Outten & Golden LLP is pleased to announce that Adhikaar will be the 2015 recipient of the annual O&G Public Interest Award, on May 20, 2015. The Award comes with a $10,000 grant to support this unique organization’s work in assisting the growing community of Nepali-speaking immigrants and protecting the rights of the most vulnerable groups in the New York City area.
Managing Partner Wayne Outten, who will be presenting the award, said, “Our firm is delighted not only to recognize the tremendous works of Adhikaar, but also to join forces with them in their mission to empower immigrant workers.
On May 10, the New York Times published an exposé of the nail salon industry, describing a “rampant exploitation of those who toil in the industry.” Adhikaar, which means “rights” in Nepali, is one New York-based grassroots social justice group currently leading a campaign to ensure the “health, safety, and dignity” of underpaid, overworked manicurists. Working with nail salon employees since 2005 and advocating healthier, safer nail salons since 2011, Adhikaar recently teamed up with the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health to lead the New York Healthy Nail Salons Coalition giving Nepali nail salon workers health and safety training and encouraging the creation of “green” salons that use nontoxic products. To educate both salon workers and customers, Adhikaar most recently developed an infographic in partnership with Center for Urban Pedagogy and designers from Welcome Workshop. It features safety tips and nail salon facts in five languages: English, Nepali, Spanish, Chinese, and Korean.
Adhikaar’s worker center model balances the day-to-day needs of its community with long-term strategy and vision. Its campaigns and programs in workers’ rights and immigrants’ rights — as its Healthy Salons Campaign exemplifies — are guided by the priorities of its community members, and Adhikaar responds to these needs through community organizing and base-building, direct service, hands-on trainings and conferences, advocacy and leadership development. The organization’s advocacy work embraces a social justice vision bound in dignity and equity for all, with the active participation of Nepalis. Adhikaar actively prioritizes leadership of marginalized groups, including women and youth, advancing a model for human rights advocacy.