Solidarity Ignite

225 E 26th Street, Suite 1

Tucson, AZ 85713




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Alta Gracia Union Leaders Visit over 35 Campuses; students demand union-made apparel in campus bookstores!

From Miami to Seattle -and lots of places in between- workers from Alta Gracia just completed a tour of over 35 university campuses. Yenny Perez, Eduvirgen Castillo, Sobedia Fortuna, and Maritza Vargas shared with students the historic decade-long fight that led to Alta Gracia’s creation, and the impact this factory has had on the community of Villa Altagracia.

“It’s the difference between the heavens and the earth” says Yenny Perez, when comparing the conditions workers in Alta Gracia enjoy compared to previous Free Trade Zone factory jobs. Like many women who work in the garment industry, Yenny is a single mother who before struggled to feed her children and had enough money to only send one child to school. Now, with the salary paid at Alta Gracia, all of Yenny’s children attend school and have nutritious complete diets. “I supported the factory union because I knew it would mean a better future for my children,” reflected Yenny.

Eduvirgen also reflected on how her family’s lives have changed since she began at Alta Gracia: “Before, my son used to tell me ‘Mommy, I want chicken with ketchup! I want some juice!’- but I couldn’t afford luxury items like ketchup and juice. Now, since I work in Alta Gracia, I can afford those things for my son”.

Students joined with workers on many campuses in delivering letters to their university presidents asking for a meaningful commitment to living-wage union-made apparel in their campus stores.

Check out some of the press coverage from University of Miami, University of Georgia, Kansas State University.

Published by Chris Schramm
on November 4, 2014 at 7:51 A.M.

The New Orleans Social Justice Organizing Retreat: an Amazing Success!

Left: Students get ready to have a Skype conversation with union leaders from the Alta Gracia factory in the Dominican Republic. The direct result of decades of collaboration between garment workers and college students, Alta Gracia was born and is the first and only factory producing collegiate apparel to pay workers a true living wage of over three times the local minimum, embrace a strong and independent union, provide unprecedented health and safety conditions, and allow regular verification by independent factory monitors. Center: Students gear up for a nonviolent and peaceful direct action at Dick’s Sporting Goods, asking the retailer to reconsider its business relationship with North Face unless the company signs onto a building safety accord to protect workers in its Bangladeshi garment factories. Right: The beautiful doors of the Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal, who graciously hosted sixty-five students for the three-day conference. Thank you!

In partnership with the New Orleans Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal and H.E.R.: Health, Education & Rights, Solidarity Ignite presented a three-day Social Justice Organizing Retreat in New Orleans, Louisiana from February 28th through March 2. Sixty-five students from 26 campuses across the country- stretching from Nebraska to New York to Florida to Texas- carpooled, caravaned, flew, bussed, and trained themselves down south for the long weekend to meet other student leaders in the movement for social justice, sharpen on-campus organizing skills, build a stronger foundation of student-labor solidarity, and sketch out concrete plans for winning campaigns!

The retreat was arranged like a “social justice sandwich”- the ‘bread’ being the Friday morning opening and Sunday afternoon closing sessions, where different folks presented strategic campaigns currently being organized around; featuring speakers from the New Orleans Restaurant Opportunities Center, Service Employees International Union local 21, GetEQUAL, and organizations fighting the prison industrial complex and working to end human trafficking in university supply chains. The ‘meat’ - or, protein-source-of-your-choice- comprised of those juicy campus organizing skills that empower us to join together and begin to work toward social justice! Students led workshops on coalition-building, meeting with college administrators, gaining media attention, building new leaders, and organizing peaceful direct actions. On Saturday, students participated in a live video chat with garment workers from the Alta Gracia factory- the only college apparel factory to pay workers a true living wage and respect their union, as the direct result of student-labor solidarity- and learned a bit more about how to organize to see to ethical production of their collegiate licensed apparel.

The weekend came and went as quickly as your favorite Mardi Gras krewe- with enough time to experience and enjoy it, but leaving you wanting more! The three-day conference culminated with students taking part in a nonviolent direct action at a Dick’s Sporting Good’s store in Metairie, Louisiana, in solidarity with garment workers in Bangladesh as part of ally organization United Students Against Sweatshops national day of action to pressure North Face to sign an accord on Bangladeshi factory safety.The first experience of this kind for many participants, students peacefully assembled in the store, singing workers’-rights-themed songs to popular tunes, such as “Lean on Me”.

Special thanks to CELSJR staff, our volunteers, workshop facilitators, and everyone who helped make this weekend a memorable one. On behalf of Solidarity Ignite, I look forward to seeing the progress made in organizing for human rights and social justice across all our campuses: Si se puede!

Published by Chris Schramm
on March 20, 2014 at 4:47 A.M.

Winter Break Solidarity Immersion:
July 23 - August 5 and August 7 - 20

Want to come to the Dominican Republic and Haiti with student organizers from across the U.S? Want to spend your winter break exchanging with amazing union leaders, sharpening your organizing skills, and drinking coconut water on the sunny beaches of the Dominican Republic?

Want to see the Alta Gracia factory in operation? The Summer 2014 Solidarity Immersion is here!

Get connected as soon as possible! Get on our conference calls, where we work together to make sure the trip is financially possible for everyone, and we share information about the places we’re visiting to be most prepared for our trip.

Email for more information and to request an application!

Published by Chris Schramm
on March 20, 2014 at 4:06 A.M.

New Orleans Social Justice Organizing Conference (February 28th - March 2nd)

Connect with us on Facebook!

Register here!

Check out the most recent schedule here!

Join students from campuses across the country for a free and fun-filled weekend of social justice organizing skill-building!

Learn from experiences organizers in the movements for labor solidarity, immigrant rights, women's and LGBTQ rights, environmental justice, anti-human trafficking and more!

Explore one of the country's most wondrous cities with cool leaders interconnected in the global movement for justice!

Published by Chris Schramm
on February 6, 2014 at 7:07 A.M.

Get connected on a conference call

Get connected to a national network of student support! Hop of one of our video conference calls to chat with students across the country who are organizing for social justice on their campuses.

Want to learn how to kickstart a campaign? Want to gain valuable fundraising skills so you can meet with garment workers in the Dominican Republic? Want to hear how other students have made it happen?

Register for an upcoming conference call here! Don’t see a time that works for you? Email us, we’ll work something out!

Published by Chris Schramm
on December 1, 2013 at 12:33 A.M.

Alta Gracia Worker Tour

We’re finally back from an epic 6week tour of over 50 universities across the United States with workers from the Alta Gracia factory!

Want to share your experience hearing from Alta Gracia workers? Email us at

Published by Chris Schramm
on December 1, 2013 at 12:33 A.M.