SAN JUAN, December 27 - The year is winding down and holidays are upon us. As you enjoy your time with family, office parties, gift giving, or just relaxing over the días festivos, we invite you to look back on all that we’ve accomplished together this year.
Thanks to our staff, volunteers, allies, donors and supporters like you, La Unión del Pueblo Entero has had a number of amazing victories. Here’s just a sample:
- After an 8 year campaign, won the installation of streetlights in 13 Hidalgo County colonias. Organizing with the Communities Creating Healthy Environments (CCHE) initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, LUPE members worked with Hidalgo County Commissioners and their precinct staff to fund and install the first of what we hope will be many more streetlights to come.
- With great joy and fighting spirit, around 800 members of LUPE and sister organizations marched through the streets of San Juan to celebrate the birthday of Cesar Chavez and, at the same time, the 50th anniversary of the founding of the United Farm Workers.
- With the RGV Equal Voice Network, we won the most progressive Section 3 plan in the state, one that has been called a “model for all Texas,” and will ensure that at least 30 percent of the jobs created by the use of federal disaster recovery funds in the RGV will employ low-income residents.
- Increased democracy and participation within the Union by forming our Mesa Consejera, a group of low-income residents of colonias that helps us run our campaigns and participates in decisions that affect our membership.
- LUPE leader and Mesa Consejera member Manuela Luna appointed to Hidalgo County advisory board to oversee implementation of Section 3 plan.
- Brought peace of mind and hope for a better future to 113 Dreamers granted Deferred Action after applying through LUPE. More than 500 more RGV youth who came to us for their application are awaiting their approval.
This year brought many more victories, both large and small. Most notable among them was the results of November’s elections. As we know, President Obama won re-election as President of the United States. The victory was the decisive Latino vote. Latinos turned out to vote and more than 70% voted for President Obama. Now both the Democrats as well as Republicans recognize the importance of the Latino vote.
For that reason we now have a strong possibility for immigration reform.
Thank you for being a part of this year’s many victories. The coming year promises more excitement as we deepen our local impact through our Section 3 plan and gaining more streetlights in colonias, and make a national impact by fighting for fair, humane and just immigration reform. We thank you for being a part of our movement and look forward to your involvement in the new year.
On behalf of all our LUPE staff, we wish you a very happy holiday season full of peace and joy.
Juanita Valdez-Cox is executive director of La Unión del Pueblo Entero. The above op-ed is based on a letter Valdez-Cox sent to LUPE members.