NICE is a leader in innovative, worker-developed materials for community outreach and popular education. Because novela gráficas are popular in Latin America and among Latin American communities in the U.S., NICE members have created a comic book and two graphic novels so that they could maximize these resources' effectiveness and reach in our community.
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In 2015, NICE distributed “No Me Han Pagado,” a comic-book style resource by and for day laborers, to thousands of day laborers across New York State. These materials are essential in educating workers on how to protect themselves against wage theft, a rampant issue in the day laborer community. The pocket-sized booklet visually explains the labor laws that all day-laborers should know: what they should be paid for, what they should keep track of on the job to better protect themselves, and what to do if their wages are in arrears. The booklet was created by NICE members, with the assistance of designer Caroline Oh and Public Access Design, a program of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), with support from the Rockefeller Foundation. We also received legal and content support from our allies at the Urban Justice Center.
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Published in 2014, “Ana Busca Trabajo” (Ana Seeks Work) is a novela gráfica written by NICE members and based on the experiences of the NICE membership and community. The novela follows Ana, an immigrant worker, as she seeks work to support her family through employment agencies. While looking for work, Ana is defrauded by two employment agencies in her community and loses hundreds of dollars. In the end, Ana learns about employment agency fraud and develops consejos (tips) for other immigrants to emphatically assert their rights and to avoid the traps she fell into. With the help of our allies, we distributed over 2,000 novelas at 26 sites throughout New York City, Long Island, and Westchester. NICE also partnered with the largest and oldest Spanish-language daily in NYC El Diario/La Prensa, which published Ana Busca Trabajo as an 8-page insert in November reaching over 35,000 readers in the tri-state area.
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Published in 2013, “José Busca Legalizarse” (Jose Seeks Legal Status) was NICE's first novela gráfica. In the novela, José, an undocumented immigrant worker, seeks to gain legal status in the United States. Unfortunately, José loses thousands of dollars in the process to a fraudulent immigration service provider. In the end, José learns what he did wrong and develops consejos (tips) for other immigrants so that they may protect themselves against unscrupulous immigration service providers. The novela gráfica was developed by the Immigrant Consumer Justice Campaign (ICJC), which focuses on ending substandard, predatory, and fraudulent business practices that target immigrant consumers. NICE distributed 2,500 copies of “José Busca Legalizarse” and significantly raised awareness of fraudulent immigration service providers in the community.