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Immigrant Janitors Clean Up The DNC

El Diario/La Prensa, News Report, Carmen Alarcn Posted: Aug 29, 2008

Editors Note: The 200 Latino janitors who cleaned the Pepsi Center and INVESCO Field worked behind the scenes of the Democratic National Convention to make sure everything was ready for the historic political event. Every night, when everyone else left, they worked from 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. Carmen Alarcn reports for New York's El Diario/La Prensa.

DENVER -- From Monday to Thursday, divided in three shifts, more than 100 Latinos entered the Pepsi Center in Denver not to participate in the political event but to clean the stage, floors, bathrooms, stairwells and hallways where the Democrats held their
historic convention.

Every night, after the more than 3,000 Democratic delegates, plus thousands of journalists, left the 19,000-square meter convention center, groups of 40 Latino employees of the Hospitality Staff Service began their work.

The work shifts for Mexican Alejandro Cruz, 19, began at 8:00 p.m. and ended at 8:00 the next morning during the convention.

Cruz, who usually works as a waiter, had to dedicate himself to cleaning this week for the event. He says he is proud of the team of Latinos who work with him.

"The other companies who worked downtown with us realized that we, Hispanics, work fast and better," Cruz said proudly.

The cleaning company Hospitality, with 1000 employees, 80 percent of whom are Latino, has a contract with the places that have been at the center heart of the Democratic Convention: The Pepsi Center, INVESCO Field (where the presidential candidate Barack Obama accepted his nomination) and Hilton, Marriott and Hyatt Hotels, where many attendees stayed.

With their workforce, they have been one of the operating engines of the spectacular Democratic convention.

Luis Valdez, a 16-year-old Mexican, also worked the shift from 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. during the convention. While he waited for the company van to pick him up on Thursday morning, he had trouble staying awake.

"The work is hard," admitted Valdez, although he appreciated the job.

Three months ago, his mother and his three brothers returned to Mexico after his father was deported less than a year ago.

Today, he lives with a friend and works.

Jos ngel Chan looks even more exhausted at 8:30 a.m., after his 12-hour shift. Chan is 17 years old and lives with his parents. He wants Obama to win, and the immigration situation to be fixed.

The protagonists behind the scenes that television viewers didnt see were the 100 Latinos who cleaned the Pepsi Center and the other 100 assigned to INVESCO Field. They were responsible for getting everything ready for the historic moment when Obama became the first African American to become a Democratic presidential candidate.

Related Articles:

The Other Denver: Hispanics Haunted by Specter of Deportation

Focusing on Immigration at the DNC

Immigration Not a Popular Topic at Democratic Convention

Immigration: Too Hot for DNC?

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