soni.” Resilience Force. Resilience Force, May 15, 2019. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://resilienceforce.org/saket-soni/. ^
  6. Admin. “Saket Soni.” Resilience Force. Resilience Force, May 15, 2019. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://resilienceforce.org/saket-soni/. ^
  7. “Welcome to CAAAELII.” Google Sites. Coalition of African, Arab, Asian, European, and Latino Immigrants of Illinois (CAAAELII). Accessed November 10, 2019. https://sites.google.com/a/caaaelii.org/caaaelii2009nov/home. ^
  8. Admin. “Saket Soni.” Resilience Force. Resilience Force, May 15, 2019. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://resilienceforce.org/saket-soni/. ^
  9. “Coalition of African, Arab, Asian, European and Latino Immigrants of Illinois, The Chicago Community Trust.” The Chicago Community Trust. The Chicago Community Trust. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://www.cct.org/what-we-offer/grants/coalition-of-african-arab-asian-european-and-latino-immigrants-of-illinois/. ^
  10. Admin. “Saket Soni.” Resilience Force. Resilience Force, May 15, 2019. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://resilienceforce.org/saket-soni/. ^
  11. “Welcome to CAAAELII.” Google Sites. Coalition of African, Arab, Asian, European, and Latino Immigrants of Illinois (CAAAELII). Accessed November 10, 2019. https://sites.google.com/a/caaaelii.org/caaaelii2009nov/home. ^
  12. “Active Members.” Google Sites. Coalition of African, Arab, Asian, European, and Latino Immigrants of Illinois (CAAAELII). Accessed November 10, 2019. https://sites.google.com/a/caaaelii.org/caaaelii2009nov/about-caaaelii/members. ^
  13. Admin. “Saket Soni.” Resilience Force. Resilience Force, May 15, 2019. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://resilienceforce.org/saket-soni/. ^
  14. Admin. “Saket Soni.” Resilience Force. Resilience Force, May 15, 2019. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://resilienceforce.org/saket-soni/. ^
  15. “About NOWCRJ.” New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice (NOWCRI). New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice (NOWCRJ). Accessed November 10, 2019. http://nowcrj.org/about-nowcrj/. ^
  16. “Our Work.” New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice (NOWCRJ). New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice (NOWCRJ). Accessed November 10, 2019. http://nowcrj.org/our-work/. ^
  17. “Our Work.” New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice (NOWCRJ). New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice (NOWCRJ). Accessed November 10, 2019. http://nowcrj.org/our-work/. ^
  18. Admin. “Saket Soni.” Resilience Force. Resilience Force, May 15, 2019. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://resilienceforce.org/saket-soni/. ^
  19. “About Resilience Force.” Resilience Force. Facebook, November 11, 2018. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://www.facebook.com/ResilienceForce/. ^
  20. Admin. “Transforming America’s Response to Disasters.” Resilience Force. Resilience Force. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://resilienceforce.org/?fbclid=IwAR1nxX3pvcYkoGhEr9TWi6ThFy8rvXY210W_-F9N0rXPI3F6-u7pxg_MYrM. ^
  21. Admin. “Saket Soni.” Resilience Force. Resilience Force, May 15, 2019. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://resilienceforce.org/saket-soni/. ^
  22. “About Resilience Force.” Resilience Force. Facebook, November 11, 2018. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://www.facebook.com/ResilienceForce/. ^
  23. “Our Work.” New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice (NOWCRJ). New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice (NOWCRJ). Accessed November 10, 2019. http://nowcrj.org/our-work/. ^
  24. “Campaigns.” National Guestworker Alliance. National Guestworker Alliance, June 19, 2014. Accessed November 10, 2019. http://www.guestworkeralliance.org/campaigns/. ^
  25. “Our Unions and Allies: AFL-CIO.” AFL-CIO. AFL-CIO. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://aflcio.org/about-us/our-unions-and-allies. ^
  26. Fenwick, Alexandra, Angela Kahres, and Robert Bray. “NEO Philanthropy’s New Fiscally Sponsored Projects Provide Support to Headline-Making Issues.” NEO Philanthropy. NEO Philanthropy, March 1, 2018. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://neophilanthropy.org/neo-philanthropys-new-fiscally-sponsored-projects-provide-support-headline-making-issues/. ^
  27. Kahres, Angela, and Robert Bray. “Fiscal Sponsorship.” NEO Philanthropy. NEO Philanthropy, September 23, 2019. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://neophilanthropy.org/fiscal-sponsorship/. ^
  See an error? Let us know!