“People are unaware of how egregious abuse of migrant workers can be,” said Holly Moncavage ’13. This summer, she will work to raise awareness through a Peggy Browning Fellowship at The Workplace Project in New York, New York. “I will help fight for lost wages, do some translation, and give ‘Know your Rights’ presentations,” she said. The Workplace Project focuses on uniting immigrant workers and their families to push for better living and working conditions. The organization took part in Occupy Wall Street, and Moncavage is planning to help organize rallies and demonstrations. She is most looking forward to helping people who are marginalized in society.
Moncavage is a caretaker. As an undergraduate at Susquehanna University
she majored in Spanish. During that time she learned about wage theft and other abuse perpetuated on migrant workers and decided to help. She organized a winter clothing drive for local migrant workers and their families and then set her sights on law school. Now, Moncavage is vice president of the Law School’s Animal Legal Defense Fund and president of the Penn State Vegetarian Club. She also fosters cats through PAWS and serves as an ombudsman for the Centre County Area Agency on Aging.
Moncavage explained that she learned about community values as a child. Her grandparents owned a pharmacy in Elysburg, Pennsylvania. She worked there dusting shelves and doing other small jobs. There, she was inspired by her grandparents’ example in taking care of people. “My grandparents gave everyone their medication, even when they could not afford to pay,” she said. “When they died, we found so many IOUs.”
The Peggy Browning Fund
is a not-for-profit organization established in memory of Margaret A. Browning, a prominent attorney who was a member of the National Labor Relations Board from 1994 to 1997. The Fellowship provides 10-week summer work experiences in social and economic justice for selected students. This year more than 500 people from 125 law schools applied.