Best Activist (2006)

Juan Alvarez

You wouldn't expect a group of drywallers and bricklayers to be vulnerable dudes, but when the Minutemen and other anti-illegal-immigration advocates started shouting that the city was "coddling" day laborers, these workers were left standing alone on the corner. But Juan Alvarez, founder of the Latin American Organization for Immigrant Rights, jumped aboard their cause and drove all over town listening to their stories and teaching them how to deal with harassment. And when many of them were lured to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it was Alvarez who cared for them when they returned sick and underpaid. He later hopped on I-10, tracked down a couple of opportunistic NOLA contractors and convinced them to turn over back wages to dozens of immigrant workers. Not bad for someone who was once a day laborer himself.


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >