Reaching Las Familias
Empowering Our Communities
APRIL 3-4, 2003 - AUSTIN, TX
Keynote Address: Melissa Farley, Ph.D*
Director of Prostitution Research and Education, San Francisco Women's Center
In an effort to promote equity within victim services
and improve access for under-served victims of gender-based violence, Arte Sana hosted a national training institute in April (Sexual Assault Awareness Month). The keynote presenter, Melissa Farley*, a national expert on sexual trafficking and prostitution who has worked on issues of violence against women for the past 25 years.

This institute was a multidisciplinary gathering directed at victim service professionals, community activists, law enforcement, medical personnel, therapists, artists, and poets working to reduce gender-based violence in our communities. The Institute’s aim was to promote ideas, tools, strategies, and program models that might help advocates and allied professionals bridge the gaps in services and become agents of change in their agencies and in their communities.

Below is the program schedule followed by presenter biographies:
  • Keynote Presentation: Sexual Assault Trafficking, Prostitution and TraumaMelissa Farley, San Francisco Women's Center
  • Acting for Social Change: Transformation Through Peer TheatreGeeta Cowlagi, Voices Against Violence, University of Texas at Austin
  • Cultural Considerations in Treatment of Hispanic Sex-OffendersNicolas Carrasco, Rio Grande Counseling Center
  • Immigrant Victims of Crime Panel: The Role of Police, Promotoras, and Faith-based Organizations: Dolores Litton, Austin Police Department Victim Services, Manuel Renteria, APD Office of Community Liaisons, Crescencia Alvarado, El Buen Samaritano, Leo Anchondo, Catholic Diocese of Austin
  • Domestic Violence Prevention in the Migrant Communities Through Peer EducationStephanie Freedman, Cesar Alvarado, and Maricela Aza, Migrant Clinicians Network
  • The Arts for Empowerment and Healing/Poetry Recital and Discussion  by Sebastian Colón
  • El poder de Paquita (the power of Paquita) Empowerment and Healing Through Song - Laura Zárate, Arte Sana

  • Telephone Advocacy: The First Point of ContactMaria Limon, National Domestic Violence Hotline
  • Working With Men: Joining With Men As Allies To End Men’s ViolenceRus Funk

Arte Sana would like to recognize and thank the following sponsors:

Paul Parson, Attorney At Law - Austin, TX
The Staff of the Office of Immigrant Concerns - Austin, TX


Cesar Alvarado, B.S., Migrant Clinicians Network

Cesar J. Alvarado is the Membership Coordinator and Domestic Violence Program Assistant for Migrant Clinician's Network (MCN), a network of clinicians providing care to underserved populations and migrant farmworkers. In these positions, he coordinates the membership of MCN by retaining, informing, and recruiting current and future MCN members and assists in the implementation and evaluation of the domestic violence prevention program. Currently, he is concentrating in assisting with the implementation and evaluation of a domestic violence prevention program in the migrant community.

Mr. Alvarado holds a Bachelor Degree in Health from Texas A&M University.

Maricela Aza, Migrant Clinicians Network

Maricela began work with Migrant Clinicians Network (MCN) in 1998 after attending a training for parents at Texas Migrant Council facilitated Maria Limón, Jan Rueb, and Leticia Camacho. Since then she has worked as a Domestic Violence Advocate in many capacities. Some of her achievements include conducting approximately 40 individual interviews with women in her community, facilitating 20 group presentations on family violence, creating the family violence brochure “Arriba Corazones”, and participating in the video “Voces de Fuerza y Corazon” (a documentary). In addition, Maricela formed a group for 14 teenagers in the camp where she lives during the season in Clyman, Wisconsin. The group is called “Jovenes Migrantes Buscando Paz”. For her work with youth, Maricela was awarded the 2001 Prize for Significant Achievements in the Area of Domestic Violence. This prize was granted by the Governor’s Council on Domestic Violence for the
state of Wisconsin. Currently Maricela works with MCN as a Site Leader in the city of Eagle Pass, Texas helping groups of new Advocates.

Leo Anchondo, Office of Immigrant Concerns for Catholic Charities of Central Texas

Leo Anchondo is the Director of the Office of Immigrant Concerns for
Catholic Charities of Central Texas. A native of Denver, Colorado, Mr.
Anchondo earned his B.A in Political Science and Psychology at Colorado
University in Denver. Subsequently, he obtained various certifications in
teaching methodology, human development, contemporary teaching techniques, and curriculum planning at Harmon Hall Institute and at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Studies in Chihuahua. He also received certification from Oxford University as a non-English ESL/EFL instructor.

Mr. Anchondo has ten years of teaching experience in English as a Second
Language, Citizenship Training, and Employability Skills. Before arriving
in Austin in 2001, Mr. Anchondo directed the Immigration Department and was the coordinator of the Family Education Department for Catholic Charities of Central New Mexico for several years. Mr. Anchondo has over seven years of immigration legal representation experience. In addition, he has helped to lead several organizations including the Latin American Association for Development and Organización Latinos Unidos in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the League of United Latin American Citizens in Denver, Colorado. Most recently, Mr. Anchondo was Chairman of the Board of the Albuquerque Human Rights Office. Since his arrival in Austin, TX, Mr. Anchondo has developed and established the Catholic Charities of Central Texas Office of Immigrant Concerns. He was also appointed to the City of Austin Commission on Immigrant Affairs. This appointment was ratified in November 2002.

Nicolas Carrasco, Ph.D.,  Rio Grande Counseling Center

Nicolas Carrasco was born in San Juan, Texas; he was raised in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. His family were migrant farm workers, and he spent his early years working along side his parents and siblings harvesting crops. After completing high school, he worked as a carpenter for three years before deciding to pursue higher education. He enrolled at St. Edward’s University in 1975, and received his Bachelor’s degree 1979; he majored in Psychology with a minor in History and English and he obtained a teaching certificate. He worked as a resource teacher with the AISD Migrant Program three years, before enrolling in a doctoral program in clinical psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. He obtained his Ph.D. in 1990 and opened his private practice in 1992. Since 1975, when he enrolled at St. Edward’s University, his interests have been culture and mental health and working with populations from diverse cultures. That continues to be his interest today; he is particularly interested in and has many years of experience working with Latinos.

Geeta Cowlagi, M.A., Voices Against Violence, University of Texas at Austin

Geeta is the Education Specialist for the University of Texas, Austin's Voices Against Violence Project and is responsible for the project's outreach efforts
including presentations, professional training on campus, and teaching Peer Theatre class. Prior to this position, Geeta worked as Curriculum Development Director for the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault. She obtained her M.A. in Women's Studies from the University of Northern Iowa and holds a B.A. from Grinnell College in Iowa.

Stephanie Freedman, M.P.S.H, Migrant Clinicians Network

Stephanie Freedman is the Program Director for Migrant Clinician's Network (MCN), a network of clinicians providing care to underserved populations and migrant farmworkers. In this capacity, she coordinates and supervises MCN's tuberculosis, diabetes, and prenatal care programs. Her current focus is the
implementation and evaluation of a domestic violence prevention program in the migrant community.

Ms. Freedman holds a Masters Degree in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has also worked in the areas of community-based research and environmental justice.

Rus Funk, M.S.W

Rus Ervin Funk, MSW has been involved in the movement to end sexist violence since 1983. Having worked in Texas, Maryland, Washington, DC and currently in Kentucky, Rus focuses on mobilizing and organizing men as allies for women. He also works to improve services for teenagers, for children who are exposed to domestic violence, against police brutality and other hate crimes. Rus is the author of Stopping Rape: a Challenge for Men (New Society Publishers).

Melissa Farley, Ph.D, Director of Prostitution Research and Education, San Francisco Women's Center

Melissa Farley is a research and clinical psychologist who has been addressing prostitution and trafficking for the past 10 years. She has worked on issues of violence against women for the past 25 years.

She will focus on the interconnectedness of poverty, racism/colonialism and sexism in her discussion of how women are harmed in prostitution.

Some of her work is on the Prostitution Research & Education website,

Dolores Laparte-Litton, Austin Police Department

Dolores Laparte-Litton is a native of Mexico and licensed psychologist currently working on her Master's Degree in Counseling. As a Victim Services Counselor for the Austin Police Department since 1994, she has worked extensively with immigrants and their families who have been victimized by various violent crimes, including sexual assault and homicide.

Maria Limon, National Domestic Violence Hotline

Maria Limon currently works with the National Domestic Violence Hotline as the Volunteer and Training Coordinator. For the three previous years, she has worked as an advocate taking hotline crisis intervention calls in English and Spanish from callers throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.

For many years Ms. Limon worked in the environmental justice movement organizing to stop the construction of a nuclear waste dump in Sierra Blanca, Texas. Her work to end economic and environmental violence led her to her current efforts around domestic violence in wanting to work to stop violence at the root. The people she has worked with to stop the construction of the dump site taught her about organizing for the health and safety of communities. She brings this experience to her current work.

Families dealing with sexual and domestic violence often must organize their own community response because there are often no programs to serve them or they don’t trust that programs will help. Ms. Limon has come to learn that these individually organized community responses to the violence are the most effective.

Manuel Renteria, Austin Police Department

Manuel Renteria was born and raised in East Austin and still resides there with his wife and three children. Manuel currently serves as community liaison for the Austin Police Department’s Immigrant Outreach program. This special position was established in October 1999 through a grant from the Department of Criminal Justice/Office of the Texas Governor. The focus of the APD Immigrant Outreach program is to improve the
quality of life of recently arrived Spanish-speaking immigrants in Austin.

In order to further include Latino families into the concept of Community Policing, Manuel facilitates the Immigrant Outreach Panel, comprised of community leaders and police officers. This group of representatives was formed to establish communication and an understanding about immigrant issues, thus providing a forum to discuss mistrust and problems that must be overcome to improve the quality of life of the immigrant community in Austin.

Manuel began this program by developing a communication network in order to reach immigrant families served by these various groups. A local radio station, Radio Exitos 98.9 FM, graciously provided Manuel the opportunity to speak on a monthly radio program, “Exitos en La Comunidad.” Outreach events known as “Escuchamos Tu Voz” are held in many apartment complexes, schools, churches and social gatherings throughout the city to inform immigrants of their basic right to police protection. Manuel’s office has also established the “Tu Voz Hotline” as an alternative channel to allow immigrants to communicate their quality of life issues and to inform the police of crimes that would otherwise go unreported.

In 2001 Manuel was involved in negotiations with Wells Fargo to open bank accounts to reduce robberies of hardworking immigrants. At present Manuel is educating police officers currently at the Academy about the barriers they may encounter in dealing with the immigrant population such as the language barrier. Manuel believes the key to the success of this unprecedented program has been the spirit of collaboration from many groups with a passion for helping people who have not had their “voice” heard in this community and nation.

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