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.

Latinas rise from history to raise voices against domestic violence

EL PASO – Chocolates and romance may be typical fare for a traditional Valentine’s Day, but not at Café Mayapán where the words of strong Latinas were served up on Feb. 14 in a series of performances to raise awareness against domestic violence. About 100 people attended the event, Tonantzín Rising, a part of the national One Billion Rising movement, sponsored locally by Wise Latina International and La Mujer Obrera. The event, in its third year, included traditional music, dance, and portrayals of famous Latinas, such La Malinche and Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz among others. “We renamed it Tonantzín Rising because to us we are people of the Earth, and Tonantzín is mother Earth,” said Cemelli De Aztlan, one of the coordinators of the event.

Lupita shows off her papel picado at one of Latinitas' Saturday camps. (Elvia Navarrete/

Young Hispanic women on the border find a voice in Latinitas

EL PASO – Troubled young women dealing with pregnancy, depression, drug-abuse and attempted suicide can now find help in an organization created specifically for them. Sonia Rangel, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator for Latinitas, said it is important for pre-teen and teenage Latinas here to have a voice. The need to empower and inspire them in El Paso is critical because the rate of occurrence of these problems for Latinas here is the highest in Texas, according to the Latinitas website. In a program entitled “Girl Empowerment Training,” volunteers learn how to mentor the girls. Through a series of hands-on work with multimedia equipment, the volunteers practice with cameras and voice recorders.  In this training, the volunteers get the opportunity to look within through a series of questions such as, “What does leadership, mentor and empowerment mean and what does it mean to be a mentor?” Then they are able to teach the girls how to use the equipment for self-expression.