Latino Network's Official Testimony on HUD's Proposed Rule Change

Dear Regulations Division:

Latino Network is thankful for the opportunity to provide public comment and strongly urge that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) withdraw this proposed rule immediately. Latino Network is a culturally specific service and advocacy organization located in Portland, Oregon. Our organization serves the greater Portland area, in Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties. We provide wraparound services for Latinx youth, adults and families. This proposed rule would hurt our community and other immigrant communities in our city, state and country. 

We expect that the impact of this proposed rule will affect close to 1,500 people in our service area.  This means a huge number of people will be evicted, enter a tight rental market, and have difficulties in reaching financial and housing stability. 

We currently provide housing assistance to a number of immigrant families through a partnership with Multnomah County. We provide homeless re-entry and family stability programming that is intended to create stability for people working their way out of poverty. These services include partnering with both government agencies, housing authorities, and other nonprofit service providers to deliver key safety net and community support programs. Our programs include HUD funded programs. 

Our mission is to provide supports for Latino youth, families and community to build self-determination. In pursuit of this mission and in line with our values, our organization provided services to close to 8,000 families in the Portland metro area. This includes a vast network of programming and supports, including early childhood education, gang intervention services, after school programming, advocacy services, and housing stability. We understand the importance of having financial and housing stability for our participants to achieve their goals. Our services offered provide case management supports, and we have had a high success rate in transitioning families into housing stability.

Aside from our immediate work, we recognize the far larger impacts of this rule change nationally. According to HUD’s own analysis, approximately 108,000 people living in subsidized housing would be impacted by this proposed rule. Out of those 108,000 about 55,000 are children. 

Today, the Latino population in the United States is more than 55 million people. Despite the educational experience and economic diversity in our community, Latinos continue to struggle to find affordable and long term housing.  Being able to access federal housing assistance has helped Latinos lift themselves out of poverty. According to an analysis by UnidosUS, a national organization of which we are a member of, federal housing assistance including public and other subsidized housing lifted approximately 800,000 Latinos out of poverty in 2017, including more than 280,000 Latino children.

Latino Network would like to remind HUD, that while your agency argues the proposed rule would alleviate wait times for housing assistance, it will further put pressure on existing housing stock, homeless shelters, and due to the nature of HUD funding will result in fewer families receiving federal housing benefits.
We wholeheartedly condemn the scapegoating of immigrant families for the cause of housing instability, long wait times, and difficulty in attaining services. We would like to reiterate that we urge HUD to immediately withdraw this current proposal and dedicate its efforts to advancing policies that benefit rather than hurt immigrants looking to support themselves and their families.

Signed,

Carmen Rubio

Executive Director

Latino Network

The Oregon Senate passes the Student Success Act

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A statement from our Executive Director, Carmen Rubio:

The Oregon Legislature just passed a $2 billion dollar investment in education that includes $20 million for the Early Childhood Equity Fund and $1 million for the Latino Student Success Plan. Now, the Student Success Act is headed to the Governor for her final signature. 

These bills will allow Latino Network’s Advocacy and Early Childhood teams to transform the lives of Latino families across Oregon. The Early Childhood Equity Fund will give the state the necessary resources to invest in culturally-specific early childhood programs, such as Juntos Aprendemos. 

Through Juntos Aprendemos, 3-5 year olds and their parents are equipped with the early literacy and school readiness skills needed to overcome barriers facing Spanish-speaking children in our community. By allowing programs like Juntos Aprendemos to thrive, the opportunity gaps experienced by children of color will be narrowed and our ever-growing communities will be enabled and encouraged to self-determine their future. 

None of this would have been possible without the constant support of our staff and parents who advocated for this bill in Salem. I would like to thank the youth leaders from our Latino Student Action Committee who also advocated for the Latino Student Success Act and demanded the state of Oregon to create a strategy to improve graduation rates and remove historic barriers affecting Latino students.

I’d like to thank our Advocacy and Early Childhood teams for their arduous work and leadership in securing these great victories for our community. We also thank our community partners for working with us on this effort that will impact current and future generations of children in the state. 

- Carmen

Primavera Social 2019: A night to remember

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Spring is here and we sure know how to celebrate it!

On Tuesday, April 30th, we held our first ever Primavera Social event where we celebrated our beautiful community with friends, family, and supporters from across the state!

While our guests enjoyed Vibrant Table’s delicious catering and a fully-stocked bar, Tequila Highway played our favorite songs and we danced the night away to the tune of our community’s greatest hits.

Some of our guests sat at the poker table to play their hands — and after beating their opponents, 6 finalists were announced and took their exciting prizes home.

Congratulations to our winners:

1st place: Everett Owen

2nd: Jeff Green

3rd: Jeff Laff

4th: Robin Rabiroff

5th: John Jensen

6th: Ray Lister

Primavera Social was everything we were expecting and more. As our friends and family gathered for a night out, the room vibrated with laughter, music, and love for our community.

We couldn’t have celebrated this beautiful night if it weren’t for our sponsors’ generosity, from the bottom of our hearts we thank you for your unconditional support.

Platinum Sponsor

Portland Public Schools

Gold Sponsor

IBEW Local 48

Silver Sponsors

Lara Media

MEK Design

Portland Business Alliance

Buoy Beer Company

Tournament Sponsors

The Portland Trail Blazers 

Buoy Beer Company

Eduardo Puelma 

Cubanisimo Vineyards 

McMenamins 

The Porter Hotel

If you’d like to see more pictures of our magical night, take a look at our Facebook Album!


Our Favorite Things of 2018

Every year, we reflect upon the victories achieved as an organization and through the support of our growing familia. Even during challenging times - with nonsensical border walls, the separation of families and acts of violence toward people of color and other marginalized communities - it is important to call out the stories that prove our community is resilient, beautiful and stronger than ever before.

Here are our Top Five Favorite Things from 2018:

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#1 Oregon Voted NO on Measures 105 and 106

With a record state voter turnout, Oregonians voted to keep our communities safe in November. We rejected dangerous ballot measures like 105 and 106 and said that we will not compromise our values of acceptance, fairness and equality for all. By defeating M105, Oregonians affirmed that racial profiling is wrong and has no place in our state. By defeating M106, we stood behind women and nonbinary Oregonians in supporting their reproductive rights. Thank you to all who voted with our community in mind this past election! Read more about the 2018 elections here.

#2 A Perfect Graduation Rate for Our Escalera Seniors

Last June, 100% of our Escalera seniors graduated and went on to attend college or vocational programs. We can’t be more proud of all 62 seniors (some of them now college freshmen!) for their dedication and passion for their futures. We know they’ll do amazing things and we are proud to have them in our family!

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#3 Juntos Aprendemos is Launching in Central Oregon

Our oldest-running program, Juntos Aprendemos (insert link), is moving to Central Oregon! With Latinos on the rise to be the largest minority group in Oregon, we understand the importance of spreading our programs throughout the entire state. We’re proud to announce that in 2018, we successfully started strategic planning for implementing Juntos Aprendemos in both Bend and Redmond. We can’t wait to see what the new year brings for this satellite program. Stay tuned for details!

#4 Record Amounts Raised for Our Community at Noche Bella 2018

Every year, we host Noche Bella to celebrate our familia, honor leaders in our community and raise money for causes that are truly transformative for Latinx youth and families. In 2018, we raised over $334,000 - this is the most we’ve ever raised at Noche Bella! This will be used to improve and expand our programming, thus fulfilling our mission to empower youth and families in our community in the new year. An read more about Noche Bella 2018 here.

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#5 Our New Office Opened at the Rockwood Campus

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We moved offices last year in order to better serve our community in East County. Along with our amazing partners at Open School, New Avenues for Youth and Boys and Girls Club of Portland, we have come together to create the Rockwood Campus - a group of resources and organizations that work together to transform communities in East County. We are incredibly thankful to the City of Gresham for helping make this happen! The new space allows for our Youth Education and Wellness, Family Engagement, Community Based and Family Stability programs to be more accessible to our community in this area. Read more about our new Rockwood Office here.


2018 was incredible for many reasons, and it’s all because we have amazing supporters like you who are helping us transform lives everyday. Without you, we wouldn’t have been able to combat bigotry and hate with love and acceptance. YOU are the reason why our community is thriving, and we can’t wait to see what the new year holds for us.

¡Hay vamos! Let’s make 2019 the best year for our community yet!

Latino Network Needs You This Holiday Season

Help us meet our goal of raising $35,000 for our community this holiday!

Help us meet our goal of raising $35,000 for our community this holiday!

How does making a year-end gift to Latino Network support our mission? It means you get to help us positively impact even more Latinx youth, families and communities in the new year. $25 provides ESL teaching supplies. $50 funds a classroom full of books for our kindergarteners learning to read. And $100 provides a college visit trip for a Latinx high school senior. 

You have the power to change lives this year and it's not too late! Give today to help the Latinx community in Oregon thrive in 2019!


2018 Elections: Thank you for standing with our communities

Together we secured crucial victories for our state.

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With a record state voter turnout, Oregonians voted to keep our communities safe this election. In defeating extreme and dangerous ballot measures like 105 and 106, Oregonians resoundingly said that we will not compromise our values of acceptance, fairness and equality for all.

By defeating M105, we affirmed that racial profiling is wrong and has no place in our state. By defeating M106, we stood behind women and nonbinary Oregonians in supporting their reproductive rights. By supporting measures 102 and 26-199, we removed barriers to affordable housing so our state can support more communities of color and low-income Oregonians.

Thank you to our amazing staff, volunteers and partners for working hard to secure these victories during this crucial election. And THANK YOU to all of the voters who took action with their ballots and stood for what was right.

Although we celebrate these victories today, the journey isn’t over.

There is still a long road ahead of us to secure equality for all Oregonians and Americans. Subscribe for future advocacy alerts here to be part of our critical work to reject attacks on immigrant communities in Oregon!

Thank you again for your dedication to our communities. Because of you, we can continue to positively transform the lives of Latinx youth, families and communities throughout our beautiful state.

Noche Bella 2018: What a Beautiful Night!

Thank You for making Noche Bella 2018 a Success!

Nuestra comunidad, nuestra familia: Thank you for standing with Latino Network.

Last Friday, we celebrated the strength of our community at #NocheBella2018. Our goal is to transform communities, and last week is yet another example of how this transformation can happen when we come together in solidarity, resiliency and love.

Congratulations to our 2018 Aguila Honorees—Ramon Ramirez, Nichole June Maher and Mat dos Santos—and thank you for your leadership.

A huge thank you to our donors, staff, board of directors, volunteers, sponsors and vendors for your help in making our event truly special! We raised over $334,000 this year - this is the most we’ve ever raised at Noche Bella! From the bottom of our hearts we’d like to thank all of you - nuestra gente - for making this celebration possible. We now continue to build our power, our voice and our dream. ¡Vamos adelante! Thank you all for a truly beautiful night!

Our amazing Corazones Alegres youth dancers stole the show last Friday!

Our amazing Corazones Alegres youth dancers stole the show last Friday!

Don’t miss the opportunity to give!

“Latino Network helped me learn how to be more comfortable being me. They showed me how to move forward in a more positive way. And they’ve made a commitment to be there for me. This is what we need more of in the world.” –José

José was referred to our Community Healing Initiative (CHI) program a few years ago after finding himself in the juvenile justice system. CHI is designed to prevent and reduce violence and José was paired with Jesús, a Latino Network mentor and former CHI participant.

We have programs like CHI because of supporters like you who care about the future. Even if you didn’t get the chance to attend Noche Bella, there’s still a chance for you to be part of transforming the lives of youth like José.

Donate today to make the next generation of change possible:

Learn more about our annual gala here!

Take a look at our Facebook album!

OUR NEW ROCKWOOD OFFICE IS UP AND RUNNING

We Have A New Rockwood Office!

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Familia, we have some great news to share with you: Our brand new Rockwood is up and running!

Located on SE 165th Ave. between Stark and Burnside, this new site is part of the revitalized Rockwood Campus, with neighboring agencies Boys & Girls Club, New Avenues for Youth and Open School. This  more centralized location will allow us to better serve the community in East County. We are very excited about this new extension and working alongside our partners.

We will have various programs from all of our departments operating from our new space, including:

  • Youth Education & Wellness: Conexiones, Early-Escalera, and Escalera.

  • Family & Community Engagement: Colegio de Padres, Comprando Rico y Sano, Immigration Navigation, PUAH project, Mobile Lab, and Reducing Barriers to School Attendance

  • Youth Empowerment & Violence Prevention: CHI

  • Family Life: Energy Assistance & Rent Assistance  


We would like to thank the City of Gresham and all of our staff for their support as we transition into the new space! Stay tuned as we plan for an official grand opening celebration!


You are invited to a ROCKWOOD CAMPUS OPEN HOUSE!

September 27th - 5:30-7:30pm -  With the Rockwood Boys and Girls Club, New Avenues, and Open School!

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The date for our own Open House is still to be determined.


AN IMPORTANT REMINDER

Currently at the new Rockwood Office   Clients are served by appointment only. If you have any questions please contact Ana Munoz at ana@latnet.org .


Congrats to our Noche Bella 2018 Aguila Award Honorees!

2018 Aguila Award Recipients

We are thrilled to announce the recipients of the 2018 Aguila Awards to be presented at Noche Bella on September 21, 2018. These renowned change makers are well known for their commitment to equity and for their determination to implement change to benefit communities across the state. We are grateful for the opportunity to celebrate their leadership and passion at Noche Bella.

Ramon Ramirez ,  former President for PCUN (Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste), has a tremendous history with his advocacy work on behalf of the local farmworker and immigrant community. Ramon has a proven track record in mentoring other leaders in the Latino community and serving as a champion for both women’s rights and LGBTQ equality.

Ramon Ramirez, former President for PCUN (Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste), has a tremendous history with his advocacy work on behalf of the local farmworker and immigrant community. Ramon has a proven track record in mentoring other leaders in the Latino community and serving as a champion for both women’s rights and LGBTQ equality.

Nichole Maher ,  former President and CEO for Northwest Health Foundation, is a respected visionary leader whom has helped transform the nonprofit and philanthropy landscape to lift up community based leadership and organizations of color. Her work has led to communities of color and rural communities building a stronger and more influential voice in policy and civic life in Oregon.

Nichole Maherformer President and CEO for Northwest Health Foundation, is a respected visionary leader whom has helped transform the nonprofit and philanthropy landscape to lift up community based leadership and organizations of color. Her work has led to communities of color and rural communities building a stronger and more influential voice in policy and civic life in Oregon.

Mat dos Santos ,  Legal Director for ACLU of Oregon, demonstrates a fearless and tenacious approach in addressing the current injustices in the immigration arena. Mat is community driven and holds a high level of accountability and passion for the community he serves.

Mat dos Santos, Legal Director for ACLU of Oregon, demonstrates a fearless and tenacious approach in addressing the current injustices in the immigration arena. Mat is community driven and holds a high level of accountability and passion for the community he serves.


Ramon Ramirez

A founding member of PCUN, Ramon was elected President in April, 1997.  Ramon serves on the Board of Director's of the Farmworker Housing Development Corporation, Center for Social Inclusion, Farmworker Justice Fund, The Center for Popular Democracy and the United Farmworkers of America Foundation. Ramon is currently member of the Higher Education Coordinating Council for the State of Oregon.  Ramon joined the Willamette Valley Immigration Project in 1977, handled immigrant visa cases until 1982, and coordinated the Immigration Project's fundraising and legislative work until 1985. Ramon is a co-funder of CAUSA, Oregon’s Immigrant Rights Coalition. Ramon is also involved in the Oregon Voter Registration and Education through ACCION POLITICA PCUNISTA.

Ramon was awarded the 2003 Leadership for a Changing World by the Ford Foundation, The Jeannette Rankin Award from the Social Justice Fund and is a Alston/Bannerman Fellow. Ramon was awarded the 2009 UTNE Reader 50 visionary of the world award and was Chosen Latino Hero of the year by Regency Blue Cross of Oregon. The University of Oregon chose Ramon as its 2015 Elder in Residents. In 2017, USA Today awarded Ramon with the “I am an American Award."

Nichole Maher

Nichole June Maher joined Northwest Health Foundation as president and CEO in August 2012. Under her guidance, NWHF has become a forerunner in equity nationally and a champion of supporting communities to improve health by building power. Previously, Nichole served as the executive director of Native American Youth and Family Center for 11 years, an organization which is widely recognized the most effective and innovative wrap-around family service model for Native Americans in the United States.

One of her most satisfying and impactful accomplishments has been co-founding the Coalition of Communities of Color, a powerful advocacy group in the state of Oregon and regionally. Nichole is proud of her Alaska Native heritage and her connection to Oregon’s rural communities. She is an active mother of three young children.

Mat dos Santos

Mat dos Santos is the legal director of the ACLU of Oregon. He currently oversees the legal program, which includes a docket of about 30 pieces of impact litigation and over 4,500 requests for legal assistance per year. He also oversees the ACLU of Oregon’s amicus program, which routinely files briefs in state and federal court on important issues of civil rights and civil liberties.

Prior to joining the ACLU of Oregon as the legal director, he worked with numerous organizations including the ACLU, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Immigration Equality and the Transgender Law Center and represented a wide variety of clients in varying areas of civil rights litigation. His cases included successfully securing hormone treatment for transgender inmates in state custody; assisting with 9th Circuit appeals of refugees seeking asylum based on HIV status, gender identity, and sexual orientation; the representation of a Guantanamo Bay detainee held without charges; and, he contributed to amicus briefs in the same-sex marriage cases in state and federal court.

 

Congrats Honorees!

We can't wait to present you with this award next month

Families Belong Together!

We will not stand by and allow families to continue to be separated!

Latino Network denounces the escalating violence by our government against our children and families.  We call on our community members, legislators, and all people of good conscience to act now to stop the policies that are allowing this to happen.  The actions of the border patrol and ICE under the direction of the administration are abusive human rights violations that are doing irreparable damage to children, families and our entire community.  We are at a moral crossroads and this is a time where we must step up our actions to end these violent and racist policies.  

This crisis must end now: this administration must stop the separation of immigrant families at the border, a needlessly cruel act that has inflicted life-long harm on children. We continue to strongly condemn the conditions in detention centers, the criminalization of immigrants and the hateful and discriminatory contempt this administration has consistently demonstrated and encouraged. 

These unconscionable actions must stop. We must continue to grow pressure for change from all of us, both elected and organizational leaders and the community. We must continue this pressure to demand justice and call out this shameful bigotry until we see that America's operating values of immigration, family, justice and opportunity are fully restored.

Here is a link to resources for immigrant community members to protect their families and their rights


Here's how you can take a stand, every action helps, big or small:

If you have family that may have been impacted by this policy, or know of any children who may have been separated and placed in Oregon, please contact the Oregon Attorney General’s Office at 503-378-6002. 

 

 

photo: John Moore/Getty Images

2017: Our Favorite Things

Friends,

As a country and as a community, we have had a challenging year. However, 2017 was also full of moments that highlight the beauty and resiliency within our communities when we come together in love and unity.

Here are a few of our favorite moments from 2017:


#5 Portland Trail Blazer Partnership 

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  • This is the second year that we have been a chosen partner with the Portland Trail Blazers. From hosting two successful Hispanic Heritage Game Nights to raising money through their 50/50 raffle, the Blazers have been an amazing partner to our organization and community. Not only have we been able to take students and families to games, but we have also had the opportunity to have our youth participate in basketball clinics and Blazer meet-and-greets. Thank you Portland Trail Blazers for an amazing partnership! We appreciate your dedication to making Portland a better place for all communities!


#4 High Graduation Rate Among our Escalera Students

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  • In 2017, 98% of our Escalera students graduated from high school and enrolled in university or apprenticeship programs. Many of these students are the first in their families to continue their education after high school, and we can’t be more proud of their hard work and dedication that they put in to achieve their dreams. Great job, Escalera grads! We are proud to have been a part of your journey and can’t wait to see the amazing things you’ll do in the future!


#3 Community Response to Immigration Bans and DACA

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  • Since Trump’s decision to take actions to repeal DACA, our community has come together to protect Dreamers and their families. We have worked with many partner organizations and school districts to host community forums - including PCC Southeast Campus, Beaverton School District, Tigard-Tualatin School District, Hillsboro Public Library, and Centennial High School. Our seven successful forums have helped Dreamers, their families, and community allies learn how to protect Dreamers’ immigration status in the wake of DACA being repealed. The community’s response to this has been beautiful and resilient - thank you to all who made these forums possible.


#2 Noche Bella

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  • On September 22, we hosted our fifth-annual gala, Noche Bella, at The Nines Hotel. From live music and performances by Edna Vasquez, our Corazones Alegres youth dancers, and Dina y los Rumberos to delicious food catered by Tamale Boy, Noche Bella 2017 was definitely a night to remember.  We are SO happy to have exceeded ALL of our fundraising goals for the year! A total of $284,635! Thanks to all of our amazing sponsors and attendees for making Noche Bella 2017 our most memorable gala to date.


#1 YOU!

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  • From running our day-to-day programs to hosting events for the community, none of our success in 2017 would have been possible without YOU. You - our familia, friends, allies, and partners - are the reason why we can continue to empower Latino communities everywhere. Thank you so much for your love and support! We can’t wait to see what 2018 brings!

 

We hope you enjoyed these memorable moments too - we hope to share even more amazing times together with you in 2018!

 

Gracias,

The Latino Network Family

LEADERSHIP PROGRAMS EMPOWER LATINOS OF ALL AGES AND LEVELS

Along with our advocacy work at the state and local level, Latino Network provides leadership development opportunities for members of the community. From high schoolers to CEOs, our leadership programs empower community members by providing opportunities for Latinos to learn and grow, and become more civically engaged.

This year, we have three culturally specific programs: Latino Student Action Committee (high-school level), Academia de Líderes (grassroots-level), and Unid@s for Oregon (executive-level). All of them have recently started or will start within the next month. We are happy to share updates for each of these exciting programs!

Latino Student Action Committee (LSAC)

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We are excited to share with you our newest leadership program! In its first year and pilot cohort, LSAC is a youth leadership development program for high school students who want to create positive changes in the community. The goal of the program is to foster Oregon's next generation of leaders by providing opportunities for Latino youth to discover their leadership potential, solve issues in their community, and advocate for social change.

LSAC recently had its first parent orientation and kickoff retreat, and we can already tell that these kids are ready to take advocacy to the next level. Along with creating and implementing their own advocacy-related project, LSAC helps students develop relationships with other youth leaders and leaders in the community.

“People always say youth are the future, and that is true, but youth are also the present,” said LSAC Coordinator Maria Vargas. “So many times we try to support youth, but we don’t include them in the process. I’m excited to see what projects and initiatives the youth decide to tackle, how they will make a difference, and how they will grow and support each other throughout the program.”

We can’t wait to see the amazing things our first LSAC cohort will do! Stay tuned for their progress and more updates.


Academia de Líderes

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Academia de Líderes aims to guide change in the city of Portland by working with emerging Latino leaders to build leadership skills, organizing capabilities, and capacity to advocate and have our voices heard. Program skills include an introduction to civic institutions and effective community organizing. Participants focus on issues related to social justice and government.

“The program always brings together people from diverse experiences and backgrounds in a beautiful and authentic way,” said Civic Engagement Coordinator Raul Preciado Mendez. “Individuals from different age groups, levels of educational attainment, and skill levels have an opportunity to bond and create lasting relationships that go beyond the classroom and into the community.”

In fact, 2017 grad Magdalena Torres Rios is a great success story that shows the power of Líderes. After finding her political voice in the program, Magdalena made a big impact in Early Childhood Education by testifying in Salem for bills that will support children in our community. We are so proud to have given her the tools to advocate for our community, and we can’t be more proud to have her as a Latino Network employee now!

The program starts on January 27, 2018 - if you or anyone is interested in becoming a more engaged Latino leader, apply today!


Unid@s for Oregon

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Now in its sixth cohort, Unid@s for Oregon aims to create a strong, connected, intergenerational network of established Latino leaders from all sectors and regions of Oregon. Through a unified statewide voice and presence in all levels of leadership, Unid@s advances the well-being of all Latinos. 

This executive-level leadership program brings leaders from across the state for an eight-month curriculum that focuses on personal growth and transformation, identifying systems of oppression, and what our participants can do as Latino leaders to cultivate change.

What have Unid@s alumni done with these tools? From implementing leadership skills in their current leadership roles to running for office, all of our participants have impacted the community for the better. One story stands out to us in a big way: The election of UNID@S alum Teresa Alonso Leon to the Oregon Legislature. Representative Alonso Leon is the first immigrant woman to be elected to the Oregon legislature and often cites the support she received from her UNID@S family as instrumental in her decision to run for office.    

“As Latinx leaders, it’s important that we recognize systems of oppression and how our cultural narratives shape our decisions everyday,” said Unid@s Coordinator Joaquin Lopez. “We are asking our leaders to recognize how their life has been shaped, and we're guiding our participants to now become the creators of their lives, and begin to shape it with more authorship and awareness.”
 
Stay tuned for Unid@s updates in the new year! We can’t wait to see the amazing things Cohort VI will do.
 

Things We're Thankful For

This fall has been a busy one for our organization. From hosting a Latino Network Night with the Blazers to celebrating Día de los Muertos, we’ve had an amazing time connecting with community members, partners, and allies this season. 

We are so thankful for all of you who have helped us during this challenging year - we are inspired to continue to make a difference in the lives of our community!

Here are a few events that happened this month that we have to be thankful for:

Día de los Muertos celebrations

On Friday, Nov. 3, all of our staff got together to celebrate Día de los Muertos. From the sugar skull painting to an awesome play performed by our School Based Programs team, all of us had a wonderful time honoring traditions and spending time together. We even got everyone to sing the Baile de las Calaveras song!

Many of our school based programs also had Día de los Muertos celebrations! Our Early Escalera and Escalera programs hosted school-wide parties for everyone to enjoy sugar skull painting and delicious treats. Check out some of the photos from the party at Madison High School!

 

Mojada & Latino Network Pre-Reception at Portland Center Stage

We were proud to partner with Portland Center Stage and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for a special performance of Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles! Our pre-show reception was catered by Tamale Boy, with a special musical performance by Gerardo Calderon. Community members and theater enthusiasts alike enjoyed delicious food, drinks, and good conversation before watching the play. 

 

Give!Guide Has Begun!

It's time to GIVE BIG during the holidays! We're participating in Willamette Week's Give!Guide - the city's largest holiday fundraiser that helps connect the community to nonprofits who are doing work that makes a difference. With Big Give Days happening every week, your choice of 150 nonprofits to give to, and chances to with amazing prizes, Give!Guide is the ultimate way to give back to our community this season.

How far does a $10 donation go?

$10 feeds three students a nutritious afternoon snack, gives a low-income Latino family with young children at least three Spanish-language books, and gives a Latino adult striving to learn English extra practice materials during ESL classes.

How far does a $50 donation go?

$50 helps provide a set of bilingual books and educational materials to a full classroom of Latino students, or assists in funding a field trip for three students to visit colleges while learning about higher education.

 


We hope you’ll join us in wrapping up the year on a positive note! Thank you again to all of our familia for your support, love, and dedication!

Latino Network Night with the Blazers was a Success!

We had an amazing time last week at the Moda Center celebrating Latino Network Night with the Portland Trail Blazers. From the pre-reception in the Rose Room with the Hillsboro Youth Mariachi catered by Cha!Cha!Cha! to our Corazones Alegres youth dancers performing at halftime, October 26th was a night to remember.

A true highlight of the evening was that it was one of the few times that the Blazers starting lineup was announced en español! ¡Buen hecho Pepe Morosco!

We’d like to thank all of our staff, volunteers, and the Blazers Community Outreach team for making this event possible. Together we raised over $2,000 at the 50/50 raffle!

Enjoy some photos from the night and see our full album on Facebook.

Photography by Bruce Ely with the Trail Blazers

Ballet Folklórico Helps Youth Learn About their Heritage

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As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we must make it a priority to teach our next generation that who they are and where they come from is celebrated and loved - this is what our Arts & Culture programs aim to do in our community. 

With this in mind, we’re happy to say that one of our youth dancers from Corazones Alegres was featured in an Americans for the Arts blog post!

Gema Huizar Rios, an 8th-grade dancer in Corazones Alegres, talked in the blog about how the program helped her get in touch with her heritage and become proud of her cultural identity. 

“For someone who is Mexican American, arts education is very important because it helps me learn about who I am and who my family is. And for me, my family is unique and full of culture,” she said. 

We are incredibly happy to have programs like these that help our youth be proud of who they are! Thank you Gema for your kind words about Ballet Folklórico!
 

Noche Bella 2017 was a HUGE Success!

Last Friday, September 22, we hosted our fifth-annual gala, Noche Bella, at The Nines Hotel. From live music and performances by Edna Vasquez, our Corazones Alegres youth dancers, and Dina y los Rumberos to delicious food catered by Tamale Boy, Noche Bella 2017 was definitely a night to remember. 

We are SO happy to report that we exceeded ALL of our fundraising goals for this year! 

This beautiful night wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing support from our sponsors, attendees, and staff. We would especially like to thank our Presenting Sponsor, Legacy Health, for their amazing support and dedication to our cause. 

Click here to see a full list of our 2017 sponsors!

“We are incredibly thankful to our sponsors, donors, volunteers, and all of our familia for making Noche Bella possible. Events like this gala and people like you are the reason why we keep doing what we do,” said our Executive Director Carmen Rubio.
 

We would also like to thank The Nines Hotel for hosting us in their beautiful ballroom, A to Z wines for donating all of the wine for the night, and all of our amazing staff who put in long hours to pull off our biggest party of the year. 

This year, we decided to show our attendees what their donations mean to our organization with touching videos of some of our program participants:

This year’s celebration was telling of what we can do when we come together - in a year where we have faced adversity and bigotry, Noche Bella was a night that reminded us of the power of community.

We can’t wait to see you all next year! Vamos adelante familia!
 

Noche Bella is Just Around the Corner...

Now more than ever we must stand together and advocate for our communities, and Noche Bella is a perfect reminder of the power of unity and love in the face of of bigotry and hate. As we prepare for our annual gala, we especially want to thank all of our generous partners, sponsors, and donors for their incredible support and dedication.

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Presenting Sponsor: Legacy Health continues to play an integral part in providing medical services for all communities in Portland and to serve low-income communities and communities of color. We are incredibly proud to have their partnership and sponsorship for 2017!

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Gold Sponsor: Our Gold Sponsor has been a trusted partner with Latino Network for years - Prosper Portland focuses on building an equitable economy, especially for communities of color and those who have been historically underserved. We are honored to have their sponsorship to help empower Latino and immigrant communities.

 

THANK YOU SPONSORS FOR YOUR HELP AND DEDICATION TO OUR COMMUNITY!


Each year, we also honor individuals who have made lasting contributions to the Latino community with the Aguila Award. This year we are proud to award two Oregon legislators with this honor: State representatives Diego Hernandez and Teresa Alonzo Leon.

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Diego Hernandez is the youngest legislator serving in the Oregon Legislature. Growing up in East Portland and as a first generation Latin-American, Diego has worked as a community organizer since he first elected to the Reynolds School Board at age 25. In his first legislative session, Rep. Hernandez championed legislation that focused on immigrant rights, education equity, criminal justice, renters rights, reproductive justice, and other social justice issues.

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Teresa Alonso Leon was elected to represent House District 22 in November of 2016 and is currently serving in her first term. As the daughter of migrant farmworkers and an immigrant to the United States, Teresa grew up in House District 22, attending schools in Gervais and Woodburn. Teresa previously worked for the Higher Education Coordinating Commission as the High School Equivalency and GED Administrator working to give ensure that every Oregon student has the education that they need to succeed.

 

CONGRATULATIONS DIEGO AND TERESA! WE ARE PROUD TO HAVE YOU BOTH AS REPRESENTATIVES OF OUR COMMUNITY AND LEGISLATORS IN OUR STATE.


Attendees will also have the chance to win some amazing auction items and roundtrip tickets to a destination of their choosing provided by Alaska Airlines.

 

It’s shaping up to be an amazing night - We can’t wait to see you there!

 

VOZ ALTA: AMOR EN LOS TIEMPOS DE GUERRA WAS A HUGE SUCCESS!

Voz Alta was born out of love and wanting to be heard and seen, and it’s only fitting that we return to that theme during this time of adversity in our country. My hope for the show this year was to bring people together to celebrate our identity as a Latino community: We are love, we are hope, we are strength.
— Joaquin Lopez - Creator of Voz Alta and Arts and Culture manager at Latino Network

Thank you to all who attended last week’s Latinx storytelling event that celebrated the Latino Community - Voz Alta: Amor en los Tiempos de Guerra was a huge success!

For nine years Voz Alta has mixed true stories, live music, and poetry to create a theatrical performance celebrating Latino/a/x stories. Actors perform the narratives in English while musicians perform songs related to the narratives in Spanish. This year was something special because Voz Alta returned to the theater where it all began - Milagro! 


THE STORIES

Anabertha Alvarado was born in Guanajuato, Mexico. As a child she cared for her siblings. She entered the man dominated world working her father’s lands. She rebelled, fought, and cried. Ending in an unknown country with the man she loved, she gave her life to this community. Now she is a mother of 4 children, 2 stepchildren, widowed, and remarried. “I love and am loved. With faith, hope and courage I share my story.”

The part of Anabertha was performed by Nurys Herrera

Dawn Joella Jackson is a mother, an educator and a dancer. She is from New Mexico and Colorado where her families have lived for generations. She and her partner are celebrating 20 years together this week! She is currently the principal of Helensview, an alternative school for students ages 12-21. She loves Joaquin and is honored that he tells her story!

The part of Dawn was performed by Sasha Neufeld.


ENJOY THESE PHOTOS FROM THE SHOW!
 

Thank you to the Regional Arts and Culture Council, Multnomah County Cultural Coalition, and PDXLatinXPride for making Voz Alta possible.

 

Click here for the full program and to learn more about the cast and crew!

Comprehensive Sexual Education Programs Funding Cuts: The Fight Isn't Over

In adverse times such as these, we often feel like we’re fighting an uphill battle. From members of our community being detained by ICE, to allies being killed or hurt for standing up and doing the right thing, our community and others like us face bigotry and fear everyday. And, unfortunately, our national government often reflects this intolerance.

At Latino Network, we will continue to fight for equality, choose love over hate, and stand up for our community - regardless of the circumstance.

ACT is a crucial program for our community: Comprehensive sexuality education provides young people with the tools to make informed decisions and build healthy relationships, and encourages healthy family communication about sexuality.

On July 14, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notified the Multnomah County Health Department that it will cut the last two years of a five-year Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP), even though the federal budget for fiscal year 2018 has not been finalized. This program has the dual goal of reducing rates of unintended pregnancy and STIs among African American, Latino, and Native American young people.

Latino Network was one of 5 local organizations to receive the news that this funding - a total of $6.25 million over five years - will come to an end two years early. The program, called Adolescents and Communities Together (ACT - the local TPPP for Multnomah County), provides culturally relevant comprehensive sexuality education to approximately 3000 young people and 200 parents each year in Multnomah County.

So, how will funding cuts affect the program and its participants? The answer is unsettling: Latino Network and our partner organizations need to find alternative funding in order to make ACT possible.

ACT is a crucial program for our community: Comprehensive sexuality education provides young people with the tools to make informed decisions and build healthy relationships, and encourages healthy family communication about sexuality.

Cuts to programs like ACT will take this away from thousands of young people and families across the country, including those in our own community in Portland.

Latino Network and our partner organizations will have to search for funding elsewhere for ACT, the local TPPP for Multnomah County.

Latino Network and our partner organizations will have to search for funding elsewhere for ACT, the local TPPP for Multnomah County.

The future of Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs (TPPP) like ACT is still unclear. Many lawmakers from the Pacific Northwest - including Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Earl Blumenaeur (D-OR), and Peter DeFazio (D-OR) - have openly condemned this preemptive decision, saying that it will put young people and women at risk and that it goes against evidence-based policymaking.

Needless to say, although many lawmakers are fighting to keep TPPP in the national budget, Latino Network and our partners are nonetheless taking the steps to prepare for the worst and search for funding elsewhere. We remain committed to this work because the science and evidence for programs like ACT are clear: Providing young people with comprehensive sexuality education and access to birth control does not increase sexual behaviors. Rather, it empowers young people to make healthy and responsible decisions for when they do become sexually active.

Comprehensive sexuality education is a basic human right. And although we are devastated about this recent setback, we will continue to fight to make programs like these possible for all young people and families in our community. We will also continue to inform you - our familia - about updates regarding sexuality education funding.

 

Summer 2017: Ninth Grade Counts Feature

In the spirit of summer, sunshine, and getting ready for school, we’re featuring our high school preparation program, Ninth Grade Counts.

This program is meant to help students prepare for ninth grade - from practicing good attendance to focusing on improving reading and writing skills, this program sets students up for success and introduces them to a community of mentors and other like-minded youth that they can be involved in.

Students earn .5 high school elective credits for the program upon completing a writing sample at the end of the summer. This writing component helps students focus on the writing skills they will need to start high school, and it allows them to explore a topic of interest throughout the summer. For example, the writing topic this summer asks students to explore their ideal careers and the goals they need to set to get there.

“Students hesitate at the idea of going to “summer school,” yet it doesn’t take long before they realize how much they’re enjoying it,” said Ana Muñoz, one of our School Based Programs Managers.

Madison High School Ninth Grade Counts students huddle up after a Portland Trail Blazers basketball clinic.

Madison High School Ninth Grade Counts students huddle up after a Portland Trail Blazers basketball clinic.

This is because even though the students may be practicing writing and good attendance, they also get to do fun activities and field trips throughout the summer. A group of students got to visit the water amusement park Wild Waves, while others got to tour local colleges and universities, and some of our youth even got to participate in Portland Trail Blazers basketball clinics.

Indeed, we’re excited to help students get excited about school while encouraging them to explore their own Latino culture and heritage. Ninth Grade Counts is meant to help students succeed - and we’re happy to report that this summer the kids are getting off to an excellent start!

We can’t wait to see what these youth will do during high school! ¡Vamos adelante jóvenes de NGC!

Thank you to Portland Public Schools, Parkrose School District, All Hands Raised, Spirit Mountain Community Fund, Multnomah County and AT&T for their partnership and contributions in making this program possible.