Como La Raíz Comienza

Words by LUPE’s Ramiro Gonzalez

Edited by Abigail Vela

César Chávez and Dolores Huerta founded La Unión del Pueblo Entero (LUPE) in 1989, a community union rooted in the belief that members of the low-income community have the responsibility and the obligation to organize themselves. Through their association, they begin to advocate and articulate for the issues and factors that impact their lives. Further, César and Dolores believed that for people to have ownership of this endeavor, they have to invest in themselves, their efforts, and resources to sustain it. The membership, and the responsibility that comes with it, form the base that is the power of the organization.

 

In 2003, LUPE was established in the Rio Grande Valley by Juanita Valdez-Cox, then UFW (United Farm Workers) State Director for South Texas. Juanita brought the LUPE model after farmworker leaders recognized the need for a community organizing model to advance the objectives of farmworkers and colonia residents.

Entre Los Años, El LUPE De Hoy 

Today, LUPE’s advocacy expands across a broad range of social issues. From neighborhood infrastructure to defending immigrant families and fair access to the polls, LUPE’s 8,000 members remain committed to continuing to push for the interests of working families in South Texas.

LUPE Headquarters in the past. Image courtesy of LUPE.
LUPE in the present. Image courtesy of LUPE.

True to its roots, the organization still works alongside workers in South Texas to defend them against exploitation. In addition, the community organizers continue using the original house meeting model (juntas caseras) to win neighborhood improvements and other policy changes to help working families have a better quality of life.


Lo Pasos Tomado En El Año Nuevo 

 

This year, LUPE is celebrating our 20th Anniversary of serving the Rio Grande Valley community. Recently, Juanita Valdez-Coz, LUPE’s legendary activist and former executive director, retired. LUPE then announced Tania A. Chavez Camacho as the new Executive Director of LUPE and LUPE Votes.

The multitude of LUPE victories is thanks to our organizers and members who organized their communities for their new paved streets, street lights, and alleyway clean ranging across the valley. We organize from local issues to advocating at the Texas Capitol, even in Congress in D.C. We tackle issues like drivers’ permits for all, the call to an end for Operation Lone Star, lobbying issues for the working class people, and advocating for a pathway to Citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants.  

El Movimiento Continúa

On March 25, LUPE will celebrate our legacy with the 20th Annual Cesar Chavez March. This march commemorates labor rights activist César Chávez, whose dream was to build stronger, healthier communities where colonia residents use the power of civic engagement for social change. The theme for this year is “El Movimiento Continúa: Marchando Por Justicia y Libertad.” 

 

Joaquin Garcia, director of organizing at LUPE, said:

 

“For more than 20 years, La Union del Pueblo Entero has celebrated the life and legacy of Cesar Chavez. Cesar Chavez was a pioneer in the farm workers movement and brought countless victories to farm workers across the nation. He set the example that change could come without the use of force or violence. That is why, every year, we celebrate Cesar’s birthday with a march. 

 

“We march because we know our communities deserve respect and dignity. We march because our people deserve immigration reform. We march because our communities need funds to tackle the infrastructure issues that affect the way they live. We march because the Rio Grande Valley is our home, and we want to thrive and live a prosperous life. We march for Cesar Chavez. We march for nuestra gente del valle. We march for those that can’t. Que viva El Pueblo! ¡Que viva la Raza!”

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