“Migration is beautiful. To recognize the value of this natural pattern, the people who live it out, and to honor their stories is what this work is about.”
In my role as the Just Recovery Fellow at the Latino Community Foundation, I get to support and lift up the work of the 10 partners who make up our Just Recovery cohort—a coalition of agencies in Napa and Sonoma counties who envision a region where all families can thrive, not just survive. These organizations serve as navigators, advocates, translators, and resourcers to the Latino community, and mirror much of my own growth as a Latina in the United States.
My family’s journey to the United States started back in 1985 when my mom made her way from El Salvador to the border of Mexico. Since I was only a baby, I can’t remember what our experience of crossing the border was, but what I can never forget are the experiences we had of navigating systems foreign and new to my family.
In my first two weeks as the Just Recovery Fellow, I traveled throughout both counties to meet and connect with the cohort partners and what I encountered was community in action. What I also saw were local organizations working to lift the power and leadership of the Latino community through their different offerings that range from providing direct services to facilitating community healing gatherings to organizing community members in advocating for language justice.
What has moved me most is witnessing how each of the 10 organizations of the Just Recovery Partnership work, not just on their own, but as different parts of a larger movement for a just and equitable recovery. Each, working towards a future where the Latino community is recognized for our value, contributions and presence in the region. The partners are truly a testament of what collective power looks like.
For example, over the next two years, the Just Recovery cohort is focused on the 2020 Census as a key factor in ensuring a fair and just recovery for the region. We’ve already begun informing communities about the Census, its importance for programs and services that lift our communities, and the protections for families as they share their information with Census officials. The Census may still be new or foreign to Latino families but collectively, our cohort partners are the trusted leaders who can ensure that our presences is counted and honored in lasting and impactful ways. And as the Just Recovery Fellow, I’m honored to embark on this effort along with the cohort partners to unleash the collective power of our community.
By: Gabriela Orantes, Just Recovery Fellow