Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Immigrant janitor writes protest poetry

July 6, 2009
DENVER — A Mexican immigrant janitor not only keeps Denver-area office buildings clean and safe, he also writes protest poetry, according to the Denver Post.
Juan Manuel Patraca, who lacks a green card after overstaying his 2001 tourist visa, has sold about 50 copies of his 126-page book that was written in Spanish and translated into English and includes original artwork, the story stated.
According to the story, El Centro Humanitario de Trabajadores, Colorado''s Humanitarian Center for Day Laborers, is helping Patraca promote his passion.
Patraca''s poetry mostly deals with the theme of injustice for immigrant workers, but also pays homage to his Grandmother and Ernesto "Che" Guevara, the story noted.
Patraca said: "A janitor here can make more than a lawyer in my country. It''s good here. Injustice exists, but not as bad as in Mexico."
Employees at the buildings Patraca cleans generally used to disregard him; now they acknowledge his existence, smile and nod, the story added.
According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 17 percent of all JanSan employees (an estimated 680,000 workers) are illegal immigrants.
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