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Workers participate in hunger strike outside Casa Latina

The outside of the Casa Latina building in Seattle. A band is pictured while setting up to record a performance for a virtual gala in 2020. (Photo courtesy of Casa Latina/Facebook)

The offices are now closed, but a hunger strike outside Seattle nonprofit Casa Latina continues.

At least five people outside Casa Latina have not eaten for six days as of Thursday to protest the sexual harassment, verbal abuse, and discrimination they say went on for years and was not property dealt with by managers. They say they won’t break their fast until their demands are met.

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According to its website: “Casa Latina is a nonprofit organization that advances the power and well-being of Latino immigrants through employment, education, and organizing.”

The protesters say they have attempted to go through the formal channels, such as police reports, grievances with human resources, and reaching out to the board, but have decided to now take this drastic action of a hunger strike. They did not ask Casa Latina to close and have left space for workers to enter the building.

Demands from the fasters include that Casa Latina is transparent about the fact that their leadership protected the abuser rather than the survivors; creates a board to hold those in positions of power accountable, led by community members; bans the abuser from Casa Latina spaces and events; provides reparations for survivors, their families, and comrades who were harmed; and that the leadership takes necessary steps to create a safe space for survivors of sexual violence.

Casa Latina has hired an investigator, closed its offices, and says that some employees will work remotely for now. Some services have been halted.

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An employee and protester named Lucy says a supervisor touched her inappropriately and said inappropriate things in front of other employees. She made repeated complaints, asked for her desk to be moved, and says very little was done to end the bad behavior.

“People in power have abused their power,” one of the strikers said.

Lucy says she does not believe claims that the nonprofit has closed their offices and stopped services because of the protest camp.

One hunger strike participant was hospitalized.

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