Press Release
November 1, 2010

Arte Sana offers fourth Nuestras Voces (our voices) National Conference

Irving, Texas – On November 1 and 2 over 100 victim advocates, prevention specialists, survivors and allies from 21 states gathered for Arte Sana's fourth national conference with the theme: “Nuestras Voces / Our Voices: Wise latin@s en la lucha.” In the midst of so much anti-immigrant and "English only" policies and politics rhetoric, this self-sponsored training event was offered to promote the engagement of Latin@s as agents of change in addressing gender-based violence and to celebrate our collective wisdom & leadership en los movimientos.

A complete Spanish-language track was offered and some of the topics covered during the two-day conference included: “Confronting the Economic and Sexual Exploitation of Low-Wage Immigrant Women,” “Ensuring Meaningful Access to Services for Individuals with Limited English Proficiency,” “Helping Victims of Sexual Violence During an ICE Raid,” and “The Impact of Sexual Abuse in the Family.”

Opening remarks by Arte Sana Founding Executive Director, Laura Zárate, highlighted the results of a national review of victim assistance websites for Spanish language content. According to the review, that was made possible through collaboration with ALAS volunteers, 80% of websites in 16 states that were home to over 41 million Latin@s in 2009 had no victim assistance content in Spanish. After addressing the many unmet needs of LEP/ELL survivors, ALAS members Rosa Herring and Aline Jesus Rafí offered the opening plenary session "Latina Victim Advocacy in the US: from Tokenism to ACTION.”
Dr. Carlos Cuevas, Assistant Professor of Northeastern University and Dr. Chiara Sabina, Assistant Professor, Penn State Harrisburg offered the keynote presentation on November 1, on the “Sexual Assault Among Latinas (SALAS) Study," one of the first national surveys focusing on the victimization of Latina women.

On November 2, Dr. Robert Jensen, Journalist Professor at the University of Texas at Austin offered a keynote presentation on “The Pornographic Mirror: Facing the Ugly Realities of Patriarchy and White Supremacy.”

In honor of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) a collective art installation was created with items brought for display by attendees. A focal part of the altar was a painting created especially for the conference by Austin victim advocate and artist Rosa Corrales-Ortiz, to remember and honor the many victims of Juárez and victims of homophobia and hate.

The conference ended with the National Latin@ Victim Advocate Awards to honor those who have helped eliminate access barriers for Latin@ victims of sexual and intimate partner violence and/or have implemented culturally competent strategies to engage and empower underserved Latin@ communities.

The awards were followed by a closing plenary where attendees engaged in a discussion regarding the possibility of creating a national coalition to better advocate on behalf of Latin@ victims through a unified voice to promote policy decisions and partnerships for funding access.

Arte Sana was able to continue the tradition of supporting the professional development of a broad spectrum of Latin@ victim advocates, promotoras and allied professionals through support from Los Monólogos Austin and other donations received. Over $3,395 in full or partial scholarships and travel assistance.

Here are some of the comments shared by conference attendees:

“This has been the only meaningful multilingual and multicultural conference I have ever attended. This conference was put together with heart and soul; it really showed.”

"I've been attending this conference for the last 3-4 years and I've thoroughly enjoyed each one – I look forward to it every time. I'm so excited about making it a coalition and I'd like to help in whatever I can."

"The energy, dedication, and quality of the speakers were absolutely appreciated!"

"Ladies, thank you for these last two days! This was an amazing empowering experience for me as an immigrant Latina and social worker!"

"Hope the dream about forming a national coalition becomes a reality - Thank you so much for the scholarship. I hope that next year I will be able to pay and/or sponsor another Latina victim advocate to come."

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