Latinos Unidos Siempre: The power to create change

To Sandra Hernández- Lomelí, the future of environmental protection lies in empowering people to advocate for themselves.

For too long, the Latinx community in Oregon has been disconnected from the environmental community, she explains. “I think there are a lot of people who would love to work on these issues. It’s about providing access.”

Sandra is program director at Latinos Unidos Siempre (LUS), founded in 1996 by youth in Salem to defend immigrant rights. Even deeper
than any advocacy issue is the organization’s dedication to youth and their families.

“We believe in empowering people to advocate for change in their communities, rather than us telling them what to advocate for,” says Sandra. That work includes providing for the basic resources for families so that youth can focus on developing the leadership skills necessary to gain access to decision-makers.

When Oregon Environmental Council approached Sandra about a community-based diesel pollution sampling project, she identified students interested in both air pollution and community storytelling. The students interviewed community members, identified areas of concern, and conducted air sampling and observation. They also met with elected officials to advocate for solutions that would reduce exposure to diesel pollution.

From here, Sandra hopes to build greater opportunities for Latinx communities to engage in environmental justice issues. “I think that we need to start educating youth, especially low- income youth and youth of color, about environmental issues.” Sandra adds: “But we also need to keep corporations accountable for harming the environment!”

Oregon Environmental Council staff learned from the project how to be more effective community partners. For OEC, the future of environmental protection includes showing up for communities, listening to community needs, and supporting people in creating the change they want to see.

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Toxics-Free Environments Air Quality Policy Featured OEC News/Updates/Events
Sort by

Salem Diesel Awareness Project

November 14, 2018, 11:38 pm


Air quality action in Salem

2018 may go down in history as a hallmark year for climate action, but it’s not the only excitement in the air. In fact, the air itself is an exciting topic. Oregon legislators are considering ways to control diesel pollution and toxic air pollution from industry. In case you missed it, here are highlights from hearings in Salem this month: Antonio and Cassie, both high school students in Salem, testified about their concerns over diesel pollution and support for
February 16, 2018, 11:34 pm


Salem area dedicates Good Cents, celebrates Bottle Bill

This 360 video allows you to move the camera with a mouse, pad or on the YouTube
December 17, 2018, 4:55 pm


No Replies to "Latinos Unidos Siempre: The power to create change"