Tag Archives: colonias

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

Dolores Huerta, Spreading a Legacy of Love

LUPE leaders with Dolores Huerta (center) on Tuesday in McAllen. Click photo for more pictures from the event.

This week, members of the Union visited with UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta during two events planned by the Hermes Music Foundation to honor the farmworker leader’s “legacy of love.”

The Dolores Huerta Foundation and the Hermes Music Foundation have worked together to contribute to the empowerment of local communities through music, including distributing instruments to farmworker youth and promoting the CD, “Claro Que Se Puede,” which features artists like Carlos Santana, Ramon Ayala and Willie Nelson.

Dolores Huerta and Hermes Music founder Alberto Kreimerman see their work as complementing each other. Kreimerman says that Dolores Huerta and her foundation spread love and acceptance through community organizing and political awareness. And Huerta sees Kreimerman’s work spreading music as an important part of the empowerment of the communities her foundation serves.

At a press conference Tuesday, as a testament to the labor leader’s dedication to others, Huerta shared her own spotlight by recognizing the contribution of LUPE director Juanita Valdez-Cox and other LUPE members and former UFW leaders for their contribution to improvements in Texas. Under the direction of Rebecca Flores, Juanita worked as an organizer for the United Farm Workers in South Texas. Her and farmworker leaders throughout the state organized for and won clean water and toilets for agricultural workers and workers’ compensation for on-the-job injuries, among other farmworker victories. Now, as director of LUPE, Juanita leads the organization’s efforts to improve living conditions for Hidalgo County’s over 150,000 colonia residents.

Huerta said that her foundation is doing work very similar to our own work with colonia residents. She said that in California there are also neighborhoods without paved roads, streetlights and proper drainage. All funds raised by her foundation go to employing organizers from low-income working class communities and training them using a grassroots organizing model. Natural leaders are developed by their participation in community projects, which they prioritize by analyzing their neighborhood and community needs.
To learn more and support the Dolores Huerta Foundation, visit their website at http://www.doloreshuerta.org/

Working together, neighborhood crime drops

Residents of Colonia Bar 4 meet with San Juan PD about community policing

Since Colonia Bar 4 began their neighborhood watch program only weeks ago, the neighborhood as already seen crime drop.

The city of San Juan helped residents by installing neighborhood watch signs and training residents on how to manage the program in their barrio. The city will also help the neighborhood establish a person in charge of the program to communicate between neighborhood residents and city police.

While the program is already proving to be an important preventative measure, the community sees the next major step against crime to be the installation of streetlights. Residents say that the cover of darkness the neighborhood offers at night attracts people who are up to no good.

While the colonia is around 20 years old, the city incorporated the colonia about 10 years ago. That means that residents have been paying the city for the past 10 years without receiving streetlights. Past city governments have promised city services, but have not followed through on their promises. This year’s city government is the first government to take serious steps toward providing lights for Bar 4 residents.

City officials will have a meeting with the community in order to let them know the process, which will include signing permission for city workers to enter the residents’ property to install the wiring necessary for installation.

Residents are seeing clearly the results of organizing with LUPE. With each improvement, residents are more animated to continue in the process.