Looking back on the challenges and triumphs of an unprecedented year for colonia and immigrant families along the border.
This year clearly showed us how much our lives and health depend on each other. It has also reaffirmed the purpose of a community union like LUPE. With our “Si Se Puede” attitude and your support, we marched forward. Read on to learn more about that march.
You helped get direct relief to over 400 families
With your support, LUPE Dando La Mano Fund provided over $100,000 in direct cash relief to over 400 families in the Rio Grande Valley who were left out of congressional COVID aid. Click here to read more stories of families helped by Dando La Mano
LUPE launches Justice for Kids campaign to win broadband internet access for colonia families
Rural areas hit hardest by the pandemic need access to reliable, high-speed Internet. As Texas leadership botches our state’s COVID response and cases continue to grow, distance learning is negatively affecting the students in the Rio Grande Valley’s low-income colonias, where access to broadband Internet is scarce. Help bring internet access to low income students.
P&G Care Packages
Thanks to a partnership with Justice4Women, we were able to distribute over 1,000 hygiene and household cleaning care packages of P&G products to community members either via drive-thru distributions hosted at our LUPE offices or by delivery to hard to reach areas. The pandemic did not slow us down.
Remembering Lupita and all lives lost to COVID
This year, we painfully celebrated the memory of too many loved ones stolen by COVID. Like Doña Lupita and her husband Jose Luis, members of LUPE who came to the U.S. without papers, made a life and family here, and eventually became U.S. Citizens with LUPE’s help. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary while hospitalized as COVID-19 patients. Texas’s callous response to COVID endangered hundreds of thousands of our low-income, Black and brown friends and family, leading to tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths. We will fight in 2021 for a just recovery, one that honors lives lost by providing safety and security for all.
Masks for Farmworkers
16-year-old Salvador Guadarrama and his mom, Nancy Ortiz, asked LUPE to help him deliver more than 200 face masks to farm workers in the Rio Grande Valley. We formed a caravan of about 60 cars and drove to a rural watermelon field to deliver the face masks. Click here to read more about the caravan. Since that first delivery, LUPE has collected and distributed over 13,000 masks to farmworkers in the fields.
Counting on Colonias in the 2020 Census
LUPE’s Census team started working on 2020 Census outreach in 2019, using the Censolote to teach community members the importance of the Census. Beginning in April and up until the last possible day, we helped colonia residents fill out the Census form digitally and over the phone. From phone calls to barbeque chicken plate giveaways and Caravans, we did all we could to help people throughout the Rio Grande Valley respond to the Census and ensure their communities were counted. Read about some of our Census efforts here.
Black Lives Matter protests inspire family of Jorge Gonzalez to fight for justice
Undocumented LUPE member Jorge Gonzalez died after Hidalgo County Sheriff’s deputies broke his neck and left him without medical attention for 21 hours. He passed away in July after months of complications. Jorge’s family saw the protests in response to the murder of George Floyd and knew that people who believe Black Lives Matter would see that Jorge’s life mattered, too. We have since collected over 1,000 signatures and protested outside the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s office. We are demanding the firing of the officers and accountability and transparency from the Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney’s Office. Click here to sign the petition.
Immigrants and colonia residents drive record turnout of latinx voters along the border
The RGV is home to some of the communities that have been most heavily impacted by the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant policies and by the state’s coronavirus pandemic response. It also had some of the lowest voter turnout rates among major counties in the 2016 election. The 2020 election saw record turnout in Texas counties with some of the state’s highest rates of COVID, and residents from all walks of life are engaging and voting for the first time. Meet the RGV residents who helped to drive record-breaking turnout.
VICTORY: Protecting our vote
In an election year of such great importance, voter protection poll monitors from LUPE and Texas Civil Rights Project won a victory for Hidalgo County voters disenfranchised by late poll openings on Election Day. After our poll monitors witnessed a number of polling stations open late, we quickly mobilized a lawsuit to push Hidalgo County Elections Department to extend polling hours. As a result, Hidalgo County extended voting in all 74 Election Day polling places one hour later. Read more about our election protection victory here.
VICTORY: USCIS begins accepting new DACA applications
Thanks to the amazing legal victory out of Brooklyn this month, LUPE is ready to help new DACA applicants apply! Immigrant youth will not be able to live free until we dismantle the deportation machine and win a pathway to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants that call the United States home. We will continue organizing and pressuring our leaders in Congress and the White House in the new year.
After struggling through distance learning, colonia families receive their first computer with internet.
Families have long struggled with smaller, less powerful devices for homework and browsing the internet. Now, about 60 families organizing with LUPE are taking a major step toward internet and informational equality. Internet access is a necessity in the best of times. In a pandemic, it’s a lifeline. Since the pandemic sent students into distance learning, it became obvious that children of the colonias were falling behind. So we launched a campaign to win the right to Internet access in all rural neighborhoods. Our campaign brought attention to the digital divide in colonias and with it, brought donors who wanted to help. Thanks to Immigrant Women, about 60 families received a computer or a $400 gift card to pay for internet.