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Norma Aldape

Self-Help Awardee

Norma Aldape is my hero because even though she faces her own struggles of poverty and discrimination, she gathers together the spirit of hope and incorporates it with grassroots organizing.

She is an immigrant from Mexico, a house mother and a mother of beautiful young children. She has been a member of LUPE for over 10 years. She came to the U.S 13 years ago seeking a better education and future for her children. In her quest, she also discovered that her story was similar to millions of immigrant families in this country. She has not only made her family her only responsibility but has instilled in her children and those around her the value of being responsible to the community.

Norma has been involved in organizing her neighbors to make changes to improve their lives. She organizes her neighbors to improve their colonia conditions to include proper drainage, streetlights, maintained streets, and safe public spaces. She also has been heavily involved in the struggle for comprehensive immigration reform. In recent years, she has taken a larger role in her organizing and taking a lead to represent thousands of colonia residents. She regularly meets with county officials and soon will take her knowledge and expertise to the state level to help push important changes in colonia development along with Texas border communities.

On a personal level, Norma has had a tremendous impact on other people. She mentors other immigrant families who sometimes feel alone or ashamed to be immigrants and empowers them to organize instead. She provides her skill in organizing but also makes sure that LUPE becomes a resource for low-income families. LUPE is a non-profit community-based organization that I work for as a community organizer.

Our group organizes in low-income communities, as well as provides services such as immigration, taxes, and education. For Norma, when an individual or family approaches her for help, she is able to connect them to LUPE for assistance. She also understands that LUPE is only as big as its membership base, which is why pushing membership and more LUPE members to be active is important in her eyes.

Even though she has six children, lives below the poverty line, and many times, lacks basic necessities for her family, she still invests time in her community so that in the future her family and millions of others will live a more equitable life.

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Alberta Ramirez

¡Si Se Puede! Awardee

Alberta embodies the spirit of Cesar Chavez. She is humble and committed to working for the common good. Her willingness and readiness to serve others is never deterred by her low-income status nor her limited English proficiency.

This spirit has allowed Alberta to help lead her community towards significant triumphs. One such triumph happened in 2018. Hidalgo County agreed to install drainage and build new streets in Alberta’s colonia, Owassa Acres. Like the drainage and street effort, Alberta is already fiercely at work organizing neighbors to get public lighting installed. Without a doubt, an upcoming triumph. 

Alberta is a talented songwriter. Recently, she led a project called Sonido del Agua for which she composed four corridos that were professionally recorded. These corridos were written to inspire more communities to organize and create change. 

Alberta is a woman of deep faith. She cares about faith development in young people. She offers Catechism classes in her yard to the children of her colonia. 

More importantly, Alberta is an exemplary mother. She is a mother of seven children- all whom she raised on her own following the unfortunate passing of her husband. Her children model their mother’s commitment to service by providing meals to recently arrived asylum seekers. 

We value Alberta highly.  Alberta has served as a spokesperson and mentor to others since she first became a member of the unión in 1992. We can always count on Alberta for marches, protests and even for the building of a community garden

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