Men at day labor center try to stay warm while waiting for work. (Ed Langlois/Catholic Sentinel)
Men at day labor center try to stay warm while waiting for work. (Ed Langlois/Catholic Sentinel)

Romeo Sosa, the hard-working executive director of VOZ, has left that organization, which connects laborers with contractors and other employers at their offices on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Those workers previously had stood at various street corners, waiting for work and were sometimes cheated of pay by the unscrupulous.

Sosa is an indigenous Mayan, born in Guatamala, who previously had worked as a staff person at St. Francis Dining Hall. His knowledge of Spanish and people skills made him invaluable there.

VOZ was then a project of St. Francis Parish, so Sosa smoothly transitioned into his work at Voz. According to Valerie Chapman, then-parish administrator of St. Francis, Sosa worked long hours to compensate for his lack of staff and funding at VOZ.

“For the past 13 years the heart of VOZ has been Romeo, silently working into the night on grants or budgets, preparing for site visits, pondering staff needs and trying to figure out the best way forward without ever forgetting the reason for the existence of VOZ: the men who work in a harsh and often foreign land,” she said.