In 2003 the CAPACES network was established uniting nine organizations to promote peer relationships and foster mutual identification as a movement. These organizations serve and organize the Mid-Willamette Valley Latino community and allies. We organized and conducted some 200 meetings and gatherings, cross training on the practicalities of leadership and the large scale ideas of social change. In 2008, we concluded that we must accelerate and deepen leadership development. We resolved to take a quantum leap forward: to fund, build and staff the CAPACES Leadership Institute, a place where social change leaders of today and tomorrow engage the ideas and values that define our movement and where these leaders can gain the skills to apply them.
After more than three years of planning, preparation and organizing, the CAPACES Leadership Institute came to life as an independent non-profit on July 13, 2011. That day, nine leaders of community-based, Latino-led social change organizations in the Mid-Willamette Valley—the CAPACES network—signed and filed the articles of incorporation. The nine organizations are PCUN, Farmworker Housing Development Corporation (FHDC), CAUSA, Mano a Mano Family Center, Latinos Unidos Siempre, Voz Hispana Cambio Comunitario, Mujeres Luchadoras Progresistas, Salem-Keizer Coalition for Equality, and Oregon Farm Worker Ministry.
In 1977, Chicano community activists and progressive legal practitioners joined forces to resist immigration raids. They persevered against great odds and founded PCUN in 1985, impelled by a vision of sweeping change driven by a solid community base and loyal supporters. On May 2, 1980, at the dawn of our presence on Woodburn’s Young Street, a few dozen folks gathered to celebrate the opening of our movement’s first permanent home in a cramped wood frame house next to PCUN’s Risberg Hall. On May 2, 2010 we gathered at that very spot to break ground for CAPACES leadership Institute.
Time and again, we’ve proven ourselves to be a movement of the unlikely doing the improbable to achieve the amazing. CAPACES Leadership Institute is the “seventh wonder” of our movement world.
The CAPACES process has forged strong peer relationships among our combined sixty staff, fostered a sense of movement scale, and promoted shared values and expertise. We are both humbled and proud to be a part of this community.