Magdaleno “Leno” Rose-Avila is executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, a Seattle-based organization that protects the rights of immigrants and their families. He has spent his life working on behalf of civil rights and human rights.
His activism began at the University of Colorado in 1968 when he joined black students and Students for a Democratic Society members in protests around the death of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. This led to many changes on campus, including the development of the first programs for minorities and coed dorms.
Organizing for Cesar Chavez and the United Farmworkers Union in 1970, Rose-Avila learned how to live a life of non-violence. This helped when he founded Homies Unidos, a bi-national organization for gang violence prevention and youths at risk. Homies Unidos has offices in El Salvador and Los Angeles.
Rose-Avila currently serves on the national board of Amnesty International. He was a Peace Corps country director in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Paraguay, and Micronesia. He has worked for Amnesty International, the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation, Moratorium 2000, the Department of Labor, the Colorado Migrant Council, and the Democratic National Committee.
Rose-Avila’s poetry was published in Los Cuatro in 1969, and he recently published a book of stories and poems entitled Looking for My Wing. He currently is working on his second book.
In 1963, while a senior in high school, Rose-Avila attended his first Conference on World Affairs.