A Report from CLI’s Director of National Initiatives, Larry Kleinman

As you read that title, I know you might be thinking…“Didn’t Larry retire?”  Or…“the CLI has a Director of National Initiatives?”Both good questions.  The answers are “No” and “Yes!”Let me explain and share some of what I’ve been doing of late.By the time I stepped down as PCUN Secretary-Treasurer in October 2013—part of our movement’s generational leadership shift—I was already deeply engaged in national efforts to build capacity and plan for implementing immigration changes (legislative or administrative) on a massive scale.

On March 15, 2013, I organized an implementation strategy meeting in Washington DC of leaders from 50 organizations—mostly national ones.  It was the first such gathering since 2007.  In the opening go-around, I asked folks to answer what I called an “ice-berger” question:  “Tell us about the ‘Oh Sh*#! Moment’ you’ve had as you visualized the potential tsunami of work ahead”.  A sizeable portion of the participants responded “I’m having it right now!”

Flash forward two years.  We’re collectively in the throes of preparing to assist many of the five million immigrants who may qualify for “deferred action” protection (once the appeals court clears the way).  The “we” is the three dozen organizations in the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (including PCUN and Causa) and the National Partnership for New Americans, using some of the planning and training tools developed at the CLI.  The “we” is also the Committee for Immigration Reform Implementation, a coalition of two dozen national organizations and networks which I have the privilege of co-chairing.

These days, I’m in town—in Oregon—barely half the month.  Since January 1st, I’ve crossed the country eight times—mostly to DC, New York and Chicago.  Should anyone question my “commitment”, please tell them that I was in Michigan’s 20-below-zero deep freeze during Oregon’s warmest and driest February on record!  (See photo from the training with leaders of Michigan United and other FIRM organizations.)

Seriously, though, I have no complaints.  This is what I signed myself up for and I’m not alone in feeling that I’m making an impactful and very timely contribution.

I still have roles in the PCUN/CAPACES movement but I’m definitely a “back-bencher”…and that’s the plan we made in November 2012.  I can’t sufficiently describe the pride, gratitude and inspiration I feel seeing leaders of our movement—Jaime, Brenda, Laura, Lorena, Andrea, and others—stepping up.

And CLI’s “national” work?  I’m thrilled to announce that this June, 32 organizing directors and lead organizers from FIRM organizations will gather at the CLI for three-plus days engaging each other about the dilemmas of “Making and Keeping A Long-Term Commitment” to social change movement work.  We first tested this CLI-developed method with a gathering at the CLI of 20 FIRM leaders in June 2014.  It proved so successful that those leaders are returning…and being joined by a dozen more!  Most have (or had) never been to Oregon and now they are—or soon will become—part of the ever-growing part of “CLI nation”.

Así Se Puede:  Thus We Can!


CAPACES Leadership Institute

People or Money? Decided!

Last month, we told you we needed $8,800 to complete our $20,000 matching grant.  And during the month of December, you stepped up to the challenge and contributed $9,703 to CAPACES Leadership Institute.

While we’re very excited that in the last few days of December your donations surpassed our $20,000 matching grant, there’s something we’re even more excited about.   More than 32% of these donations came from first-time donors. 

Here’s how our staff feel about our first-time donors:

2015 CLI Staff Thanks You!


Our donors make a difference by providing critical funding needed to keep CAPACES running.  They also provide invaluable moral support to our team and show our greater community that they trust we are accomplishing our mission: to prepare leaders with the political consciousness and skills needed to lead and support social justice work.

And this trust you place in us both encourages us to strive even farther, and enables us to access resources we otherwise wouldn’t be able to.

This year, your donations will advance the RE-TURNO youth program, increase the effectiveness of our Leadership Transitions 2.0 course, and allow us to cultivate new sources of funding.

So, when we consider what is more important, you or the donation you give, we always come up with the same answer:  YOU are more important than a fundraising goal being met.

Our sincere thanks to all of our first-time donors.  While the cash is, of course, always welcome, we are most grateful for you believing in us.

Your generosity changes lives and reshapes communities.
If you’re ready, join our staff and become a monthly donor.

¡Así se puede!
In solidarity,

Rose Barker and the team at CAPACES Leadership Institute

Winter brings great changes

Saludos from CAPACES Leadership Institute!

2014.11 Appeal Jose   The TURNO youth program you’ve supported for the last three years is still going strong. TURNO is all about leadership, identity, and higher education.

We’re excited to tell you that we are now offering assistance to high school students to transition into local trade apprenticeships after graduation.   The TURNO program is now called RE-TURNO, because we are Reinforcing Education to a new group of students.

To lead this project, we welcome José García to the CAPACES team.
José has a background similar to that of the RE-TURNO students, and a history of being involved with the Latino movement.  Jose is excited to offer the type of guidance and mentoring he wishes he’d had as a high school student.

Photo: Jose, Diana, Elizabeth, and Brenda tackle a project together

   RE-TURNO has been busy this school year.  Visiting guests from Oregon State University and Willamette University led workshops on Latino leaders in the USA, life as a college student, applying for college, Chicano leader Cipriano Ferrel’s legacy, and how to write a personal story.

A few weeks ago our students partnered with Club de Lenguas Indígenas at Woodburn High School to lead a 6-mile march in Woodburn to promote Measure 88.  Students also visited Oregon State University and Willamette University to experience college life and learn about financial aid opportunities.
RE-TURNO student Diana Morales Cruz comes from a low-income immigrant farmworker family.  She said this about her experience at Oregon State University:

I wasn’t sure about going to school because of how much it cost.  My family is not able to contribute a lot financially to my college education.  I know if I can’t go to college I will help my family in our business.

At OSU we learned a lot about college life, and about a support center called CAMP (College Assistance Migrant Program).  Now I know that there are resources ready to help me and that I can succeed in college. I’m investing in myself.  I’ll get a good job after graduating, and I’ll help my family out.

Elizabeth Sanchez Manzo, who joined the group of 10 students visiting OSU, said:

Before going to OSU with RE-TURNO, I thought college homework was going to be too hard.  But when I saw the students studying and then they told me that all I needed to do is prioritize my schedule, I realized college is actually easier than I’d imagined.  Now I really want to go to college!

   And all of this is happening because of generosity from donors like you!

This winter and spring, RE-TURNO will amp up their new program preparing and matching students with apprenticeships, continue higher education activities, and participate in the CAPACES 101 workshop.

Would you please help us turn these goals into a reality for our students?

Your support gives more students the opportunity to succeed in life!

Make your tax-deductible donation by December 31 to be matched by a grantor.  If you help us reach $8,785 in donations by the end of this year, we will meet our goal of earning $20,000 in matching grant funds.

   Donate online today at:  www.capacesleadership.org/donate
Address checks
to CAPACES Leadership Institute to the address below.

Please consider donating monthly.  Each member of CAPACES’ staff donates to the Institute monthly—because we believe in what we are doing. We need you to stand alongside us.

The personal impact for each student you help is invaluable. Your generosity changes lives and reshapes communities.  Thank you for supporting our mission:  to prepare leaders with the political consciousness and skills needed to lead and support social justice work.
In solidarity,


Laura Isiordia and the team at CAPACES Leadership Institute

P.S.:  Your donation changes lives.
Donate before December 31 and your gift will be matched by a grant!
Donate online or mail a check postmarked by December 31 to
CAPACES Leadership Institute
356 Young St, Woodburn, Oregon 97071

New: RE-TURNO and Staff Member José

Greetings from CAPACES Leadership Institute!
The weather is crisp and sunny,  and we’re excited to tell you the big news:

– We welcome José García, RE-TURNO Program Coordinator
– TURNO becomes RE-TURNO:  Trades are encouraged!
– Students marched for justice, catch Senator’s attention
– Special thanks:  Honoring Monica Smith

Jose Garcia CAPACES TURNOMeet José García, our newest team member.  José is a recent graduate of Western Oregon University where he studied Business.  He was involved in the Multicultural Student Union and MEChA.   He will serve in RE-TURNO alongside present Program Coordinator Abel Valladares.

Jose is excited to serve with RE-TURNO because he will be able to offer the valuable guidance and mentoring he found to be lacking when he attended high school in Salem.  Eventually he would like to be a high school teacher, and he knows his experience with RE-TURNO will provide critical insight and experience enabling him to be an excellent educator.

RE-TURNO  youth program is kicking into full gear.  The foundation of the TURNO program we’ve ran for the last three years is still going strong: TURNO is all about leadership, identity, and higher education.

RE-TURNO adds an additional component:  Job readiness and trade apprenticeship.  RE-TURNO stands for Reenforcing Education – Talento Universitario Regresando a Nuestros Origenes.  CAPACES teamed with Woodburn School District, Chemekteta Community CollegePacific University, and a list of local trade businesses to establish a pipeline for students to move from high school into college or a trade.  Local businesses will provide apprenticeships and students can earn corresponding certifications, provide valuable work and resume experience, and recommendations for future employers.

Ramon Ramirez TURNO Marcha CAPACESLast week RE-TURNO students and the Club de Lenguas Indígenas from Woodburn High School carefully organized a march.  On these students’ day off, they stood for what they believe in:  That all Oregonians need a safe and legal way to get to school, work, and church.

Thirty students marched more than six miles, first shying away from the megaphone, than eagerly awaiting their turn.  Encouraging more citizens to vote yes on Measure 88 meant something profound to these students, and they were willing to stand for what they believe in.

TURNO Marcha Inicio CAPACESBefore marching, Ramon Ramirez, President of PCUN farmworker union, led students in discourse about protests, marches, how to interact with police, and how to respond to combative bystanders.

CAPACES Leadership Institute’s mission: to prepare leaders with the political consciousness and skills needed to lead and support social justice work.

The students’ initiative caught the eye of Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney.  He plans to meet with all the students who participated to speak with them about the importance of civic participation.
We are proud of our students’ initiative, leadership skills, and conviction to do what is just.


Please include CAPACES in your holiday giving and support programs including RE-TURNO.

We are seeking 10 new monthly sustaining donors this year; will you please consider making a monthly donation?

You can give any amount online,
or contact us if you would like to arrange a different form of donation.
A special thanks to all who came out and volunteered at the work brigade last Saturday in honor of Monica Smith.  We are grateful and honored by her legacy and your involvement in the community.

TURNO Marcha highway CAPACES

Touching Lives –

Greetings from CAPACES Leadership Institute!

Although Oregon’s weather is gently easing into fall, its political climate has been tumultuous for some time. Throughout this season, CAPACES Leadership Institute has remained a strong shelter for the communities we serve in the Willamette Valley.

We continue to guide community leaders of our sister organizations so they might be better equipped to navigate and lead their organizations’ constituents through the issues that so deeply affect our community. And leaders who seek training at the Institute are thriving; their spirits are strong, and their hearts wear the confident “Así Se Puede” (This is how it’s done!) outlook.

As fall unfolds its bold splendor of color, we are delighted to celebrate the initiative and accomplishments of CAPACES network member Fabiola Camacho. Her spirit to volunteer and to prosper her community reflect the core of the Institute’s mission: to prepare leaders with the political consciousness and skills needed to lead and support social justice work.

CAPACES Leadership Institute offers a unique program to establish and equip leaders called Leadership Forum. Fabiola Camacho recently participated in Leadership Forum 2.0: Leadership for the Long Haul. She has a long history of volunteerism and service as a leader within the movement. She currently works with our sister organization Farmworker Housing Development Corporation at Nuevo Amanecer in Woodburn, and volunteers her time serving their after school program.

Fabiola CamachoFrom Fabiola:

“I love to jump in head first in whenever there is an opportunity to learn. If I go to a class to learn, I know my mind will expand and I will be more knowledgeable. I am nourished and strengthened by both the people leading 2.0 and my compañeros attending it with me. The more that I reach out to them, the more I learn, and the more personal goals that I can accomplish. With groups like CAPACES, I’m not just going to get to my goals quicker, I’m going to have an even farther reach than I imagined.

The 2.0 class gave me the opportunity to get to know my compañeros and to better understand them. Now when I arrive to class, I see them for who they really are; not as employees of an organization, but humans with the same emotions and struggles and desire to help our community and to fight injustice that I have. Now they’re my second family. We desperately need this companionship and solidarity. I vividly remember the first time I felt the desire to hug one of my compañeras – Before the 2.0 class we greeted each other out of formality. Now I know her story, and we are open to one another. Next time I see her I will greet her with a hug.

I also see the movement leaders completely different now. I know I can call them with any need, and they will gladly help me. I can express, grow, trust, and be stronger because the leaders invited me to join them in the 2.0 class and share the strength and knowledge that I have. During our individual mentorship meetings, the leaders coach us, give us ideas and suggestions, and strengthen us. My mentor, Laura, helped me start studying accounting after years of wanting to but being too overwhelmed to get started. I learned that I have to do something for anything to happen, and that when I act, I have positive results.

I am hungry to learn. When I go to a buffet, I know what foods are healthy and which foods my body needs. In the same way, I know that choosing to attend classes with CAPACES strengthens my body and my person. I now have a good base and good roots that will help my branches weather the storms and spring back quickly during hard times. The most important thing is that now I believe in myself.”

Thank you, Fabiola, for your hard work and service to our community!