Oregon Arts Commission Grants CLI’s Farmworker Struggle Mural!


This past January, the Oregon Arts Commission granted $6,500 for the CLI’s Farmworker Struggle Mural through it’s Arts Builds Communities (ABC) grant.

The mural project, which hopes to paint the first mural in the city of Woodburn, will be lead by world renowned muralist Juanishi Orosco. The project will begin this spring and will conclude at the end of the summer through an unveiling ceremony.

The Oregon arts Commission is a champion of the arts in Oregon who believe that the arts make Oregon a stronger, better place to live and work. The Oregon Arts commission granted $114,000 in Arts Build Communities (ABC Grant) grant program this year. The Commission is able to support community arts development projects, such as the Farmworker Struggle Mural, through a partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

For more volunteer opportunities contact Dalila Ortiz at dalilao@capacesleadership.org

Interested in funding the Mural project? Contact ranfisv@capacesleadership.org


Transitions: We’ve All Been Through Them!

Ever been in a transition? I’m sure you have. We’re talking about those moments in your life that make you. The kinds of transitions we particularly face at work, where a whole organization or company looks at you for new leadership. And as you eagerly take on the new load of responsibility for the first time, you ask yourself, “Can I handle this? Can I be successful?”
Some of us handle it. Some of us don’t.The CLI however is implementing a Leadership Forum that will serve as a vehicle to help leaders with such transitions. Beneficiaries of the program will include leaders like PCUN’s Brenda Mendoza.

Brenda heads PCUN’s Service Center and has been a part of the organization for 15 years. This past year she has been asked to take leadership in leading the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative for PCUN, helping DACA-eligible youth with their applications to apply for prosecutorial discretion.

However, the biggest transition Brenda faces is yet to come: Filing visa applications, overseeing a growth in staff, and playing the lead role for citizenship application if immigration reform were to pass in 2013.

“DACA really is a dress rehearsal for the potential of immigration reform. I imagine us [PCUN] hosting forums on legalization and immigration reform every day and people knocking on our door for advice. I think supervising a growing staff through this will be challenging”-Brenda

How will the CAPACES Leadership Institute help leaders like Brenda prepare for such “transitions”?

In January of 2013, the CLI will launch its Leadership Forum, a vehicle to build out the organization’s programs in the second and third levels of leadership: Making & keeping a long term commitment; and preparing for leadership at the highest level.

To kickoff phase I of the Leadership Forum, next month Brenda and her peers will participate in the first of twelve leadership round-table discussions which will provide a platform to analyze the challenges, the competencies, and the opportunities for the participants to achieve successful transitions.

“I’ve gone through the leadership school of trial-by-fire. I think I’ve proven my commitment for the movement. But to take on leadership at the highest level, there has to be a better way. I believe the Forum will provide me with the support that I need and it will help me step back and look at the broader picture, to plan, and to succeed.”– Brenda

Transitions happen, and they are difficult. We’re asking you to transition from helping us to build the CLI to helping us fund the next phase of our work.Contributions to the CLI are tax-deductible and can be done electronically through Willamette Valley Law Project and selecting “CAPACES Leadership Institute” and can be done here. Thank you.

Laura Isiordia
Executive Director
CAPACES Leadership Institute

P.S: We know you may be supporting one of our sister organizations already. We invite you to support the CAPACES Leadership Institute, but
we understand if you’re not able to. Thank you.


CAPACES 101: The Stepping Stone in Leadership Development

Laura Isiordia, Executive Director of the CLI, one of several facilitators of CAPACES 101.

For some, it’s a Monday morning taking refuge in a warm building from the cold rain, and for others it’s a Tuesday night, sacrificing time from home. Whatever the time of day, or day of week, several cohorts went through the CAPACES 101 curriculum for all the same reasons: To be better grounded as leaders in the values of el movimento to take on more responsibility in the CAPACES Network.

The CAPACES 101 curriculum is a five-session, ten-hour course that grounds new leaders in key aspects of identity, values, and history. The target audience of CAPACES 101 has been CAPACES staff members, board members, and emerging leaders and volunteers. The classes in CAPACES 101 are:

  • CAPACES 101 Introduction, which provides an overview of the CAPACES 101 format based on popular education, which utilizes a facilitator, who leads discussion, draws from the audience’s experiences.
  • Historias y Logros or our History and Struggle, which provides a brief description of the history of the movement, from PCUN’s (Oregon farmworker union) humble beginnings to the development of organizations like Causa Oregon(Immigrant Right’s movement), Voz Hispana Causa Chavista (voter engagement), Salem Keizer Coalition for Equality (SKCE), Mano a Mano (family services) in the 90’s, to the development of the CAPACES Leadership Institute.
  • Valores e Ideas Claves del Movimiento or Values and Ideas of the Movement, which provides the key values and ideas of the CAPACES movement and identifying what they mean to us and their importance.
  • Los “Ismos” or the “Isms”, which aims to uncover our own prejudices and offer tools to analyze the different isms and phobias such as: racism, institutional racism, sexism (machismo), and homophobia.
  • Riquezas y Convenios Colectivos or Wealth and Collective Bargaining, which covers the concepts of wealth, who possesses it, and uncovering our own personal assumptions. The class also covers the importance of Collective Bargaining in relationship to the farmworker movement.

In a nutshell, this course has become a stepping stone for leadership development for the CAPACES Leadership Institute, which offers other curriculums that deal with fundraising and collective bargaining. CAPACES 101 is more than just a class:

“CAPACES 101 has helped me connect with the broader movement of CAPACES. Now I have a more complete picture of the history of struggle of the movement, and now understand the key ideas of taking the long view when organizing, which has made an organization like PCUN thrive.” Says Vicky Falcone of Latinos Unidos Siempre.

Vicky with Lorena (CAUSA), MC-ing at the CAPACES Leadership Institute's Grand Opening
Vicky with Lorena (CAUSA), MC-ing at the CAPACES Leadership Institute's Grand Opening

Hugo Nicolas, a DREAM Act leader who volunteers with CAUSA and SKCE agrees, “The facilitators don’t make you feel dumb, in fact I learn a lot from other class participants through our dialogues. I think the course has helped me become more confident to take on more leadership in CAPACES and in the community.”

Hugo Nicolas testifying at an Oregon Education Investment Board Meeting advocating for improvement in the education system

In December, the CAPACES Leadership Institute hopes to hold a convening of past CAPACES 101 participants in 2012 to offer their review of the course and how it has helped them in their path of leadership development.

An Untold Victory In August


On October 13th, dozens of CLI supporters packed the Woodburn City Council Hall to show their support for creating an ordinance that would allow for the public display of murals in Woodburn. Young adults, artists, and civic leaders provided testimony in hopes to sway the city council to support the ordinance. Ultimately those young adults, artists, and civic leaders prevailed in their mission in changing the mural ordinance.

What began as an effort in fall of 2011 to ask the city for permission to paint the outside walls of the CLI, turned into a year-long campaign that has now become known as the CLI Mural Civic Engagement Campaign.  The CLI focused a yearlong campaign that would address several needs: 1) Ultimately paint a mural that would reflect the contributions of the farmworker community (Original goal), 2) Work with farmworker families to engage the Woodburn City Council to change its city ordinance, 3) Bring in a well-rounded muralist in Juanishi Orosco, who painted PCUN’s mural (see below), to paint the CLI mural and be a mentor for young artists, 4) Foster a community  building activity that would bring together the Woodburn community and facilitate a dialogue about farmworker contributions.

PCUN Mural by Juanishi Orosco

Young emerging leaders like Aldo Solano distributed petitions in the farmworker community that was ultimately submitted to the city council. TURNista Julissa Ramirez, from CLI’s Youth Leadership program, offered a testimony that argued how Woodburn would be stronger with an ordinance. Maria Andrade, a young adult who testified at the city council meeting remarked how she wanted to get involved with shaping her city and hopes to vote when she is eligible.

Maria Andrade, Nuevo Amanacer resident (farmworker housing unit), testifies in strong support of a Woodburn Mural Ordinance.

Despite the victory, community members and the CLI are very far away from being able to paint the mural; The city still has to create an arts advisory board, which would require the CLI to submit an application and pay a permit fee.

Though the CLI and farmworker families won a victory in the passage of the mural ordinance, and in the process developed new leaders who now engage with the city council, the CLI is far from being able to make the first brushstrokes to paint a mural. The next phase for the CLI Mural Civic Engagement Campaign, is to have farmworker families engaged with the city in shaping the arts advisory board by crafting the procedures and making recommendations of community members to sit in the art advisory board.

The Doors Are Open!

On August 25th, 2012 the CAPACES Leadership Institute celebrated the grand opening of its sustainably-built, passive house designed, debt-free, volunteer-driven building.

Joining for the celebration were over 250 attendees that included community leaders from Oregon and across the country, farmworker families, and special guest such as Irasema Garza, Senior Counselor to US Secretary of Labor Hilda Soli, Anthony Chavez, grandson of Cesar Chavez; and City of Woodburn’s Mayor, Kathy Figley.

The event program was led by emerging young leaders who graduated from CLI’s own leadership classes, Vicky Falcon and Hugo Nicolas. Folklorico musical Duo Piel Canela, from Vera Cruz, Mexico, opened up the festivities which were then followed by speeches from our invited guests.

“This Institute and this community have taken on the challenges of cultivating a new generation of leaders,” said Irasema Garza.

Laura Isiordia, the CLI’s Executive Director wrapped up the program by leading the ribbon cutting ceremony. “It was really impactful to see people not only excited about the building, but what’s going to be happening inside,” reflected Laura. “I felt the energy of support. It was quite reassuring to know that we have a common vision in growing new leaders.”

The grand opening festivities concluded with tours of the CLI led by Gene Wixson that included photo displays of each of the phases of the building’s construction.

The grand opening was preceded by a Strategic Gathering on August 24th. The gathering brought together over 50 key supporter and key leaders of our movement to shape the thinking that will guide the CLI’s programs, communications strategies, and the organization’s long-term vision.

Thank you for making the Grand Opening a reality!

Watch video of the CLI’s Grand Opening and the events that led up to it