Orlando Lopez’s family has worked in the fields since before they migrated from Oaxaca, Mexico. He worked side by side with his parents and other migrant workers during summers growing up in Woodburn. Orlando’s parents were some of the first members of Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN), helping organize other Mixteco farmworkers to improve pay and working conditions. His parents led by example, giving Orlando an understanding of the necessity of organizing to improve material conditions, not just for migrant farmworkers, but for all people.
In 2010, Orlando joined the first Organizers in Training (OiT) cohort – OPAL’s intensive summer program which trains future leaders in grassroots base-building and community organizing. He will soon receive an interdisciplinary degree in Political Science and Sociology from Western Oregon University. “In college, I learned about the intersections between the many social problems in our world, and the forces that drive them. It was also here where I became involved in student organizing with Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA) and the US Student Association (USSA).” More recently, Orlando found himself once again working for PCUN on the Safe Roads Campaign (Measure 88) and as a Political Organizer leading lobby days in Salem.
Now Orlando has returned home to OPAL as our Bus Riders Unite organizer. Orlando will build community power for Environmental Justice by facilitating BRU workshops, leading First Saturday organizing, and working with BRU membership to continue winning victories for transit-dependent people across our region. BRU is strong and growing thanks to the support of grassroots donors. Together, we’re building up organizers like Orlando and growing our region’s movement for Environmental Justice. Make a tax-deductible gift before the year ends to show your support for OPAL’s transformational leadership development.