Community hub La Fe promotes well being of Segundo Barrio residents

It began with a simple dream of a small group of resolute mothers discussing community problems in a one-room apartment in the Segundo Barrio during the 1960s. Through stiff determination and unflinching courage, the “Mothers of La Fe” cobbled together a non-profit organization to empower families immersed in poverty, unemployment, lack of health care and gang violence. Since that day more than four decades ago, Centro De Salud Familiar La Fe has helped countless families, many of them recent immigrants to El Paso, resulting in the empowerment of a predominantly Latino community. Segundo Barrio, located south of downtown El Paso near the U.S.-Mexico border, is the city’s oldest and most historic neighborhood, housing a community deeply rooted in Mexican culture. “I have always said that all the people in La Fe are my second home,” said  Esperanza Tijerina, who attends citizenship classes and English at the La Fe Culture and Technology community center and is preparing to apply for U.S. citizenship.

Conscience of a community activist

Recently, I shocked a fellow worker and a few others by outing myself as a Latino community activist.  An “Activist” he said accusatorially. “You cannot be a Latino community activist and an advocate for other causes.”  Some people, he added may object to a person who has a strong commitment to a particular group. His response both surprised and offended me. While there is a good point in the sense that there is a negative side to being obsessive about commitment, we cannot forget that both he and I are committed to making sure the Civil Rights legislation of 1964 benefits all Americans –regardless of what the word preceding the hyphen appended before the word American and that is used so often and divisively in our diverse society. I am reminded that while some may color the word activist with a subjective shade, activism is at the core of the evolutionary rather than revolutionary change in our society.