Programs intended to reduce violence and poverty among Latino men and boys need to incorporate positive cultural values, traditions, narratives, and the concept of family into their curricula, a report from the National Latino Fatherhood & Family Institute and the Fresno Regional Foundation argues.
The report, Lifting Latinos Up by Their "Rootstraps": Moving Beyond Trauma Through a Healing-Informed Framework for Latino Boys and Men (executive summary, 8 pages, PDF), emphasizes the need to integrate La Cultura Cura, or cultural-based healing, in efforts to address gang involvement, teen pregnancy, school failure, and poverty within Latino and other communities of color. The Cultura Cura approach involves the restoration of cultural identity as the foundation of well-being for individuals, families, communities, and society through a multi-generational process of learning or remembering the positive values of one's "roots."
The report notes that there is an urgent need to improve outcomes for Latino boys and men in California's Central Valley. For example, between 2007 and 2009 only about a quarter of Latino boys in the Fresno Unified School District were proficient in English and math, while 60.7 percent of the 3,650 male juveniles arrested between 2009 and 2010 were Latino.
Funded in part by the California Endowment and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the paper outlines a framework for developing culturally rooted and responsive policies and programming; building provider networks and capacity; and transforming systems from trauma- to healing-informed efforts. To be launched September 26, it also makes recommendations for funders with respect to integrating the Cultura Cura approach into education, engagement, prevention, and/or intervention services.
"My work for the past thirty years has convinced me that for healing to occur in Latino communities affected by poverty, crime, and despair," said NLFFI founder Jerry Tello, "men and boys must be reminded to look to their cultural roots."