A Powerful Action to Begin the Season of Lent

Ash Wednesday, clergy and community members from across Los Angeles joined workers for a lunch break and anointed them with ashes: the ashes are a reminder that we will all return to dust; and the anointing a reminder of our common humanity and desire to live and thrive.

This sacred ritual reinforces God’s commitment to justice. It offers courage and encouragement for workers in this months-long struggle. And it makes good on our promise to keep showing up with them until justice is won.

Two days after being laid off, workers from Cafe Fig at Hotel Figueroa returned to the restaurant for a delegation with management. Clergy accompanied them as they sought to meet with the restaurant’s manager. These workers were targeted for advocating for themselves. Now they are without jobs.

CLUE representatives were able to talk to hotel general manager Connie Wang, who said that Noble 33 is the decisionmaker about restoring workers to their positions.

Rev. Edgar Rivera Colon shared, “in faith we are called to struggle against all violence that leads us away from love of God and neighbor. Repentance, fasting, prayer and works of love—the disciplines of Lent—help us toward this end.

Hospitality workers in Southern California have shown such incredible endurance, persistence, courage and inspiration over the past year and their fight for life-changing contracts! This too has been a period of preparation that has required patience and a struggle to win new life.

I invite you, therefore, to commit yourselves to this struggle by the imposition of ashes, asking our God for strength to persevere in our Lenten discipline.”

We are grateful to all the clergy and community members who joined for today’s sacred action: Rev. Frank Alton, Rev. Dr. Edgar Rivera Colon, Lenore Dowling from Immaculate Heart Community, Rev. Mark Hallahan, Asher Kaplan, State Senator Anthony Portantino, Pastor Mark Stephenson, and Rev. Gary Bernard Williams of Saint Mark United Methodist Church!

After visiting laid-off workers at Cafe Fig, CLUE faith leaders and community members made an altar at LA City Hall and anointed workers from the LA Grand Hotel.

These workers are going on eight months without a new contract. Meanwhile, they have a skeleton crew and burdensome cleaning duties, maintaining the hotel that operates as part of Mayor Karen Bass’ Inside Safe initiative, providing vacant rooms to unhoused Angelenos.

Worker Ana Pineda shared that her work is extremely difficult, and coworkers need additional support to make her job sustainable.

CLUE members heard Ana’s story, prayed with her, and dispensed ashes to dozens of workers maintaining an “occupy-style presence” at City Hall today.

Thank you to all who came out to support! Your presence offers courage and encouragement for these workers engaged in a righteous, but protracted, struggle for dignity at work.

We pray that hotel owners recognize the common humanity of their low-wage-earning employees and come to the table with a dignified contract.