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Voz looks for donations after losing grant for marriage stance

The nonprofit Voz Workers' Rights Education Project, is facing a $75,000 gap in its $310,000 budget, after losing a grant from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development Foundation due to Voz’s refusal to cut ties with the National Council of La Raza, an Latino organization that supports same-sex marriage.

Voz, a worker-led immigrant and labor rights organization based in Portland, was a finalist for the grant and says they were told by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development Foundation to drop affiliation with the organization in order to receive the $75,000. In June, Voz sent a letter in return, refusing and supporting La Raza and its values.

The money was going to help cover salary and health care costs for staff and support the organization's campaign for legislation targeted at prevention of wage theft in Oregon. Now, Voz officials say they have until August to raise money to prevent any major cuts.

“This truly hurts our organization. It's going to impact our employees as well as our clients, which is a sad situation,” says Romeo Sosa, executive director of Voz. “But CCHD forced the question of marriage equality into the grant process. Ultimately we are an organization that does not discriminate; many of us know people who are gay, lesbian and transgender."

The organization, which operates its work center on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, connects its workers to 22,000 jobs with a $12 minimum wage for the past five years.

“At the root of our mission is the pursuit of justice and equality for all immigrants and day laborers. We have always found that to do this, we need all allies, day laborers, and immigrants to stand together in unity," according to a letter from Voz’s board of directors to the Catholic organization. "Alone we cannot achieve anything."

To make a donation visit http://www.bit.ly/standwithvoz.