At its recent annual Gala, the Milwaukee-based immigrant and labor rights organization Voces de la Frontera recognized former CLS Director Armando Ibarra with the Joe Rody Labor Rights Award. The son farm workers and longtime educators, Prof. Ibarra is a founding member of the Voces de la Frontera’s Essential Worker Rights Network and a member of its board. In its news release on the event, Prof. Ibarra’s home department, the School for Workers, had this to say.
Armando has shown his leadership by proactively creating bridges between higher education in service to the struggle of low-wage immigrant workers and their families. Armando represents the Wisconsin Idea, which sees public schools not as an ivory tower but as a catalyst for bringing community resources to address community problems in a way that empowers and respects the dignity of working people.
Prof. Ibarra is currently leading a study that is training immigrant essential workers to document COVID-related health and safety violations in their workplaces and residences, funded by the Chancellor’s “Understanding and Reducing Inequalities” initiative
Joseph “Joe” Rody was an early supporter and ally for Voces de la Frontera. Joe was a graduate of West Allis Central High School. He prided himself in being a mechanic and machinist and started CPR Tool Works in the early 1940’s. Joe owned and operated the auto dealership Greenfield Motors in West Allis from 1948 to 1990. Joe devoted much of his life to “making a more humanitarian world.” He was very active in many world peace, social justice and progressive political organizations and causes and was known for his fearless, outspoken and passionate approach to issues.