King cake raffle supports immigrants and asylum seekers

Sam Lucio

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With the start of a new decade comes a new set of goals, and some people might not even know where to begin. The New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, however, is giving power to the people.

“I feel like, for me, 2020 is going to be a year of action for all of us,” said Meena Haque, development director for the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, “We should all get involved and make change in a way that we find meaningful in any way that we can.”

The change that Haque is pursuing in 2020 is immigrants’ rights. 

According to the Migration Policy Institute, in 2017, over 190,000 immigrants lived in Louisiana, a number that continues to grow. For Haque, the struggle for equal rights is more pressing now than ever.

“I feel like even though we’re only [a couple days] into the new year, I turn on the news and I’m like ‘what is going.’” said Haque.

To help spread awareness for immigrants’ rights and asylum seekers, Haque and the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice is teaming up with Molly’s Rise and Shine, a restaurant on Magazine Street, for a king cake fundraiser with all proceeds benefiting the Congress of Day Laborers.

The event is part of a series called “Cantine: A Collaborative Effort in Kindness.” Cantine focuses on small events that bring the community together to “work together and play to our strengths” and “to make something that is bigger than the sum of its parts.”

“It doesn’t have to be a wild crazy party, it’s just a good fun time,” said Liz Moser, guest at Molly’s Rise and Shine, “I think if we can do more of that, that can really bring people together and put a message out, I think that’s where it really makes a difference.”

The second episode in Cantine at Molly’s Rise and Shine gave guests the opportunity to enter a raffle for one of 13 king cakes provided by local bakeries. Guests could also participate in a silent auction for additional king cakes.

Through all the fun, however, Haque still stressed the importance of the work that the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice does and how everyday, ordinary people can still make change in the world.

“I hope this is not just the end,” said Haque, “I hope this is a starting point for many people.”