POMONA - The Pomona Economic Opportunity Center has been recognized by the National Immigration Law Center for its work in support of day laborers and immigrants rights.

A group consisting of center staff, day laborers, members of the center's board of directors and some Pomona City Council members represented the center and an awards ceremony held in Los Angeles earlier this month where they accepted the Courageous Luminaries award.

The center, which is also known as the Pomona Day Labor Center, was one of five groups and individual recognized at the event.

National Immigration Law Center staff attorney Melissa Keaney nominated the Pomona Economic Opportunity Center for the award based on its work educating its members about workers' rights.

The Pomona center provides education and support to day laborers and their families, Keaney said.

The center is "a strong supporter for the community," she said. "Few organizations are doing that type of work."

The Pomona center and the law center have worked together on issues related to Border Patrol and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in the Inland Empire and in Pomona, said Suzanne Foster, executive director of the Pomona Economic Opportunity Center.

Foster said the recognition from the law center is a highlight for her both personally and professionally as well as for the staff and workers.

"We've never been recognized that way before," Foster said. "The workers were thrilled."

The law center does a great deal of work with groups working on immigration issues and immigrant rights, she said.

The recognition provides "an opportunity to tell everybody of our work," Foster said.

"Sometimes we don't save the day or have a solution" to a problem, she said, but the recognition encourages those at the center and and their supporters to keep working.

The center's work involves more than assisting day laborers secure work for fair wages.

Part of the center's mission is advocacy and defending the rights of immigrants so they are able to work, Foster said.

It also involves ensuring law enforcement agencies also respect the rights of immigrants.

Another aspect of the center's work is assisting laborers in integrating into the community, Foster said.

"We are definitely there to help educate people about their rights," Foster said.


Reach Monica via email, follow her on Twitter @PomonaNow, or call her at 909-483-9336.