Toya, Fouts, and Fernando met in 2012 while working with the New Orleans Worker Center for Racial Justice, an organization dedicated to building multiracial worker power after Katrina. Toya and Fernando worked as staff organizers and Fouts as a volunteer. As an organizer, Toya led multiple campaigns that involved canvassing, engaging residents in underrepresented neighborhoods, weekly membership meetings, direct actions, press conferences, and meetings with stakeholders and government officials. Fernando played a similar role as Toya at the Workers Center, working with documented and undocumented reconstruction workers and asylum seekers to fight for workers’ rights and against deportations. Through this organizing work, we have developed relationships with Black and immigrant street vendors across the city.
who was born, raised, and still lives in New Orleans, serves as organizing director. Toya currently organizes Project Hustle, a project geared towards uniting Black and Indigenous hustlers to use our collective wisdom, practices and potential to heal, build equity, promote the decriminalization of our survival and use popular education to build and develop an understanding of worker cooperatives and collectives as an alternative. Toya received even more capacity to move Project Hustle in 2020 when they were selected to be an Open Society Soros Justice Fellow.
an assistant professor in American Studies at UMBC and director of the Public Humanities program, serves as the project director. Fouts is currently writing an ethnographic book project set in post-Katrina New Orleans. Her research areas are food, labor, and migration.
a Mexican-born cultural documentarian, serves as creative director. Fernando has helped organize and curate spaces dedicated to BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities drawing in hundreds of participants and facilitating the interaction between diverse groups of people and cultures.