Video: Three veteran community organizers discuss their work in Rio Grande Valley colonias

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Since 2010 Texas Low Income Housing Information Service has worked closely with La Unión del Pueblo Entero (LUPE) and A Resource In Serving Equality (ARISE), two influential community organizations in the Rio Grande Valley.

We believe that real change comes when low income people analyze the challenges facing their communities and organize to confront them. LUPE and ARISE have astonishing records of success organizing very low income residents in the colonias, the neglected rural communities outside of cities and towns along the border. The organizations approach organizing in different ways.

LUPE was founded by César Chávez and Dolores Huerta as a union in the community, structured around actions at the local, state and national levels. In addition to the services that LUPE provides, organizers and dues-paying members also coordinate demonstrations, campaigns, voting events and more around the issues that colonia residents identify at local house meetings. ARISE was founded by Sister Gerrie Naughton of the Sisters of Mercy, working with women in the community to create a women-centric organization that leads child development programs, operates English and health classes, advocates for better public services and much more.

As we work to provide support to their efforts, including program development, policy research, leadership training and more, we also wanted to capture their remarkable knowledge of organizing. Recently, our co-director John Henneberger and our Rio Grande Valley director Josué Ramírez sat down for an interview series with the three women at the helm of organizing efforts for LUPE and ARISE:

headshotsIn the following clips, Lourdes, Juanita and Martha discuss their organizations’ history, how they work to address the problems facing colonia residents and how organizing brings their community together and creates the power to make positive change.

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