El Centro Humanitario Para Los Trabajadores (El Centro) is Denver’s first day laborer organization, organized to defend the human rights of day laborers. In 1988, an injured day laborer was found abandoned on the street with serious brain damage. He had fallen off a roof and his employer, who picked up the worker on a street corner, abandoned him in the dark of night to avoid responsibility for his injuries. Concerned with such worker exploitation and the dangerous working environment that Denver’s immigrant day laborers faced as they sought day-to-day work off of street corners, numerous community supporters came together to create a safe indoor place for day laborers. As a result, a run-down warehouse space was rehabilitated by workers themselves and El Centro opened its doors on June 1, 2002.
August, 2000- May, 2002: Meetings with workers on streets and a shelter nearby Stout St. and 23rd. Workers desired to have their own gathering place.
June 1, 2002: El Centro opened its doors. El Centro was part of the economic justice program under the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).
November 2002: El Centro received its non-profit status, 501(c)(3)
January 2004: El Centro became fully independent of AFSC.
June 2005: El Centro received a building donation from Mr. Fred Pasternack
December 2005: El Centro launched a capital campaign to renovate its run down warehouse. El Centro helped pass a city ordinance that includes theft of wages as a crime.
March 2006: El Centro received recognition from the department of community relations, the City of Denver for serving low wage women in Denver.
January 2007: El Centro begins renovation. Architect: Joe Colistra, inc. DESIGN, Contractor: TC2
March, 2007: El Centro moved to a temporary space near El Centro to continue to serve workers.
August, 2007: El Centro moved back to an original building. A grand opening event with workers, city officials and supporters.
September 2007: El Centro received a proclamation from the City of Denver for serving immigrant workers.
November 2007: Completion of the renovation. El Centro moved back to the building.
July, 2008: Aurora passes an anti-day laborer ordinance that prevents El Centro from opening a second day laborer facility in Original Aurora.
September, 2008: El Centro launches a campaign to create an Aurora Human Rights Center, a multi-tenant center, with a number of organizations.
May, 2010: El Centro kicked off a green cleaning worker owned cooperative (Green Cleaning for Life, LLC).
August, 2010: El Centro's founder and the first executive director leaves El Centro.