Jason Yarashes ’12
Lead Attorney and Program Director, Virginia Justice Project for Farm and Immigrant Workers, Legal Aid Justice Center
Folks often say that labor advocates are the “voice for the voiceless.” To the contrary, farmworkers, immigrant workers, and other low-wage workers often have the strongest voices and tell the most compelling stories in the world. They perform the work that the rest of us will not or cannot perform, face threats and retaliation from all angles, and go to unfathomable lengths to provide for their families. It is our job as organizers and community lawyers to listen, help empower traditionally marginalized workers, and creatively work alongside communities to find a platform to lift their voices up. Dare I say: In an ideal world, we would not need labor lawyers at all, because every worker would have the information, power, and medium to advocate for themselves.