NUESTRAS VOCES/OUR VOICES:
Empowerment and Healing in la Comunidad
Arte Sana National Training Institute
November 3 & 4, 2005
St. Edward's University
Austin, Texas

Recent events and legislation such as the border
patrol last April by the “Minutemen” vigilante-type
group in Arizona and their scheduled patrol along the Texas/Mexico border in October; Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner’s (D) signing of House Bill 1798 and Senate Bill 1143, measures that tighten laws prohibiting illegal immigrants from receiving public benefits;  and the passage of the REAL ID Act which raises evidentiary standards for asylum-seekers fleeing oppression to receive asylum in the United States; denies driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants;  and permits the federal government to waive all laws for the construction of barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border; are all manifestations of the growing anti-immigrant sentiment in this country. In this increasingly negative environment immigrants are scapegoats portrayed as a threat to national security, a threat to the environment, a health service burden, and responsible for the erosion of the English language and America’s national identity.

While the “Many Languages, One America” report derived from Census 2000 information by the U.S. ENGLISH Foundation, asserts that Spanish is the second most common language spoken in 43 states and the District of Columbia, and Spanish is the only language other than English to be spoken by more than 63 percent of the population in any county in the United States, there continues to be a grave lack of Spanish language victim services. Consequently, many immigrant women who have learned to survive in the shadows of anonymity, who suffer sexual and intimate partner violence, are also beyond the reach of victim advocates, social services, the criminal justice system and others who could help them.

As the Spanish speaking Latina/o population continues to grow, the need for cultural and linguistic competency in victim services is being felt across the nation. Due to ongoing victim service budget cuts, a lack of bilingual staff and true community
partnerships, and a lack of political will to serve marginalized victims, many survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence remain silent, invisible, and unaware of their rights. The resulting lack of accessible sexual assault and domestic violence information and services in Spanish has condemned many families and individuals to ongoing trauma and re-victimization.

"NUESTRAS VOCES / OUR VOICES: Empowerment and Healing in la Comunidad” will be a national two-day capacity-building institute for improving outreach and promoting partnerships with marginalized Latina/o victims of sexual and intimate partner violence. By sharing expertise, as well as direct experiences addressing sexual and intimate partner violence we hope to strengthen our collective voice to promote culturally competent violence prevention efforts and the meaningful participation of Latinas and Latinos in victim services across the nation.

Nuestras Voces (Our Voices) will offer the latest in Latina victim advocacy via traditional workshops, panels, as well as regional showcases of grassroots and community-based efforts. Latina experts from around the country such as current members of the national online working group ALAS (Alianza Latina en contra la Agresión Sexual / Latina
Alliance Against Sexual Aggression) will share experiences and voice their opinions on advocacy and empowerment.

The goals of this event include:

•  Focus on the elimination of victim service barriers.
•  Address how to mobilize our communities as active partners in risk reduction and advocacy efforts.

This training will be a national multidisciplinary gathering directed at victim service professionals community activists, trainers, law enforcement, medical and legal personnel, therapists and others working to reduce gender-based violence in our communities. By sharing expertise, as well as direct experiences addressing sexual and intimate partner violence among Latinos we hope to strengthen our collective voice to promote meaningful participation in victim services across the nation.

Latina Victim Advocate Award:

During this gathering, recipients of the first national Arte Sana Latina Victim Advocate Award will be recognized in the following categories:

Sin Fronteras - Community Empowerment
Artista Activista - Empowerment Through the Arts
Comadre en la Lucha - Latina Leadership
Lucha - Social Change
 

Partial list of Presenters

Ana Ledwin Nogales, Ph.D.
Dr. Nogales has dedicated her practice to work with victims of crime and other traumatic events.  She has worked with children, adolescents, adults and families in Spanish and English, as she is bilingual and bicultural.

Marisa Bava Ugarte
Executive Director of the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition, an alliance of over 40 government and non-government agencies in Mexico and the US, convened in San Diego, to combat the issue of slavery
and human trafficking

Olga R. Trujillo, J.D.
Consultant and attorney who after nearly 13 years with the United States Department of Justice created O.R.T. Solutions

Alva Moreno
Executive Director of the East Los Angeles Women’s Center and Board President of the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Stella Gallegos
Director of Training for the New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs

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