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Casa Latina’s Hilary Stern to step down; new director sought

SEATTLE (Sept. 1, 2015) — After more than 20 years as the Executive Director of Casa Latina, Hilary Stern has announced that she will be stepping down in the first quarter of 2016. A job announcement has been posted for a new Executive Director and Stern is working with Casa Latina’s board to ensure a smooth transition. The board is committed to leading the search until the right person is found to continue strengthening and growing the organization.

Founded in 1994, Casa Latina is a vibrant immigrant worker rights organization that empowers low-wage Latino immigrant workers to move from economic insecurity to economic prosperity and to participate fully in our democracy. The nonprofit social justice organization is also an affiliate of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

stern-hilaryHere is an open letter from Stern regarding the announcement:

Dear Friends and Allies,

Since I began organizing Casa Latina with Latino day laborers and activists in the early 1990s, it has been my dream to build a strong organization that I could someday pass on to a new leader. It is with excitement — and some sadness — that I can say that time has arrived. Over the next few months, I will be transitioning out of my role as executive director of Casa Latina and plan to pass the torch to a new leader in the first quarter of 2016.

When I became Casa Latina’s first executive director in 1994, Seattle was a different place. The tech boom was in full swing and a new wave of Mexican immigrant workers had recently arrived. Though they found plentiful work on public sidewalks, they soon became  a source of community conflict as neighbors and businesses complained about their very existence. At that time immigrant day laborers were seen but not heard, and immigrant domestic workers were neither seen nor heard.

Casa Latina changed that. Today immigrant day laborers and domestic workers are both seen and heard. Our members are able to look for work with dignity in a beautiful building and in a supportive community, earn a fair wage, and lobby legislators about issues that affect them — like immigration reform and labor standards.

It has been a tremendous honor to serve at Casa Latina for 21 years alongside such gifted and committed staff, board members, and volunteers. And most especially, it’s been a privilege to work alongside Casa Latina’s members, the immigrant workers who are the very heart and soul of our organization. Their tireless efforts to improve their lives through Casa Latina’s employment and education programs are a constant inspiration. It’s been particularly rewarding to watch many of them gain the confidence needed to take on leadership roles within Casa Latina and as part of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and National Domestic Workers Alliance.

I am grateful to you — donors, employers, and allies — who have supported and continue to support Casa Latina. This organization is the product of many people coming together to build something bigger than themselves — a world in which all work has dignity, all people can live full lives with their families and communities, and all immigrants are welcomed. We could not have built the Casa Latina of today without you.

Preparations for this transition began over a year ago, and I have been working closely with our board of directors and a nonprofit leadership transition consultant to ensure that the transition will go smoothly. I am confident that the search for the new executive director, which begins this week, will attract a visionary leader. We’ve posted the job announcement on our website, and our board of directors will lead the search until we’ve found the right person to continue strengthening and growing Casa Latina.

As for me, I won’t be retiring! Instead, I look forward to new adventures. The mission of Casa Latina will remain close to my heart, and I will always be an advocate and ally in the struggle for justice. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing as many friends as possible, old and new, at Casa Latina’s annual En Camino Gala on October 3rd and to celebrating together the journey and growth of this wonderful organization.

In solidarity and with gratitude,

Hilary Stern

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