Nuestras voces/Our Voices: Wise Latinas en la lucha

 

 

 

2010 National Latin@ Victim Advocate Award Recipients:

Olivia Donaji-DePablo
Sin Fronteras: Community Empowerment Award

Rosabel Cantu
Comadre en la Lucha - Latina Leadership Award

Consul General Carlos Felix Corona
Lucha - Social Change Award

Shamecca Bryant
Pagina Web: Bilingual Web Access Award

Verónica Hernández - Artista Activista Award

 

Olivia Donaji-DePablo - Sin Fronteras: Community Empowerment Award

NOMINATED BY: Michael Rendon, Sexual Assault Services Organization (SASO)

As the Community Organizing Coordinator for Sexual Assault Services Organization (SASO) in Colorado, Olivia has continually gone above and beyond her scope of duties to help eliminate access barriers for Latina/o victims of sexual and intimate partner violence by developing and implementing culturally competent strategies that engage and empower.

Since joining SASO roughly 4 years ago, Olivia has changed the outreach provided to the Durango Spanish-speaking community in many ways. 

Olivia:

  • Supported access of Spanish-speaking victims to the 24-hour confidential hotline.
  • Promoted outreach to the Spanish-speaking community through the translation of brochures, promotional materials, radio spots, campaign materials, and the agency website.
  • Developed a campaign targeting Latino immigrant men channeling the positive aspects of being an “hombre de verdad” to fight violence against women.
  • Translated a “First Responder” training into Spanish and has successfully brought together diverse groups of Spanish-speakers, including law enforcement officers and the Priest at the Catholic Church.
  • Offered pláticas for families and communities with easy-to-use information.
  • Was instrumental in the city of Durango adopting an immigrant-friendly resolution in 2004.

One of the highlights of Olivia's efforts is her outreach campaign targeting Immigrant men. The campaign was unique because it used Latino culture to reinforce positive aspects of male/female relationships. The campaign was called, “Eres Un Hombre de Verdad?” and informed readers with information such as: “El silencio no es consentimento,” y “El alcohol no te da el permiso de abusar de nadie.”

Rosabel Cantu - Comadre en la Lucha - Latina Leadership Award

NOMINATED BY: Paige Flink, The Family Place

Rosabel Cantu is the Assistant Program Director of The Family Place's Latina Outreach Program. She began her work in family violence 20 years ago at SafePlace in Austin where she worked with Latin@ victims of family violence and sexual assault in both the shelter and outreach programs. She joined The Family Place as a children's volunteer in our emergency shelter and in 1994 was hired as a Bilingual Case Manager to provide counseling and case management to adult women victims of family violence leading group counseling sessions and providing advocacy and court accompaniment for Latin@ victims. Over the years, Rosabel has taken on larger and larger roles at The Family Place, first as an Outreach Counselor leading an important community education effort that has been instrumental in the program's rapid growth.

Professional training is another area where Rosabel continues to make an impact. She works with medical staff in area hospitals, faith-based leaders in area universities, police and other counselors to educate them on the unique perspective of violence in the Latin@ community. Rosabel has also built strong relationships with the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Rosabel has been a passionate spokesperson and advocate for Latin@ victims in the Latin@ media, reaching out through television, print and radio mediums as an articulate expert who brings emotion and humanity to the shocking statistics of family violence.

Rosabel's leadership style is that of a mentor who guides other advocates by her own example. At any given time, she supervises 25 contractors, interns and volunteers who work directly with Latin@ victims. She mentors and trains other advocates and professionals to educate them on the unique perspective of violence in the Latin@ community.

Under her leadership the number of Latin@ victims served at her center has almost doubled. In 2005, she and her staff provided services to approximately 430 women and children. By 2009, that number had nearly doubled to 850. Her work with victims also includes outreach to male victims of domestic violence, a small percentage of victims who are often overlooked.

Consul General Carlos Felix Corona - Lucha - Social Change Award

NOMINATED BY: Violet E. Barton, Safequest Solano

Consul General Carlos Felix Corona and his consulate staff have collaborated with Safequest Solano to institutionalize a transnational response to immigrant Latina victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Northern California.

Under the leadership of Consul General Carlos Gonzalez Felix, the Mexican Consulate has worked closely with Safequest Solano to give critical assistance to Mexican nationals and US born citizens of Mexican ancestry in the San Francisco area and beyond.

Safequest Solano has accompanied numerous clients to the Mexican Consulate in San Francisco to obtain much needed assistance from the consulate. This assistance has been provided in the form of obtaining protective passports, immigration assistance with U-visas, VAWA certificates, dual nationality registration of the victim's children with the Mexican government, financial assistance, researching obtaining official paperwork like birth certificates and school records from Mexico, and providing legal assistance from expert attorneys in areas of immigration, divorce and custody issues to further assist the women with their cases.

The consulate received numerous trainings from Safequest Solano on topics such as confidentiality, threat management, parental kidnapping, recognition and reporting of strangulation injuries, legislative updates, and sexual assault laws and reporting. As a result of this cross training there was a 1,700% increase, from 6 referrals in 2008 to 103 referrals in 2009, of domestic violence and sexual assault victims to the Embassy's Office of Protection and Legal Affairs by consulate staff.

Consul Felix Corona and staff have provided leadership and advocacy creating a safety net for Mexican victims who would have received no other services despite constitutional guarantees of equal protection. The leadership and innovative programs demonstrated by Consul General Felix will give lasting impact of hope and empowerment to Latina victims of sexual assault and intimate partner violence.

Shamecca Bryant - Pagina Web: Bilingual Web Access Award

NOMINATED BY: Lynne Walter, North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault

The Orange County Rape Crisis Center, located in Orange County, North Carolina, deserves the "Página Web" Award because their website is truly bilingual--all of the various sections of their website are in English and Spanish, and the "En Español" button is extremely easy to find at the top right hand corner of not just the homepage of their website, but every page of their website.

Furthermore, their website was not translated using a machine--bilingual and bicultural Latin@ staff and board members from different Spanish-speaking countries worked on the translation of the website to ensure that it was culturally appropriate and that it would be accessible to survivors and friends and family of survivors from various Spanish-speaking countries.

Además, they are very sensitive to the fact that while the majority of survivors are women, there are men and male-identified people who are also survivors of sexual violence; therefore, the Orange County Rape Crisis Center! It utilizes the "@" in their publications and on their website when talking about Latin@ survivors, voluntari@s, miembr@s, etc., to recognize this fact. They also use the “@” to counter the traditional dominant masculinity of the Spanish language and to help ensure that the way the Orange County Rape Crisis Center communicates challenges the sexism that contributes to and condones sexual violence.

According to U.S Census Bureau projections, North Carolina was one home to over 717,662 Hispanic residents in 2009. Yet of the 73 rape crisis centers and dual service centers with websites, only six included 1,000 words or more in Spanish. The Orange County Rape Crisis Center is in a league of it's own in North Carolina offering over 8,000 of words in Spanish for LEP (Limited English Proficient) or ELL (English Language Learner) survivors and their families.

As a point of reference: Shamecca's section includes 329 words below the award title.

Verónica Hernández - Artista Activista Award

NOMINATED BY: Juanita Hernandez, SafePlace

Verónica for the past four (almost five) years has proven herself to be an outstanding activist and leader for V-Day Austin Español – Los Monólogos de la Vagina. Verónica's history of service for the V-Day movement and the Austin community has been extraordinary in these past few years.

She first participated in the English production of The Vagina Monologues in 2006 and in 2007 was part of the 1st Spanish-speaking cast of Los Monólogos de la Vagina in Central Texas. In 2008, she organized Los Monólogos de la Vagina not only in Austin, but took the play for the first time for the Latino community in Houston, TX – where a local group now organizes Los Monólogos and raises funds for non-profits that serve survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in that region. In 2009 and 2010, Verónica again successfully organized Los Monólogos in Austin.

Verónica, being the visionary organizer that she is; saw the need to raise awareness about violence against women and girls in her own hometown of Eagle Pass, a small border town in South Texas. She contacted the Wintergarden Women's Shelter in Eagle Pass and developed a good and trusting collaboration with the Executive Director; who in disbelief asked Verónica during their first phone conversation, “You are in Austin and from there you want to organize a fundraiser for us... here, in Eagle Pass?” To whom she casually answered, “That's right.” Verónica held auditions by phone and gathered up a cast of ten vivacious women, which consisted of teachers, social workers, counselors, CEOs, mothers, daughters and one brave high-school student! She rehearsed with each one of them for a month and a half via telephone. Verónica later met the cast members in person when she took trips down to Eagle Pass to rehearse and meet with sponsors that were eager to collaborate. Her dream of bringing Los Monólogos de la Vagina for the first time to her hometown and raise awareness about violence against women and girls came true on May 7th & 8th, 2010.

She has also mentored other Latina V-Day organizers from San Jose, CA; Las Vegas; Houston and Brownsville, who come to her for guidance and have become good friends. Verónica, along with other dedicated women, is currently planning the 5th Year Anniversary performances of Los Monólogos de la Vagina in Austin.

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