Category Archives: Leadership Development

Through engaging with their community on the issues that affect their lives, colonia residents show that they are líderes comunitarios, or community-oriented leaders. Working together with their neighbors, LUPE leaders create opportunities for everyone, not just themselves. They listen to the community, make plans together, learn from each other, and celebrate in one another’s victories. This is the spirit of LUPE’s community-oriented leadership and part of the legacy left us by our founder Cesar Chavez.

LUPE leaders paving road to strong colonias

Donna – The road to strong communities is paved by strong leaders. LUPE leaders Manuela Luna and Rosie Tijerina are paving the way for strong colonias in Hidalgo County Precinct 1.

Rosie Tijerina has been fighting for 10 years to get streets fixed in her Donna-area colonia Goolie Estates. The unpaved roads caused dust to go into people’s homes, causing health and nuisance problems for colonia residents. Recently that fight bore fruit. Continue reading


LUPE creative writing

Chapbook of creative writing projects produced by LUPE members, UTPA students and LUPE staff.

Chapbook of creative writing projects produced by LUPE members, UTPA students and LUPE staff. Click on image to open the chapbook in PDF format.

Here are a couple of pieces produced by the creative writing class, in which LUPE members participated in our Alton office this fall semester. The pieces were combined into a chapbook titled “Testimonios de Nuestra Frontera.” The chapbook can be read in its entirety here.

Analizo y pienso en por que…

Si los hombres tienen corazón para ayudar al prójimo
Si los hombres se quitan el sombrero ante una mujer
Si los hombres nos abren la puerta del automóvil
Si los hombres nos regalan flores
Porque no quieren entender la igualdad de derechos de la mujer?
En lo personal, me gustaría que en mis país, ciudad, y comunidad fuéramos un solo equipo, una sola iglesia, para que juntos pudiéramos introducir una materia en todo nivel educativo en donde se les ensene a los niños el valor de igualdad.
I think and wonder why…

If men have the heart to help others,
If men remove their hat before a woman,
If men open the car door for a lady,
If men give us flowers,
Why don’t they want to understand
Women have equal rights?
Personally I would like to see that in my Country, City, and Community, we are a single team, a single church, so that together we can introduce a subject matter at all levels of education where children are taught the value of equality.

Matilde Díaz

I am Adali

I am from Central American and destiny and life decided it this way. At times, certain people have not looked at me well, but this is how God decided it, I can’t do anything about that. For those who don’t know it, when a Central American enters Mexico, he is an illegal and there begins his hard life. When I entered Mexico, I was happy, but at the same time I was scared. I knew that during the trip my life would get totally hard. The further I went, my thoughts were changing and inside of me, I wished I would die or return to Honduras. I wanted to arrive in the U.S. when I took the first train; I thought I was going to die. I got on Monday; traveled Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The little bit of food I had, finished on Tuesday. I went Wednesday and Thursday without eating or drinking anything. When I got off the train, I couldn’t walk. I think that if I had stayed on the train one more day, I would have died. But, I didn’t know that I still needed 11 more trains. The whole trip takes 12 trains. When I arrived here, my life changed in different ways. With pain in my heart, I had to leave my family behind, but when I got here, their life changed too. Because, now, I can give them help in the best possible way. Things have gone well for me here. I have a good job, I live well, I don’t have much, but I don’t lack the essentials. I am learning English and I know I will do it. I have a great teacher!! It is something that being here, I can achieve. For me, this is a real and beautiful experience, just to have the opportunity to be here. I have many dreams and I know I will achieve them.

Adali Rodriguez

Read the chapbook “Testimonios de Nuestra Frontera” as a PDF file here.

LUPE members honored for their creative writing in “Testimonios desde la frontera” graduation ceremony

Alton creative writing students and teachers pose at graduation ceremony.

For the last three months, LUPE members taking English and Citizenship classes in Alton have had the opportunity to develop their creative writing skills every Monday and Wednesday after their normal classes. This month their efforts were honored with a graduation ceremony and certificate of completion of the class.

Students from the University of Texas at Pan American gave instruction to members on how to use poetry and narrative to write about life experiences, their experience crossing the border and their ideas of social justice.

In a nursery called the world were a pine tree and a palm. The pine dreamed of decorating a beautiful garden. The palm of adorning the entrance. The pine dreamed of growing tall. The palm dreamed of reaching him. When the two talked, they had the same ideals. The time seemed short when they talked. The pine never realized she fell more in love every day. The pine grew very tall, and of the palm he forgot. Tempest and storms came and took the pine. The palm in her world, was very well planted. Hurricanes and storms, could not do anything to her. Today the palm looks very nice. Caring for and giving shade to her two small palms. - Matilde Diaz

Though many in the immigrant community have not finished their formal education, they still have the creativity and experiences that make for powerful literature. And through their classes with UTPA students, members demonstrated their ability to learn forms and technique in creative writing to express that creativity and those experiences.

The UTPA students, working with MaryRuth Chen and the Mexican American Studies Program, plan to continue the creative writing class at the Alton office during the summer months.