About

The mission of Latinos Unidos Siempre (L.U.S.) is to empower youth to take leadership roles in the community.

To accomplish this, we work towards the educational, cultural, social and political development of Latino (and all) youth.  We advocate for social and political change, while combating racist stereotypes and discrimination, through popular education and grassroots organizing.

L.U.S. was established in 1996, in Salem, Oregon.  A group of 13 students came together that year (under the coordination of Martha Calderon and Roberto Barraza) to fight against immigration raids, a high drop out rate, gang activity, and four anti-immigrant proposals in the State legislature.

L.U.S. quickly became the youth arm of Mano a Mano Family Center, our parent organization and fiscal sponsor, and also of the pro-immigrant rights movement in our area, as represented by the CAUSA immigrant rights coalition, and the Salem-Keizer Coalition for Equality.

Our first event ever was a Thanksgiving dinner for low income families, which continues to this day almost uninterrupted since 1996.  We have organized the Urban Art Fest promoting acceptance of urban youth culture in Salem, for four years now.  In 2010, we received recognition from Basic Rights Oregon (B.R.O.) for our work in support of the Uniting Communities project, bringing Latino and LGBT youth together.  Since 1996, more than 1,000 youth have been members or affiliates of L.U.S.  However, our biggest success has been serving as an incubator for new leaders in our movement.  For example, six alumni currently serve as staff of a CAPACES network organization, including the Executive Director of Mano a Mano.

We are youth ages 12 to 25.  Most of us identify ourselves as Latinos, but youth of any race, class, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation are welcome to join us in working for social justice.  We have a core group of 15 youth that provide the active leadership for the organization.  This leadership team is supported by a committee of Alumni advisers, which includes founders and former coordinators.  Through our various events, campaigns and projects, L.U.S. is able to reach approximately 80 youth annually, and 25 on a weekly basis.  70% of our members are female, and all but 4 are Latino.