Organizing LUPE members and families that live in Colonia areas along the Texas and Mexico Borders: What are colonias? The term “colonia” is used to describe rural and unincorporated subdivisions along the Texas-Mexico border. Colonias are characterized by sub-standard housing, inadequate plumbing and sewage disposal systems, and inadequate access to clean water. They are highly concentrated poverty pockets that are physically and legally isolated from neighboring cities. Along with poor infrastructure conditions, the issues that children and families face living in colonias include: unemployment rates as high as 50%, fouled water supplies, rampant chronic diseases, fertility rates at twice the national average, poor pre-natal care and drop out rates as close to 50%. 98.8% of colonia residents are Latino. LUPE offices are located through satellite structures in key colonia areas so our impact is broad. LUPE has instilled hope and pride among the residents of colonias and in the Rio Grande Valley. House meeting after house meeting, campaign after campaign, LUPE has organized a membership base of over 6,000 members, 1,000 active leaders and 50+ Colonia Committees. This has created a tremendous list of accomplishments that include: – During UFW’s time in Texas: Union members came together to create the affordable self-help housing organization, Proyecto Azteca, with the help of Texas Rural Legal Aid and Texas Low Income Housing – Advocacy against unlawful ICE raids in colonias – Advocacy against the Border Wall that anti-immigrant forces want to build between Mexico and the US in solidarity with No Border Wall – Delegations to RGV police chiefs on the 287(g) and Secure Communities programs and the mistrust police/ICE collaboration causes between local police and Latino communities; resulted in local precincts rejecting participation in 287(g) program and accepting LUPE ID as valid form of identification – Community organizing to pass a state bill allowing the installation of colonia street lights through the use of CDBG funds. Check back for updates on our efforts to implement the new law and finally allow for streets lights in Hidalgo County colonias. – With the Housing Working Group of the RGV Equal Voice Network, won $122 million in federal disaster recovery funds to assist residents repairing housing damage caused by hurricane Doll, and $14 million for drainage improvements in Hidalgo County colonias.