To see our Latino/a/x community of the Rogue Valley prosper. We work to create a future where every Latino/a/x voice can be heard and where Latino/a/x people can thrive with dignity, peace and justice. No solutions about us without us.
We believe that by fostering long term disaster resiliency and financial autonomy we can create a path for strengthening Latino/a/x families’ well-being in the face of climate change. Therefore, we are seeking to restore the Latino/a/x and indigenous communities and neighborhoods in the form of resident-owned communities (ROC’s), cooperative housing models or other permanent housing solutions to grow our autonomy, restore our social capital, and ensure a long-term solution to the housing and climate crisis that disproportionately threatens our BIPOC communities.
We are a Latino/a/x (hispanic/latino)-led, inter-generational coalition of community members, leaders, volunteers, and organizations in the Rogue Valley. We represent a mixed-status, working-class community with deep roots here. We are of many ages, abilities, faiths, and cultural backgrounds. We have decades of experience responding to exploitation, discrimination, environmental injustice, racism, poverty, and housing inequality. We are experts in our fields of supporting the economic liberation of Latino/a/x communities.
What We Do
Coalición Fortaleza has been serving and will continue to serve the Latinx families who were impacted by the Almeda Fire in the areas of Talent, Phoenix, and unincorporated areas of Jackson County. We know our families are a diverse community of farmworkers, seasonal workers, low-income, mix-status, undocumented, disabled and now climate migrants. We are working at a hyper-local level to advocate, serve and mobilize the Latinx community that lived in manufactured home parks and federally-funded apartment complexes.
We are all one disaster away from becoming climate refugees, but when the time comes for recovery, social injustices exacerbated by climate disaster leave Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities out of decision-making processes that will impact us first and foremost. From our involvement in fire relief and rebuilding work in Jackson County over these past 8 months, we have learned the gaps that exist in the recovery efforts and the importance of having authentic leadership that is from the impacted community to advocate and stay in relation with all fire impacted folks.
As experts of our own lived experiences, we have the imaginations, local knowledge and largest stake in ensuring that the rebuilding solutions don’t recreate the systems and conditions that have kept us in poverty and without access to life-saving information and resources. We will focus on community-led solutions that will serve our most impacted members. Coalición Fortaleza is partnering with CASA of Oregon, who is deeply rooted in service to farmworkers, and strives to improve the livelihoods of underserved communities by building and renovating affordable housing and neighborhood facilities and providing programs and resources that increase families’ financial well-being.
Board of Directors
Erica Alexia Ledesma
Erica Alexia Ledesma is a first-generation xicana born and raised in Southern Oregon with ancestral roots in México. Erica is a visual artist, youth mentor, and community organizer currently based in Takelma Land (Medford, Oregon). Her work centers visual art and story sharing to build community and address her cultural identity.
In 2018, Erica co-founded a project called Noche de cuentos, which works with the Latinx members to craft and share their story in the community. In 2019 Erica partnered up with The Hearth– becoming the director of the Latinx Story Project creating a project called De La Raíz (from the roots) that focuses on gathering stories and sharing them online.
She believes in the power of telling and reclaiming our stories as a means of remembering and spiritual healing. Erica received Bachelors degrees in Ethnic Studies, Cultural Anthropology and Spanish from the University of Oregon. But she would say that a lot of her experience comes from being chismosa and curious.
Niria Alicia is a Xicana climate justice organizer, educator and storyteller dedicated to protecting the sacredness of Mother Earth and the dignity of historically oppressed peoples. Born in a migrant farmworker community, her struggle for liberation and justice exists at the intersections of migrant justice, climate justice and indigenous rights. She works to bring spirit and culture into everything she does. Niria has worked nationally and internationally designing and implementing holistic curriculum and programs with an environmental justice and spiritual foundation which works to bring about social transformation by centering healing and care. Niria has worked with an array of groups and organizations designing stories and campaigns that encourage everyday people to actualize their potential and power. Her heart has guided her to be in service on the Run4Salmon journey; to the US-Mexico border providing humanitarian aid; to Standing Rock and Mauna Kea; and to the halls of the United Nations where she has been a speaker, has led healing circles, indigenous youth delegations, and has been a part of organizing historical direct actions. In 2019 she received the national ‘Emerging Leader Award’ from GreenLatinos’ and the internationally recognized ‘EE 30 under 30’ award from the North American Association for Environmental Education.
Teresa is an Indian Education Facilitator with Southern Oregon Education Service District, working to bridge the institutional gap for Indigenous students and families in the education system. With a rich history of participation in social justice initiatives, and herself being Esto’kna (Carrizo/Comecrudo Nation of Texas tribal member), Teresa is committed to supporting a decolonized approach for housing and income, and contributing to the healing of the original people of this land.
Keep an eye out for updates on what we're up to here! Lots is on the way by the end of October.
News to come
We will have announcements about surveys and work we're doing in collaboration with CASA of Oregon coming soon!