THE ALIANZA’S MISSION

The National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence (Alianza) is a group of nationally recognized Latina and Latino advocates, community activists, practitioners, researchers, and survivors of domestic violence working together to promote understanding, sustain dialogue, and generate solutions to move toward the elimination of domestic violence affecting Latino communities, with an understanding of the sacredness of all relations and communities.



ALIANZA BACKGROUND AND HISTORY

Alianza evolved out of a partnership that began in January 1997, between the Office of Community Services (OCS)/Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and a national Board of Directors (Symposium Board of Directors) composed of several nationally recognized Latinas and Latinos with a history of leadership in domestic violence work. DHHS acknowledged the fact that “one size” does not fit all communities and helped create “institutes” in the African American, Asian/Pacific Islanders and Latino communities.

In November 1997, the Board of Directors and OCS organized the National Symposium on La Violencia Doméstica: An Emerging Dialogue Among Latinos, which was held in Washington, D.C. The Symposium brought together an interdisciplinary group of forty Latinos and Latinas, including advocates, community activists, practitioners, lawyers, researchers, and domestic violence survivors to: initiate a national dialogue about domestic violence in Latino communities—needs, concerns, assets and to begin to make recommendations for what actions needed to take place. The Symposium proceedings were published in August 1999.

One of the major recommendations that emerged from the Symposium was the creation of a national organization for ongoing dialogue, education, and advocacy. Between 1997 and 1999 the Board of Directors continued its dialogue via some conference calls and meetings. At a meeting in March 1999, the group met and adopted a name for the organization and developed a mission, vision, and some general goals and objectives.

In September 2000, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Administration for Children and Families awarded a grant to Alianza. As a result Alianza was able to hire staff to help implement its mission, goals and objectives. Previously the work was done pro bono by Alianza’s Board of Directors. In September 2001, Alianza received a grant from the Department of Justice/OJP/VAWO—to help us develop and disseminate Spanish-language materials for working with diverse Latino communities in preventing and ending domestic violence. Alianza is undertaking this initiative in collaboration with five project partners: the Violence Intervention Program in New York City, the Benedictine Resource Center in San Antonio, Texas, the National Compadres Network in Los Angeles, California, Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

In January 2002, Alianza moved into its own office space in East Harlem, in New York City. The new space has allowed us to accommodate a larger staff and to more adequately meet the expanding needs of Alianza. Adelita M. Medina was hired in February 2001 as the Alianza’s first Executive Director.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES, PRACTICES, AND PROCEDURES

  • respect for the diversity of Latino communities

  • a recognition that domestic violence within Latino families occurs in the context of communities suffering from a legacy of multiple oppressions: poverty, discrimination, racism, and colonization

  • commitment to work together as men and women, with the understanding that women remain the primary victims of domestic violence and a commitment to look for alternatives to the over-reliance on the criminal justice system

  • a commitment to develop partnerships with Latino-led institutions and organizations outside of the domestic violence arena

  • a recognition of the need to collaborate with other domestic violence organizations

  • a recognition of the sacredness of all relations, a recognition of families in their various structures, and an integration of culture and spirituality in our work 

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