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The Centro Autónomo is a community center used in large part by immigrant families, recent and not-so-recent, from Latin America. As such, it’s important that the classes and community-building activities here are relevant to what it means to live as an immigrant- as well as a woman, a man, a youth, an older person, a disabled person, a person of color, a working-class person, as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transsexual –in Albany Park.
The wealthy systematically benefit from immigrant labor, and especially that of undocumented workers. At the same time the US government creates policies such as NAFTA that undermine Latin American economies and force mass northward migration.
Having arrived in Albany Park, Chicago, many immigrant workers seek to obtain English-language fluency as a way to obtain employment that is better paid, less dangerous, closer to home, and with better benefits. The Centro Autónomo responds to this demand by forming workers’ cooperatives and also by offering popular education-style ESL classes, which are taught with a focus on community-building as well as consciousness-raising pertinent to immigrant, worker's, women’s, and human rights.
We offer three levels of classes three times a week that are taught by volunteer facilitators trained in popular education. If you’re interested in participating, please contact us.
We are very conscious of the unique restraints women in our community face, as they are often the primary caregivers to children in their families. As such, we offer free childcare during classes, given that the majority of our students are women who would likely not be able to participate otherwise.