2016: Our Favorite Things

As 2016 ends, we wanted to reflect on some of our favorite moments from this year. 


#6 - Latino Network Ballet Folklorico Featured in the Rose Festival! 

Our youth dance group, Corazones Algres, was invited to participate in this Portland tradition. Youth rode on the float and danced along the route to the music of Edna Vazquez and her mariachis. Zumba Instructor Gisela Contreras led parents in Zumba along the way as well. 

See more of our Rose Festival photos on our Facebook!


#5 - Juntos Aprendemos Expands and is Now in 10 Schools! 

From starting in one school - Rigler Elementary - 16 years ago, Juntos Aprendemos sure has grown! As of this fall, they are serving:

  • 250 children AND their parents/caregivers
  • In 10 Schools
  • Across 4 School Districts 

Read more about Juntos Aprendemos’ impact


#4  Latino Leaders elected statewide & Measure 98 victory!

Latino Network has always been an advocacy organization and we continue to work to change policies and practices to ensure our communities are thriving.

This year, we celebrated the election of Latino & indigenous leaders statewide who will represent our communities, including a few Unid@s for Oregon graduates:

  • Jessica Vega Pederson elected as Multnomah County Commissioner
  • Melinda Veliz elected as Woodburn City Councilor, Ward I
  • Teresa Alonso Leon elected as State Representative
  • Diego Hernandez elected as State Representative
  • Tawna Sanchez elected as State Representative (and the first Native American woman to serve in the Oregon Legislature!)

We also celebrated a victory for ballot measures Measure 98 and Yes for Affordable Homes! And this month, we celebrated the victory of Open and  Accountable Elections passed by City Council to match small dollar campaign donations.

Carmen Rubio attends a Yes on 98 rally with co-petitioners Toya Fink, Oregon Stand for Children Executive Director, and former Governor Ted Kulongoski.

Carmen Rubio attends a Yes on 98 rally with co-petitioners Toya Fink, Oregon Stand for Children Executive Director, and former Governor Ted Kulongoski.

Read more about our advocacy victories here!


#3 - 100% of Escalera seniors graduate! And our school-based programs expand! 

Congratulations to every one of our high school seniors in Escalera college prep program. They all worked so hard and successfully graduated in June! Today, they are all enrolled in college or apprenticeship programs, working toward their goals. 

And with the help of Multnomah County Schools Uniting Neighborhood (SUN) Contract, we expanded our programs to serve more Latino youth & families. 

See our full list of schools here.


#2 - Latino Network Awarded Far West Regional Affiliate of the Year

Read more about the reward we received at this year's NCLR conference in Orlando!


#1 ...

We could not do our work with all of you - as volunteers, donors, advocates, champions, and more! Thank you for working with us to make our Latino communities stronger and healthier. 

United we move forward to achieve our goals in 2017.  



Latino Network Featured in Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade

On Saturday, June 11, Latino Network was featured on the Rose Festival Foundation’s float. 

Youth and parents marched in the Grand Floral Parade. It was an honor to be one of the floats representing the Latino communities here in Oregon.

“It is such a moving experience to see yourself as a Latino or Latina and to see your culture represented in the Rose Festival, which is the quintessential Portland experience,” said Carmen Rubio, Executive Director. “It was an important moment for us as an organization, and we were proud to be able to represent our community members and culture.”

The float featured youth from our Ballet Folklorico and Zumba groups accompanied by local renowned mariachi singer Edna Vazquez y Mariachi de Oro.

The Ballet Folklorico program teaches youth ages 7-18 the traditional Mexican folkloric dances. The group is called Corazones Alegres, which means Joyful Hearts. They have performed at Noche Bella, at El Grito, and at the Cinco de Mayo Waterfront Festival. Parents from our family Zumba class also walked in the parade, led by instructor Gisella Contreras.

See photos below or check out our full album on Facebook.

Latino Network Joins Coalition for Communities of Color and Stand for Children in Supporting Initiative Petition 65

Today, the Latino Network of Oregon, the Coalition of Communities of Color, and Stand for Children Oregon announced their lead role as coalition sponsors for Initiative Petition 65 (IP 65). They head up a growing list of supporters like Adelante Mujeres, Benson Tech Foundation and Native American Youth and Family Center campaigning to improve Oregon’s high school graduation rate, and career and college readiness.


As the economy grows, IP 65 will target new money to Oregon’s most pressing problem—the state’s critically low graduation rate. If passed this November, it will directly fund proven high school that will increase student success. It will expand career-technical education (CTE) programs and college-credit courses, and implement proven dropout prevention strategies across Oregon.

“Oregon’s high school graduation rate is one of the lowest in the country, and last year, only 66 percent of kids of color graduated on time, a full 10 points behind white students,” said Julia Meier, executive director of the Coalition of Communities of Color. “It is time to take action to help Oregon’s students, particularly our most vulnerable students, because they cannot afford for us to wait any longer.”

Oregon’s public schools have great kids, dedicated teachers and hardworking staff, but the numbers show that our high schools are ill-equipped to serve our students, especially students of color:

  • Last year, over 2,500 kids of color dropped out of high school in Oregon, at rates significantly higher than their white peers, according to the Oregon Department of Education.
  • Only 15 percent of black students, 16 percent of Pacific Islander students, 21 percent of Hispanic students, and 22 percent of American Indian students leave community college with a certificate or degree, according to the Oregon Secretary of State’s office.

However, at schools where students have access to career technical education, college-level coursework and dropout prevention programs, students of color fare far better in high school and college. For example, a  report released by the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) found that CTE students are 15.5 percent more likely to graduate high school in four years than students statewide.  Students of color benefit even more. The graduation rates for African American students are 24 percent higher than those of African American students statewide, 21 percent higher for Latino CTE students, and 23 percent higher for Native American CTE students.

“Students of color cannot wait around any longer for adults to do something about Oregon’s disturbing graduation rate,” says Carmen Rubio, executive director of the Latino Network. “This initiative quickly creates opportunities that will support students in succeeding in high school and college. We are proud to call ourselves a coalition partner.”

CONTACT: Kelsey Cardwell

kelsey.cardwell@gmail.com | 425-753-0461