CAPACES Leadership Institute hires new director
Jaime Arredondo, the secretary-treasurer of Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste and executive director of Accion Politica PCUNista, is now the executive of the Woodburn-based CAPACES Leadership Institute. He replaces Laura Isiordia, who left the role in September to begin work as a field organizer for the Ford Family Foundation.
CAPACES announced Arredondo's new position on Nov. 28.
"The CLI and I share much in common. We are both products of the farmworker movement," Arredondo wrote in CAPACES' announcement in its email newsletter. "Looking back, I am exactly where I'm meant to be. I hope you can support us, in this part of our journey, to develop equitable leadership representation in all sectors — working to address our many social disparities."
CAPACES is one of many sister organizations to PCUN. Its aim is to develop and support leaders in the local Latino and farmworker communities through various training programs.
Arredondo was born in the small village of Las Ranas, Michoacan in Mexico. According to the CAPACES email newsletter, Arredondo's childhood home was a house made out of rocks and cow manure, and his village had no running water and little electricity.
When he was 8, Arredondo's parents migrated to the United States to seek a better life. About a year later, Arredondo left his village with his three siblings and walked across the Sonoran desert to be reunited with his family. He joined them in their one-bedroom subsidized apartment, which they'd received through a referral by Mano a Mano Family Center.
It was soon after he arrived in the United States that Arredondo first accessed farmworker services provided by local organizations. A few days after his arrival, he made his first trip to PCUN's Farmworker Service Center to start the process of becoming a permanent resident.
In 1998, Arredondo received his legal permanent residency, an accomplishment he described as "winning the lottery." Larry Kleinman, whom Arredondo would 15 years later replace as PCUN's secretary-treasurer, was the legal representative handling Arredondo's family's case.
Around that same time, Arredondo first became involved with Accion Politica PCUNista (then called Voz Hispana) and Latinos Unidos Siempre doing civic engagement work.
In 2005, Jaime found his way back to the same apartment Mano a Mano referred him to, this time working as a community organizer for the Farmworker Housing Development Corporation recruiting a family to move into their housing. He later became FHDC's fund development director.
When CAPACES was founded in 2011, Arredondo was hired to develop the institute's fundraising, communications and finances.
Isiordia, who served as executive director for six years, is now a field organizer for the Ford Family Foundation, supporting its work at the community level throughout rural Oregon and Siskiyou County in northern California. She continues in her role as a member of the Woodburn School Board, which she was appointed to last fall and elected to in May this year.
"Making this decision wasn't easy. The farmworker movement has been home for me since I arrive to this country in 1985," Isiordia wrote in an announcement sent in a CAPACES newsletter this September. "I ask you to continue to help maintain the movement alive and active by supporting our work."
In her parting words, she also reassured supporters that the organization was in a good position for new leadership. "The CLI is in a strong position. We have committed staff. We are financially stable. We just finished our strategic plan for 2017-19," Isiordia wrote.