Every year at LUPE, we reflect on the moments that shaped our work. Here are the top 12 moments that impacted us in 2016.
1. Two major lawsuit victories against oppression from the state of Texas
We had two major victories this year against the state of Texas. The first case was against the state of Texas denying birth certificates to children with immigrant parents. The second was against voter suppression in Texas.
2. 50th anniversary of the 1966 farm workers melon strike march
We commemorated the 50th anniversary of the farm worker march that started in the Rio Grande Valley and ended in Austin, Texas. To watch a video of the march and ceremony, click here.
3. Double number of citizenship applications from 2015 from 300 to 600
We saw a rise in citizenship applications at our offices. From 2015, the application submissions doubled. To apply to become a citizen or attend citizenship classes, visit one of our offices in Alton, Mercedes, or San Juan.
4. Presidential Elections & LUPE’s viral GOTV efforts
The presidential elections and the results have shaped our work in 2016 and our plans for next year. With President-Elect Donald Trump, we are preparing for a hard year to protect immigrant rights. But we won't forget the great moments during LUPE's get-out-the-vote efforts, in which we partnered with Grammy Award Winning Ramon Ayala to encourage Latinos to vote. Other local musicians that participated were Los Archies. These efforts helped us meet about 80% of voter turn-out of voters from lists we created with LUPE members and staff.
5. Cumbre de Colonias
We had a productive and successful Cumbre de Colonias in which colonia residents voted on the direction of community organizing at LUPE.
6. Supreme Court tie on DAPA & expanded DACA case
The Supreme Court 4-4 tie on DAPA and expanded DACA was a setback for our work and our members. But our community has found the strength to continue organizing for the protection of all immigrants, showing us the resilience and bravery of our members.
7. America Divided national documentary
LUPE participated in America Divided, a documentary that highlights discrimination and inequalities in the U.S. America Ferrera visited the Rio Grande Valley and interviewing our members to show how immigration, checkpoints, and the border impact the lives of undocumented immigrants in our region.
8. Inception of Health on Wheels Program & Pachanga de Salud
Responding to the need of the community, LUPE launched the Health on Wheels (HOW) program to broaden access to care by taking mobile unit to the Colonias. The HOW program finished the year strong by hosting a community healthcare conference for colonia residents by colonia residents.
9. Supporting Prop 1 for Hidalgo County
LUPE supported Prop 1 in Hidalgo County, a measure that would open opportunities for accessible and quality health care for Rio Grande Valley residents. Although the result was not what the community worked so hard for, LUPE continues it's commitment to advocating for healthcare access for all.
10. Launching our Community Resistance Campaign & online tool
After the presidential elections, we launched a new campaign named Community Resistance. The campaign is dedicated to mobilize and empower local immigrants to protect our community against deportations and other forms of oppression. Most notably this year, we created a Human Billboard along the highway in San Juan, Texas, and we designed an online tool to provide resources and updates regarding our campaign. The bilingual online tool can be found at resist.lupenet.org.
11. Promoting TAFSA & increasing submissions in the RGV by 41%
In partnership with RGV Focus, LUPE helped trained college access professionals to help undocumented students reach higher education, this has lead to an increase in TAFSA (Texas Application for State Financial Aid) submissions, in the RGV, of 41% from 2015 to 2016.
12. Pushing for adequate drainage for more than 350 households in colonias
Following the steps of our founder Cesar Chavez on dignified housing, LUPE members worked to have safe and healthy environments for their communities. They successfully advocated with Hidalgo Precinct 1 for drainage installation in colonias Los Olivares Acres and El Obispado, as well as pave roads in colonia Goolie Meadows.