Renee Saucedo, a Chicana from San Francisco, has dedicated her life to activism and organizing. Since moving to Humboldt seven years ago, she has been seen spearheading rallies, marching on the streets and protesting outside of the Humboldt County Courthouse.
“I became passionate about organizing because it is the main way that one could make meaningful social change in our country,” Saucedo said.
Where it All Began
Saucedo began organizing as a college student at University California, Berkeley while studying political science. Her passion for organizing started in 1983 when the U.S. invaded Grenada. “I was morally outraged and I didn’t know what to do,” Saucedo said. “I was then exposed for the first time to protest as away to cause change.”
Over the years Saucedo joined anti-war, immigrant rights, racial, and economic justice movements.
“We need to take that pain and suffering… and we need to channel it in a positive way.”
After finishing her undergraduate degree and law school she worked for La Raza Centro Legal, a grassroots legal center that advocates for civil and human rights for Latinos, immigrants and low-income communities in the Bay Area.
“Organizing is all about demanding,” Saucedo said. “Everything in this country from the Civil Rights Movement to Labor Rights has been granted because people demanded it.”
To Humboldt County
Saucedo moved here with her husband and son for the slow and friendly lifestyle.
“She’s a very chingona role model,” said Xochitl Cabrera, HSU student and Fortuna local, who has worked with Saucedo for more than a year. “She’s been a part of the community for a long time. She’s understanding, takes initiative, and has a big heart.”
Saucedo has worked with the Wiyot Tribe, True North and most recently at College of the Redwoods as Director of Student Equity until she was placed on administrative leave for undisclosed reasons last April.
“When you’re advocating for students and students of color some people feel threatened,” Saucedo said. Two dozen students and faculty protested and got her reinstated.
Union of Healthcare Workers helping ensure good working conditions for employees, and is a part of the leadership at Centro del Pueblo.
Centro Del Pueblo
Centro del Pueblo, a grassroots organization that works in Humboldt County to organize immigrants’ rights and works to dismantle systems of oppressions faced by the Latinx community. Centro del Pueblo formed as a response to Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids last year.
“We are a source of information,” Saucedo said. “I get emails from people asking me if there are I.C.E. agents in some part of town and we ask around until we find out.”
Saucedo works with many HSU students who are also a part of Centro del Pueblo including Brenda Perez, a P.h.D. student from Mexico city.
“Renee is very honest, assertive, and has a great passion for social justice,” Perez said. “[Centro del Pueblo is] here because of her. We believe in what she’s doing. She’s a great leader.”
The Fight for Sanctuary Law
Centro del Pueblo, under Saucedo’s leadership, is working to make Humboldt County a sanctuary county, meaning ICE would not be allowed to use county resources. Cabrera said it would also help parents who get deported have a say in where their children, who are U.S. citizens, would stay.
“Although this isn’t going to prevent ICE from coming in, it is going to make their job harder,” Saucedo said.
Centro del Pueblo needs to collect 8,000 signatures to get the sanctuary law on the ballot in November. As of March 1 Centro del Pueblo has 600 signatures.
Organizing Saved her Mother
At the beginning of last year Saucedo’s mom was deported. Saucedo is her mother’s primary caregiver. By pressuring congressional leaders to pressure the Department of Homeland Security, Saucedo was able to bring her mother back to the U.S.
“We need to take that pain and suffering that we feel, if it’s for immigration issues or workers rights issue,” Saucedo said. “And we need to channel it in a positive way by coming together, forming relationships and supporting one another and organizing to make changes so that we don’t have to suffer anymore.”