I don’t recall much, except what the world around me was playing on their Sony Walkman and battery powered boombox.

1992 — Notable event:

L.A. Riots, April 29 to May 3 — chaos for five days on my TV screen. Complete deterioration of social order in parts of Los Angeles. Homicide, rape, looting, theft, assault; people showed no mercy to other people. There was no regard for private property or personal possessions.

South Central Madness (1992) –South Central Cartel

“In whatsoever place you enter, and they receive you not, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that place as a testimony against them.” Mark 6:11

How did this 33 year old California native become an Oregon transplant?

I’ve asked myself that very same question many times. The answer is not simple.

Family Portrait taken in Solvang, CA in the 1990's

My parents are Salvadoran immigrants who arrived to the U.S. and settled in Southern California; thus, a macro level response would include mention of the Salvadoran civil war (one of the last proxy battles of the cold war superpowers), poverty and survival which led the Central American diaspora’s arrival to the U.S. in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

On a micro level: love, reunion, growth, perseverance, economic necessity and the desire to improve one’s own…

Jaime Arredondo

Originally from Mexico, Jaime Arredondo arrived to Salem, Oregon with his family as a young boy. Salem seemed so different from his hometown. Hearing English spoken was unheard of back home in Las Ranas, Michoacán.

Decades separated from that childhood arrival, and with the experience of age and hindsight, he admits “[I] did not know how to read or write very well when I came into the third grade”. As an educational advocate for Latinx youth, he now realizes the significance of the barriers he faced as a Salem-Keizer School District student. …

Amanda Manjarrez

First-generation college students face barriers from start to finish. Amanda Manjarrez has a history of working cross-culturally to address and alleviate some of those barriers. Originally from New Mexico, Amanda arrived in Oregon to pursue a law degree at Lewis and Clark College. Since graduation she has stayed to continue her advocacy work as the Director of Advocacy with Latino Network. Prior to her role at Latino Network, she was the Advocacy Director at the Coalition of Communities of Color (CCC).

Amanda grew up in rural New Mexico, where one street made its way through the entire town. Growing up…

Three years ago Victor was starting over. That’s when he called his eldest brother David Molina, Operation Code founder, for advice.

Besides his first combat engagement abroad in 2003, no other year has been as critical for Victor as was 2014. That year was neither triumphant nor devastating — yet, it really was a make or break year. He had been living in debt in Las Vegas, Nevada and contemplating starting over from scratch. But where? And doing what? he asked himself.

Pictured: Victor Molina

By then it had been eight years since Victor had left the Marine Corps. He enlisted in 2002…

Growing up in Cornelius, Oregon, Juan Carlos González’ childhood memories include everything from attending weddings and baptism parties to helping his dad with his landscaping work on weekends. Those memories also include a very special gathering place, Centro Cultural de Washington County, affectionately known by locals as ‘el centro’.

Juan’s family has had a relationship with el centro since before his birth. It began with his father, who was just a teenager when he arrived in Cornelius from Mexico. El centro was there to help support young men and women like Juan’s dad; finding a place of familiarity far from…

Part 2: A fighter’s tale, Latino Millennials take on the Sanctuary City battle.

Image left: Juan, bottom right w/ trainer Candelario Carmona (nephew of Erubey “Chango” Carmona, a former world champion) [Photo on right: Juan in the gym]

Juan Rogel found his way to North Portland at the age of 17. At that time he was a foreigner in his own land. Juan, who was born in the U.S., had lived his formative years in Mexico. When he legally re-entered to the U.S., he left behind his childhood memories in the Mexican state of Guerrero.

Upon returning to his country of birth he discovered the challenge of inexperience, inexperience with the neighborhood, culture, and the language. In order to help him find a sense of place and community, Juan turned to the two things he knew best: boxing…

Part 1: A historical perspective on the U.S. Sanctuary Movement’s origins through the eyes of a Salvadoran Civil War Refugee.

Pictured: José as a teenager in his hometown. The port city of La Union, El Salvador, C.A. (circa 1972)

In 1977, El Salvador was a ticking time bomb. Social and political turmoil had brought the small pacific coast country with a population of 4 million people to the brink of civil war. The then-19 year old José Gutiérrez had a difficult decision to make: stay and risk falling victim to state-sanctioned violence, forced enlistment into the army, or flee the country.

So difficult was the decision in fact that his grandmother eventually made it for him. During the early morning of his departure through Guatemala, Mexico, and over the border into the United States, Dolores Gutiérrez said to her…

Edward Gutiérrez

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