Our Partners

The National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) improves the lives of day laborers, migrants and low-wage workers.  Alongside its 60-member day laborer centers and grassroots workers rights groups across the US, NDLON builds leadership and power among those facing injustice so they can challenge inequality and expand labor, civil and political rights for all. Over the years, NDLON has collaborated with day laborers and grassroots groups across Orange County to defend the rights of day laborers and the migrant community at large from nativists’ bigotry and attacks.

In 2007, NDLON joined the Asociación de Trabajadores de Lake Forest to file a lawsuit and successfully defend, in federal court, the right of day laborers to seek work on a street corner.  And in 2008, NDLON organized with the Laguna Beach day laborer center and residents to fight anti-immigrant attacks on the migrant community.  In 2010, NDLON joined Colectivo Tonantzin, the ACLU of SoCal and MALDEF to sue the City of Costa Mesa to defend the rights of day laborers.  All of these efforts helped build the legal and popular defenses for day laborers’ rights far beyond OC.

Years later, with many other grassroots partners, NDLON helped co-anchor the ICE out of Orange County coalition that would include a broad cross-section of grassroots groups and activists across OC. Over the Trump years, NDLON helped convene efforts across OC to defend sanctuary protections and fight back against a nativist offensive, organizing protests and trainings, with groups like OakView Comunidad in Huntington Beach, VietRISE in Garden Grove and Westminster, Korean Resource Center in Fullerton, and el Centro Cultural de Mexico in Santa Ana.  In 2018, NDLON partnered with Los Alamitos Community United and the ACLU of SoCal to file a lawsuit against the city of Los Alamitos for trying to “opt-out” of state sanctuary laws, to collude with ICE’s deportations.

In 2017, NDLON partnered closely with el Centro Cultural de México and el Colectivo Tonantzin, both based in Santa Ana, and the UCI workers rights clinic, to increase capacity to address cases of wage theft committed against migrant day laborers.

Most recently, NDLON has partnered closely with VietRISE to launch the ICE out of Little Saigon campaign – and the Bring Human Rights Home concert and community festival.  

Geographic Focus: County-wide/Regional SoCal

Founded in 2018, VietRISE is a community organization based in the heart of Orange County’s Little Saigon, home of the largest Vietnamese population in the world outside of Viet Nam. VietRISE advances social justice and builds power with working class Vietnamese and immigrant communities across Orange County. VietRISE builds leadership and creates systemic change through organizing, narrative change, cultural empowerment, and civic engagement.

Over the past five years, VietRISE has become a vital force for building community, independent voice, and autonomous power in Little Saigon and beyond. VietRISE continues to focus on addressing accountability of elected officials, housing justice, economic justice, immigrant justice, and COVID-19. VietRISE has provided organizing and civic engagement training, cultural programming, and leadership development support for hundreds of Vietnamese American youth and seniors. 

In 2019, following the Defend Sanctuary movement in OC, VietRISE and NDLON launched the “ICE out of Little Saigon / Bring Human Rights Home campaign, a multiracial solidarity movement alongside Vietnamese and Latinx communities.

In 2020-21, VietRISE distributed half a million dollars to undocumented Vietnamese and Latinx individuals across OC who were excluded from federal and state COVID-19 stimulus programs. In 2021, VietRISE, HI, and OCJF partnered to expand Santa Ana’s deportation defense fund to $300k and made it a permanent program in the city to reach more communities. Later, VietRISE joined Tenants United Santa Ana (TUSA) and played a critical role in passing OC’s’s first rent stabilization and just cause evictions ordinances in Santa Ana. In 2022 VietRISE partnered with TUSA to establish a rental registry and rent board in Santa Ana. In 2020-22, VietRISE assisted over 3,000 Vietnamese residents with filling out the census and convened resident-led community redistricting committees in Westminster, Santa Ana, and Garden Grove, and provided testimony to the county, congressional, state assembly and senate redistricting processes that span Little Saigon.

VietRISE continues to organize with youth, seniors, and systems-impacted Vietnamese community members to build grassroots power and a lasting intergenerational movement for social justice and systemic change among Vietnamese communities in OC.

Geographic Focus: Santa Ana, Westminster and Garden Grove, county-wide

El Centro Cultural de Mexico is a nonprofit organization that brings together our diverse community of workers, families, and students, in order to support community-based organizing and initiatives that collectively move towards making Orange County a more just place for everyone. Since our founding in 1994, our goal has been to serve as a resource for the community to find cultural, educational, and artistic activities that strengthen identities, nurture community talents, and develop community-based leadership. Today, we have trained generations of community-based organizers working in health, housing justice, youth organizing, immigrant rights, and worker organizations. El Centro helped found Nuestras Manos, the first domestic worker-led organization that has managed to bring together about 200 domestic workers throughout Orange County and counts on about 15 workers to run the organization. They are pushing local, state, and national policy to increase worker protections.

Geographic Focus: Santa Ana, Costa Mesa and Anaheim

Orange County Justice Fund (OCJF) aims to empower transformative change in the immigration system so the most vulnerable immigrants and refugees in Orange County, impacted by detention and deportation, are afforded effective legal representation, due process rights, and services for community re-integration. OCJF envisions an Orange County that honors immigrants and refugees with dignity, justice, and equitable treatment to empower their freedom, safety and well-being. OCJF was founded in 2017 by a collaboration of grassroot community leaders, attorneys and law professors, dedicated to reaching OC residents and families with loved ones in immigration detention centers and facing deportation, through legal aid, financial assistance to secure release from detention and advocacy for local policies that address the needs of immigrant and refugee communities, especially those without legal representation. In 2019, OCJF established an immigration bond fund, the first in the county, that has provided over $300,000 in financial assistance, including many OC families and has assisted in the reunification of families after their loved one is released from detention.  

Geographic Focus: Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Irvine and Santa Ana.

The UCI Immigrant Rights Clinic launched in 2011 as part of UCI Law’s visionary experiential learning program. Clinic students, working under close faculty supervision, provide direct representation to immigrants on matters ranging from detention and deportation defense to protection of civil and constitutional rights of immigrants. The clinic also provides legal support to grassroots organizations working on critical issues affecting low-income immigrants in the region. The clinic strives for and models high-quality, holistic, and transformative lawyering. It acts in accordance with the foundational insight that the community is best served when lawyers help empower marginalized individuals and groups to advocate for themselves.

Geographic Focus: County-wide/Regional SoCal

Students in the UCI Workers, Law, and Organizing Clinic, launched as a self-standing core clinic in Fall 2021, support worker organizing efforts across the region. As union density in the United States has been eviscerated and the workforce has shifted away from manufacturing, employers have used their economic and political power to subject workers to wage theft, unpaid overtime, unstable schedules, harassment, discrimination, misclassification, and criminalization and raised obstacles to organizing. Labor exploitation is facilitated and structured by racism, misogyny, ableism, and other forms of subordination. Worker centers have risen in Southern California the last two decades in the gaps left by de-unionization. Worker centers and progressive union locals have propelled creative campaigns to build power and fill representational gaps. The clinic supports those worker formations and campaigns.

Geographic Focus: County-wide/Regional SoCal

The Tenayuca Labor Project (TLP), a digital worker’s rights project focusing on highlighting wage theft and labor exploitation in the food and restaurant industries in Orange County, CA. So far, TLP has been able to recover 30k in stolen wages from restaurants and other low wage industries. Currently, TLP collaborates with University of Irvine School of Law Worker Rights Clinic to provide pro-bono legal services to the community.

Geographic Focus: Santa Ana