LUPE members from colonias throughout the Valley are raising their voice together in LUPE’s 2012 Cumbre de Colonias. Colonia residents will meet to prioritize the issues that LUPE will tackle in the next two years.
The member convention will take place this Saturday, February 25 at 9am, at LUPE’s San Juan office, located on the corner of Cesar Chavez and Business 83. In house meetings, classes and trainings throughout January and February, LUPE members met to prioritize their top issues, formulating resolutions that, once passed, will direct the work of the organization for coming years.
At Saturday’s convention, members will pass resolutions on issues ranging from streetlights in colonias, to support for ESL and citizenship classes. The issues of LUPE members are many and the resources of our organization are limited. The resolutions will allow us to prioritize the issues that we take on as an organization. The resolutions will reaffirm the organization’s commitment in certain areas and redirect our work in others.
The Rio Grande Valley has over 1,500 colonias, with close to 200,000 residents. Colonia residents are some of the most vulnerable members of our society. They face poverty, unsafe working conditions, poor housing, and are the targets of predatory development. They have a strong voice in creating solutions to their problems, and organizing with La Union del Pueblo Entero, colonia residents learn to use their voice for positive change.
In the last year, colonia residents have brought about major victories for their communities. After an 8 year campaign calling on county officials to bring public light to their colonias, LUPE members won a commitment for streetlights in 9 Hidalgo County colonias. Seven of these colonias received installation of lights this month.
Working with the Equal Voice Network, LUPE members won $186 million in federal disaster relief funding to benefit low income and colonia residents whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Dolly. Of this, $64 million is to be used on regional drainage projects.
The direction and participation of colonia residents has been paramount for the success of these campaigns. Saturday’s Cumbre de Colonias will point us in the direction of the victories sure to come in the next few years.