Unidos' 5th Year Anniversary

4/5/17

 

Unidos was thrilled to celebrate its 5th birthday with 198 friends and supporters at the McMinnville Grand Ballroom last month.  Remembering its humble beginnings in 2012, Unidos has become an established Latino advocacy organization in Yamhill County that strives to build bridges of support and understanding among Latino and non-Latino communities.

Our March 10 anniversary event provided an opportunity to recognize the strides Unidos has made toward a more inclusive community, to thank individuals and organizations that have partnered with Unidos and served the community in significant ways, and to introduce new community members to the work of Unidos.

We were honored to hear the poignant stories of individuals who have engaged with Unidos. Ines Peña, an Unidos Executive Committee member, shared her experience as the daughter of undocumented immigrants and the effects those circumstances have had on their whole family. Sara Gomez, Linfield senior and former Unidos intern, told her story of how Unidos has helped her claim her strong identity as a Latina woman who plans to be a policy-maker and community leader. Christian Vázquez, bilingual program manager for the Rural Development Initiative, recognized how meaningful his connection with Unidos has been in forging relationships within Yamhill County.

Unidos is grateful for the strong work by community members and organizations for their contributions not only to Unidos but to the Latino community in Yamhill County. Cathy Karten and Maria Vigil, retired local educators, were presented with Outstanding Service awards for their continued involvement in teaching ESL and citizenship classes, and advocating for Latinos families.

AnaVella Magaña, immigration counselor with Lutheran Community Services NW, received a Community Collaborator Award as she as has played a significant role in guiding local immigrants through the citizenship process. Yamhill Valley Campus Dean Holly Nelson and Jorge Anaya with the Academic Transitions program, accepted the second Community Collaborator award for Chemeketa Community College. Holly, Jorge, and other Chemeketa staff have been actively involved with the Latino Advocacy Coalition and have supported and hosted the citizenship course for Unidos twice a year.

Our Outstanding Leadership award was given to McMinnville Police Chief Matt Scales.  Matt is a key participant with the Unidos’ Law Enforcement Relations Team (aLERT) and is dedicated to establishing more positive relationships between local law enforcement and the Latino community. He has role-modeled community policing by engaging with Latino residents in churches and apartment complexes and providing training for his officers on “Working in a Diverse Community.”

The evening featured local Latino businesses, Banner’s Restaurant and Noah’s Bakery. Traditional Latino folk music was shared by Mexico City natives, Gerardo Calderon and Patricia Vázquez from Portland.

Unidos thanks all those who celebrated with us. We appreciate your ongoing support of our mission in Yamhill County.

 

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