Furthering Human Rights

Patricia Cortez supports Latino youth and political violence survivors

Photo by Todd Cooper

Patricia Cortez started volunteering in 1997 at Amigos, an organization that assists Latino families arriving in the U.S. after experiencing political violence and torture. Since then, not only has Cortez held every position within the organization, she created Juventud Faceta, a leadership program for Latino youth. “The social norm is that young people are a trouble, and are the problem of many communities,” Cortez says, but she challenges this idea in her work every day. In its first year, Juventud Faceta was the first group selected for an award by the city of Eugene’s Human Rights Commission. Cortez was the 2013 recipient of the American Dream Award from CAUSA, a statewide immigrant rights coalition, for her work with Latino youth. — Carolina Reid