Rey Saldaña Opens Fuerza Unida's Summer Youth Leadership Program

Near the closing of four terms as one of the youngest representatives to serve on San Antonio’s City Council, Rey Saldaña will help welcome the Class of 2019 to their first day of Fuerza Unida’s Summer Youth Leadership Program on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at 10 a.m. at Fuerza Unida.

Throughout his tenure on Council, Saldaña honored Fuerza Unida and their work in community. A son of the Southside, he acknowledged that Fuerza Unida’s struggle to demand dignity for workers displaced by Levi’s Strauss Co. forms a special part of San Antonio’s story. Councilman Saldaña has expressed his deep respect for the leadership and vision of Co-Founders/Co-Directors, Viola Casares and Petra Mata, both women over the age of 70 who have maintained Fuerza Unida’s work for 29 years. (Click here to see more coverage of Fuerza Unida)

Saldaña has supported Fuerza Unida’s Summer Youth Leadership Program for several years. He has served as a work session presenter, as a keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony; and his office hosted an intern alumnus of the program who went on to hold a full time position in a Council office. He also joined another Council Member in allocating some funding assistance toward Fuerza Unida’s Food Pantry and Youth Program.

This year, thanks to Councilman Saldaña’s recommendation, the City will provide $18,000 in funding support and a 9 passenger van to Fuerza Unida so that they may expand their youth program to include up to 15 young people from Council District 4, and beyond. These resources will facilitate field trips and be used toward hiring a Program Coordinator and for program expenses including the graduation ceremony and youth stipends. The funds will allow Fuerza Unida to forego a very labor intensive plate sale and advance a research study on the impacts of the Summer Youth Leadership Program in the last several years. 

Fuerza Unida’s Summer Youth Leadership Program welcomes young people ages 13 to 17, for 8 weeks of work sessions featuring various topics including, Community Organizing, Climate Justice, Labor Rights, Healing and Natural Remedies, Healthy Relationships, Cultural Pride, Art, and more. For years, Fuerza Unida has hosted plate sales and yard sales to raise funds for stipends provided to summer program participants to be used toward purchasing needed supplies and clothing for the following school year.

“No other City official has given us this recognition in 29 years!”

“We want to honor Rey Saldaña’s support publicly.”

-Viola Casares, Petra Mata, Co-Founders/Co-Directors, Fuerza Unida

With just a few days before his last Council Meeting as District 4 Councilman, Rey Saldaña will join Fuerza Unida, on Tuesday June 11th, at 10am to launch the 2019 Fuerza Unida Summer Youth Leadership Program. The event is open to community who share our appreciation for Councilman Saldaña’s support of our community’s youth. For interviews, please call 210.927.2294, or email