30 Sep Latinx Heritage Month
The achievements and contributions that have been made and continue to be made by Latinx leaders have shaped our nation’s identity for centuries. In addition to celebrating the diverse cultures within the Latinx community, we emphasize the importance of educational programming and initiatives that accurately reflect the problematic times in our nation’s history, such as decades of Mexican border raids and violence, or the segregation of Latinx students in schools throughout the 1920’s to 1950’s. Also, programming that shares heroic moments in history that led to social justice such as the Chicano-led highschool riots in the 1960’s and Cesar Chavez’ work to protect farm workers from poor working conditions and ensure access to equal pay.
We refuse to turn a blind eye to racial and socioeconomic inequities that our Latinx communities experience across our nation. According to the National Research Center for Hispanic Children & Families, a staggering 5.7 million Hispanic children are in poverty in the United States. Research also shows that despite the high economic needs of Hispanic families, particularly those of immigrant families, are less likely to participate in government support programs when compared to other ethic groups in fear of the anti-immigrant sentiments rampant in America.
Our work to address these issues, and offer impactful, inclusive resources and programming to alleviate the daily life challenges of our immigrant neighbors, continues to be central to our purpose and motivation each and every day. Programs like our Farm Fresh Pantry which offers families and seniors healthy, fresh meals; the Unleashing Potential After School Program that focuses on introducing a STEM-based curriculum; and Senior Victory Club, that offers activities to enhance the physical and mental well-being of older adults in our community.
It is also our priority to build partnerships with community leaders that our youth, families and seniors can relate to, and ultimately see themselves in. Let’s introduce a few of the trailblazing Latinx leaders and incredible organizations that we are grateful to work with.
Leonardo Sosa is the CEO and Founder of Dev/Mission, an organization that connects underserved populations to careers in technology by teaching programming, hardware, and critical career skills. Youth at Booker T. have completed their 8-week music production class with Dev Mission, where they have learned how to produce music by making beats and loops, editing music as well as performing it. Dev/Mission also hosts a pre-apprenticeship program where youth support the technical needs of residents in affordable housing complexes in the Western Addition/Fillmore.
Daniel Maria is the Youth Program Manager at Booker T., coordinating a myriad of programs and activities including the Unleashing Potential (UP) After School program and annual Summer Camp. Daniel immigrated from the Dominican Republic, and grew up in Davis, California. Daniel started out as a part-time intern and was recently promoted to our Youth Programs Manager. His passion for giving back to the community brought him to Booker T., and he continues to be an incredible asset to the Center.
Gabriela Aleman is the Co-Founder of Mission Meals Coalition, a mutual aid group of Bay Area organizers, small businesses, and community groups working together to deliver hundreds of groceries and meals every month to food insecure community members. Gabriela co-founded Mission Meals Coalition with her Salvadorian mother, a local of 27-years in the Mission District of San Francisco. “We do a really strong, centralized effort to ensure that cultural competency isn’t just something we say but something that we do consistently,” Gabriela said in a recent article by KQED.