|Mission Statement (adopted April 2006)
The Alianza Latina en contra la Agresión Sexual (ALAS) is a national Latina-led membership network of victim advocates working to address and prevent sexual violence. Through collaborative efforts and cyber activism, ALAS promotes the leadership of Latina victim advocates and develops models, resources and policies to empower communities and eliminate access barriers for survivors. ALAS honors the diversity of the Latin@ culture by respecting the similarities and differences of our languages and histories.
ALAS as a Latina Led Group
The ALAS listserv and working group was initiated and activated online by Arte Sana, a nationally recognized Latina led agency that incorporates elements of art, popular culture, and online technology to address sexual and intimate partner violence SIN Fronteras (without borders). Early on, Arte Sana learned of and witnessed first hand, the power of ciber-activismo from the examples of Latina women's rights advocates such as Laura Asturias in Guatemala. Arte Sana has been recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission, for its unique bilingual training and outreach programs.
How is ALAS different from other online groups?
ALAS is an action-driven online work group. We are open to Latina victim advocates who are interested in the creation of original, Spanish language, and culturally competent materials to address sexual violence among Latinas and Latinos, and those who would like to network, seek guidance from and/or support other Latina victim rights advocates, professional trainers, state sexual assault coalition, and rape crisis center staff. While facilitated by Arte Sana, the ALAS listserv offers collective participation. ALAS members helped draft and agreed on the ALAS Membership Policy which promotes the action-driven aspect of the group. Open posting allows group members to choose the type of information they wish to share. All ALAS group activities are proposed and open to those who are interested. In an effort to preserve and enhance our cultural identity and professional development, Spanish language communication is encouraged and information regarding Latin American human rights causes and perspectives are shared.
ALAS Accomplishments via Cyber Activism
From its inception in February 2004, ALAS has proven the power of cyber activism in the following policy, materials, and leadership development areas:
In 2004, ALAS developed and voted on the adoption of its first position statement regarding Spanish language victim access: Eliminating Barriers to Services for Latina/o Survivors of Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence.
Far from being an on paper only document' the position statement was given additional credibility as it was proposed to state victim rights coalitions across the country for adoption. ALAS members continued to draw awareness to the issues covered in the position statement via websites, listservs, coalition newsletters, as well as at national, and state conferences. To date, the ALAS position statement has garnered the support of thirty-seven state SA and dual SA/DV coalitions and five national organizations.
In October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2004, ALAS created an online resource directory of web resources en español.
For Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2005, ALAS members participated in an online focus group for the crafting of the core message of an original Arte Sana Spanish language brochure; La víctima NUNCA es Culpable (the victim is never to blame). The core message was printed and published online In Texas, throughout Latin America, and via a blog in Spain.
ALAS members' collective experience spans over 50 years of anti-sexual violence work that includes national and international experience. The ALAS group has embodied diversity with member cultural identifications and origins in countries and territories such as Argentina, Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, and Uruguay. In an effort to preserve and enhance our cultural identity and professional development, Spanish language communication is encouraged and information regarding Latin American human rights causes and perspectives are shared. ALAS members are encouraged to share their experience and are offered opportunities to participate in state and national training events, and as national advisory council members to represent Latin@ needs.
ALAS members have contributed to the topics and areas of focus for all four Arte Sana Nuestras Voces national bilingual sexual assault conferences and some have been key workshop contributors to the National Sexual Assault Conferences. Through its eight years of existence, ALAS has welcomed 70 Latinas and allies including the following notable former members:
Olga Trujillo (2004-2007)
Alva Moreno (2004-2007)
Kimber Nicoletti (2004-2007)
Lina Juarbe-Botella (2007-2009)
Ivonne Ortiz (2007-2010)
ALAS memberships have been influenced by the very conditions we work in, including a troubling turnover rate, changes in victim assistance agency or coalition affiliation, or the inability to actively participate in the group because of increased time constraints, yet our work has continued to impact on a national level.
From the development and national endorsements of timely position statements that address language, Latina advocate retention, and immigrant victimization issues, to the products created collectively and shared nationally such as those included in the Existe Ayuda Toolkit, and even the promulgation of the arroba or @ sign since 2002, to promote gender-inclusiveness in the documents that advocates create or translate into Spanish, all of these tangible results demonstrate the impact of ALAS collective leadership through action.
At this time ALAS membership is based on applicant eligibility and agreement with the ALAS Membership Criteria, and is offered free of charge. Due to the fact that ALAS is a Latina victim advocates' endeavor that does not receive funding, but is facilitated and functions solely through volunteer work, a minimal membership due may be required in the near future, with ample notice.
The Benefits of ALAS Membership
ALAS members are offered to opportunity to network with the nation's leaders in Latina victim advocacy. RFP's, policy input, national call for action' announcements, translations, technical support, program model previews, resource-sharing, the opportunity to participate in the creation of original Spanish language materials and to connect with and support women's rights efforts in Latin America are just some of the benefits afforded ALAS members.
Current ALAS Members
Our membership is representative of the following states: