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)
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
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
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.