There are over 1,000 colonias in the Rio Grande Valley. Over 200,000 residents live in these unincorporated neighborhoods that lack basic infrastructure like streetlights and adequate drainage. Let’s begin changing that with our voices, and with our votes.
We can make county officials pay attention to colonias if they see that lots of voters care about colonia issues like streetlights and drainage. Right now it looks like at least one county commissioner race will be decided by only around 1,000 votes. If those 1,000 voters say they care about colonias issues, don’t you think county commissioners will take note?
Make your commitment to vote for colonias issues today!
Join LUPE’s vote campaign to improve our Valley! We call on voters throughout Hidalgo County to show their support for colonia issues by filling out our voter pledge. The pledge says, “Today, I make my commitment for my family, community and country. In these elections, I will vote for: Streetlights, Drainage for all, Drivers licenses for all, Equality in investment in neighborhood infrastructure, Recovery of unpaid wages.”
With a race as close as 1,000 votes, every voter has the opportunity to impact the positions of the candidates. If we can show the commissioners our voter pledge demonstrating 1,000 voters that care about colonia issues, you bet they are going to do what they can to show their support for colonias. And colonias will be able to influence the position of the commissioner, no matter who wins.
Join your voice with colonia residents by making your commitment to vote for colonias today.
Many of the over 76,000 colonia children waiting for the bus on their first day of school next week will be doing so in the dark.
Without streetlights in their neighborhoods, colonia parents worry that their kids might get hurt while they wait for the bus, board the wrong bus, or be left by a bus that can’t see them waiting.
Will you help us change that by sharing this image?
Claudia from Colonia Pueblo de Palmas loaded her daughter onto the bus in the dark early in the morning. Without streetlights Claudia couldn’t properly see the bus number and had put her daughter on the wrong bus. Continue reading
Elda Gonzalez, resident of Tauros 14, announces the regional Public Light Campaign at last week’s Hidalgo County Commissioners Court meeting.
The Public light Campaign is now in month three and progress has been made with over 3,000 individual petitions signed, and other community groups and churches continuing to sign on their support.
Download the petition and ask your church, business or organization to sign.
LUPE leaders, along with members of ARISE, TOP, and START, have organized to increase support in our communities. In our 1,000 colonias lacking streetlights we continue to have unsafe conditions and unacceptable number of preventable fatal accidents. Because of this, members have met with county officials over the past month to bring close attention to this issue.
LUPE members, with support from ARISE, attended Commissioners Court April 23rd and for the first time addressed the campaign publicly in front of the commissioners. Much of the discussion was based on Continue reading
A message from LUPE Executive Director Juanita Valdez-Cox:
The year is winding down and holidays are right around the corner. As you prepare for 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 Union 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.
Children of colonia El Jay in front of recently named Teresa Barrera Park
In recognition of her 26 years organizing for improvements in her colonia and her tireless efforts to give a better life to those around her, LUPE leader Teresa Barrera received the honor of having a park named after her. The park, which was built in 2007 in the San Juan area colonia El Jay, will now carry the name of Doña Teresa and serve as a reminder to the community of what can be accomplished when we organize.
The park is only one of many improvements that Doña Teresa and the colonia El Jay committee achieved over years of organizing. When Doña Teresa and her husband Inocencio Barrera moved to the colonia in 1986, the neighborhood had nothing but lots and simple homes made from any material available. It had no running water or paved roads, and certainly not a park. She remembers telling her neighbors that even though she came from a poor ranch in poverty-stricken Mexico, even the ranch had better living conditions that her new neighborhood. From the start, Doña Teresa was animating her neighbors to speak up for the needs of the community.
Doña Teresa Barrera (center) poses with family in front of park sign bearing her name.
Now, after tireless years of organizing, the colonia benefits from paved roads, running water, streetlights, mailboxes, school bus stops, and even a park, an improvement that most colonia residents only hope for.
Teresa Barrera Park was built in 2007 under the authority of Commissioner Tito Palacios when colonia El Jay pertained to County Precinct 2. This year, because of redistricting, colonia El Jay passed to Precinct 1. Commissioner Joel Quintanilla renamed the park in Doña Teresa’s honor.
Colonia El Jay is an example of what is possible when we are persistent, work hard toward a goal, and above all organize together. ¡Sí Se Puede!
UPDATE: By the beginning of this month, all three precincts had completed installation of streetlights in the 13 colonias. We are celebrating these victories along with colonia residents. For pics from these celebrations, visit our facebook page.
Colonia residents pose after winning a portion of Precinct 3 budget for installation of streetlights.
This month, Precinct 3 is taking the important first step down the enlightened path toward justice for colonia residents. Starting January 23rd, colonia residents will see the first round of streetlights installed in five colonias, starting with colonia Pueblo de Palmas.
LUPE residents worked with Precinct 3 Chief Administrator Dr. Mona Parra on the plan to install solar-powered streetlights in the five colonias north of Alton, including Pueblo de Palmas, Buena Vida, Mi Sueño, La Homa Meadows, and El Flaco. Precinct 3 found funds to purchase the lights via a federal grant and amended the county budget to pay for their installation.
Continue reading about the victory at lupenet.org
Prizes for bingo event at colonia Serenidad. The lotería night provided a way for more colonia residents to learn about the campaign for streetlights in the colonia.
Residents of colonia Serenidad have lived in the dark for 14 years. But these days a small group of leaders have been on a roll working alongside LUPE towards positive change in their community.
Earlier this month Serenidad organized a “lotería night” in an effort to encourage more neighbor participation in LUPE’s house meetings about public lighting.
“We had a lot of prizes, food and we had a lot of fun,” said colonia resident Aurora Martinez. “We would like to organize another with LUPE and everyone will be invited.”
Serenidad is following in Buena Vida’s footsteps, a colonia in precinct 3 who recently organized a lunch date with Dr. Mona Parras, Assistant Chief to Commisioner Jose Flores, who has promised five streetlights in Buena Vida’s colonia come January.
Maria Lourdes Garcia, LUPE leader and Buena Vida resident, makes it simple and clear: “It is very important to be consistently in the meetings with LUPE, support one another, and going to the Commissioners Court also influences these great victories.”
As house meetings in Serenidad grow in quantity, Mona Parras will be receiving invitations to attend meetings in the near future. Residents have made it clear that the plan to increase people power in their colonia has been initiated. Now is the time for precinct 3 to share the wealth and “turn on the switch” in their constituents’ communities.
“The union is very important in order to move forward,” says Rosi Salinas, resident of Serenidad. “We support other colonias a whole lot and hopefully we also will receive the same support of Buena Vida and surrounding colonias in order to come out of this darkness together.”