The Homies Youth Empowerment Program began over 10 years ago when a handful of FLOC Associate Members needed a safe place for their children to be after school. They, of course, came to their union! FLOC opened its doors to a small group of teens and young adults. Those families shared this with others and a small group became bigger and harder to manage. FLOC President, Baldemar Velasquez, thought it would be a good educational moment for these lively students to learn more about the labor movement, nonviolence, and how to organize their community for change.
President Velasquez got the staff together to create a plan and the Homies Youth Empowerment Program was birthed. There was a chance for this after-school program to be more than a safe place, but to be an avenue for youth to have a voice in their community and have their concerns heard. Now an integral pillar of his non-profit, the Campaign for Migrant Worker Justice (CMWJ), the program has become a dynamic program funded by the local Jobs and Family Services Program. Over the years CMWJ has worked and finessed how the program is run and what its curriculum looks like, but labor, activism and social change is always at the core. In the present, Baldemar Velasquez has created space for change and creativity in how the Homies Program reaches our neighborhood in Lucas County.