Have you ever heard the old saying “Never trust anyone over 30?” In reality, it’s often the adults who don’t trust people under 18. But this is changing within the Latino community in Eugene/Springfield thanks to Juventud FACETA, the powerful youth group of Amigos Multicultural Services Center.
Here’s how it all began:
Juventud FACETA was created to help young people develop a relationship with their community and organize for civil rights. After extensive training in everything from media relations to public speaking to meeting facilitation, they were ready to go out into the community to create change.
After 9/11, when immigrants became targets in the community, Juventud FACETA decided to focus their efforts on making sure immigrants knew what rights they did and did not have in this country. They learned how to organize “Know Your Rights” workshops in Spanish. These workshops, along with lobbying, organizing vigils and participating in coalitions, are creating changes in the Eugene/Springfield community.
Amigos and Juventud FACETA also work in partnership with other organizations such as CAUSA, American Friends Services Committee, Basic Rights Oregon and others to resist the backlash against immigrant rights and to move forward towards their vision when immigrants are welcomed and encouraged to participate fully in society.
Young people play an important role in the movement. Many adults were nervous about the capacity of young people to lead. But Juventud FACETA has changed that view. After the all adult Board of Amigos saw what young people were doing, they changed their perceptions and literally changed the leadership structure of their organization. Now, thanks to youth leadership and accomplishments, half of the board members are young Latinos.
“MRG Foundation gave us our first grant,” said Teresa Montes, a Juventud FACETA leader. “And what a difference that support meant – financially and emotionally. Amigos and Juventud FACETA have big plans for the future! We want to train more youth to become leaders and to push even harder for immigrant rights and services in Eugene/Springfield.”
As Amigos Multicultural Services Center says: Immigrant rights are human rights.