Socorro Cortez, one of our Worker Center Organizers, actually came to Worker Justice Wisconsin seeking our assistance. It was only a matter of time before she became deeply involved, volunteering whenever possible, despite putting strain on her own time and resources to do so. Eventually, Socorro became so involved as a volunteer that we brought her on as a Worker Organizer, and it was an excellent decision! Socorro’s capacity for empathy and understanding is exceptional, having lived many of the conditions that the workers who come to our center face. We are so grateful to have her on board.
But Socorro came here with experience beyond that of what most workers face. Socorro’s upbringing involved lots of union involvement, from her father, to her uncle, to her aunt. Socorro’s first memory of participating in a strike was at age 14-15, but she recalls being involved in similar movements since the age of 8. She even reflected upon a teachers’ strike in her hometown that lasted 2-3 months!
After overcoming challenges both in her personal life and in an exploitative workplace, Socorro realized that overcoming these obstacles demonstrated the amount of power she had within herself. But she doesn’t consider herself different from the people who come to WJW. “I don’t ‘help’ anyone,” she said, “I just share information.”
She encourages those wanting to change their situations to come with a willingness to learn. “Come here, be willing to learn, and we will give you the information,” says Socorro, “But only you can help yourself.