Amistades uses a culturally rooted intergenerational family approach to working with Latinos and prioritizes addressing immediate issues, while simultaneously leading efforts that alter false narratives about communities of color and develop system focused strategies that eliminate or change the conditions that perpetuate inequities.
Amistades is a Latino-led, Latino-serving non-profit committed to race and equity issues in Southern Arizona through the provision of culturally responsive services, advocacy for social justice, and community empowerment.
Amistades envisions empowered communities that inspire cultural preservation, racial equity, and self-sufficiency.
Our Approach to Race Equity
The approach that guides Amistades’ work is centered on restoring individuals, families and communities’ humanity and dignity. We approach this work through a race equity lens which seeks to develop interventions that are intended to address the internalization of trauma. We utilize strategies that reconnect and uplift cultural assets that exist in communities of color. Our approach works with systems to change conditions that lead to disparities and other negative life outcomes.
Our approach also seeks to fill the gaps or cultural shortcomings often noted in conventional Western practices or approaches. Specifically, the notion of healing from trauma that often comes from external systems like the impact of racism. For the most part, the treatment of trauma of this type is relegated to the mental health arena. Unfortunately, mental health rooted in Western thought struggles with addressing and understanding the significance of long term sustained oppression across generations and the compounding trauma it creates across communities. Historically, public health, mental health and other systems have ignored the origins of the trauma and simultaneously have attributed the origins of adverse and harmful behaviors to being byproducts of cultural attributes. Our approach strives to contextualize these harmful behaviors as byproducts of coping with external stressors and trauma. In other words, any group of people or community will respond similarly if subjected to generational forms of trauma, oppression, and violence.
Certainly, our approach does not ignore the importance of personal responsibility, however, it is also critical for individuals to understand that often negative attributes that are associated with their community is a response to trauma and is a form of coping to external stressors. This revelation is a pivotal turning point for our approach because it increases self-awareness, cultural self-esteem, and begins to build on the notion that individuals have a higher locus of control.
Our Definition of Systems Change
We recognize that there are a multitude of definitions for systems change. Amistades has chosen to see this work as a process that makes connections, establishes correlations across systems in a multi-dimensional fashion, while recognizing that this is not static, and that history has significant bearing on the present and the future. Unlike other approaches, Amistades seeks to establish long-term, multi-sectorial alignment that focuses on addressing root causes or changing conditions that allow root causes to thrive. Our organization views this as both a process and an outcome. While health indicators or measures can provide needed information on health-related trends and other related issues over time, it is critical to recognize that they are determined or largely influenced by systems. Too often, the same systems tasked with addressing health disparities, in large part, are responsible for contributing or creating these disparities. Understanding systems and working to leverage change with in these systems is an essential factor to ensure long term change. Furthermore, the institutionalization of positive change is also a central component of our systems change work.
Systems Change Strategies
Amistades is a convener creating networks around race equity, cultural community norms, and improvement of law enforcement community relations.
- Challenge local narrative that are false (entertainment, print media, digital and social media, academic curriculum, museums, monuments, and parks)
- Programmatically, narrative change as a function of decolonization or addressing internalized racism
- Use financial data to shift perceptions and narratives about inequity - Inequity is costly and not sustainable
- Create strategies that support shifting narratives about communities and correct narratives by looking at cost and expenditures
- Develop comparative budget narratives that speak to issues that perpetuate processes, policies or conditions that support and or maintain inequity and racism (specifically, the perpetuation of a false hierarchy of human value - in which the life of darker humans are valued less)
- Chicano History
- Community and youth coalition building
- Cultural competence technical assistance and training
- Cultural preservation
- Early childhood education
- Family leadership
- Grassroots policy and advocacy
- Health equity
- Health promotion
- Life skills training
- Parent education
- Race equity
- Social justice
- Youth development
Who Funds Us
- American Medical Association Foundation
- Arizona Community Foundation
- Arizona Complete Health
- Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System
- Arizona Youth Partnership
- AmerisourceBergen Foundation
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
- Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Comcast Foundation
- Commerce Bank of Arizona
- Connie Hillman Family Foundation
- Cox Charities
- Desert Diamond Casinos & Entertainment
- Department of Health and Human Services
- Forward Promise
- Health Resources & Services Administration
- Hispanics in Philanthropy
- La Frontera
- Office of the Pima County Attorney
- Pima County Juvenile Justice Court
- Rockerfeller Foundation
- Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
- Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
- Terros Health
- University of Baltimore
- US Bank
- Wells Fargo
- W.K. Kellogg Foundation