INSPIRED IMPACT post headerINSPIRED IMPACT™ is an ongoing blog series that gives voice to social entrepreneurs and leaders of purpose-driven organizations who are making an impact in their communities, industries, and around the world.


 

Angela CesenaAngela Ceseña is the Executive Director of Latina SafeHouse headquartered in Denver, CO. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and learn more at latinasafehouse.org.

 

WHAT DO YOU DO?
We serve Latina survivors of domestic violence and their families. Our mission at Latina SafeHouse is to provide bilingual and culturally sensitive services to our survivors.

 

WHY DO YOU DO IT?
Our purpose is to remind our women that they are not alone. Regardless of race, zip code, immigration status, or any other socially defining characteristic, every person has inalienable human rights. I want the women who walk through our door to know this, to believe this, and to remember that they have a right to live free from violence.

 

WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
I would like to believe that we are making a strong impact on the greater Denver metro communities. People are directly and indirectly intertwined. Even if we are only serving our survivors and their families directly, they will then continue being proactive, kind members of our society, and that will impact others. The trickle-down effect of human goodness can be contagious.

Not to mention, oftentimes policies, programs, and resources can be written for a particular demographic. By having a seat at the table, we are there to remind programs that our women exist and that changes in policies have to be made in order to benefit and support all survivors.

 

WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?
The strong, resilient women in my life and the women that we serve.

Growing up, my mother used to say, “Eres guerrera.” (“You’re a warrior.”). She undoubtedly instilled in my siblings and I a pretty solid moral compass. She would stress the importance of being able to speak to a king or a pauper, all the while valuing and respecting them equally.

 

WHAT’S YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
During my tenure with Latina SafeHouse, I would like to see more resources become equally available to all women and children, especially our women seeking asylum, our mixed-status families, and our undocumented women. It would be incredible to develop and to strengthen relationships with community partners and local organizations to work together and tackle domestic violence from different angles.

While my ideological dream would be for this organization’s need to cease to exist, in the meantime, a long-term goal would be to expand the organization in order to reach more Latina women and children. Short-term goals would be to strengthen our two main programs – Comadres Unidas, a support group for domestic violence survivors, and La Fuerza de la Mujer, a program centered around the strength of our women, and in-depth case management that addresses basic and essential needs.

 

WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THOSE DREAMS COME TRUE?
The limiting factor for many nonprofits, including our own, is funding. We need donors, funders, sponsors, and volunteers. We also need policy changers and community organizers. Policy changers can help rewrite our discriminatory laws and community organizers can help mobilize survivors and allies.

However, in order for our ideological dream to come to fruition, we need equality. True gender equality in all respects will help eliminate domestic violence.

 

WHAT IS (OR HAS BEEN) YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
Having our Latina survivors feel comfortable, feel heard, and feel safe enough to seek resources. Unfortunately, machismo is oftentimes used to excuse or rationalize domestic violence in our Latinx community. These stigmas that surround machismo can then be unjustly used by mainstream organizations to discriminate against our women or to try to minimize their situation and muffle their narrative.

 

WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
In order to be a great leader, you need to listen to your team, be an active member of the community, and adapt your programs based on community feedback. Stress to those around you the importance of self-care, ensure that every member of your team feels valued, and make sure everyone’s voice is equally heard. Stress diversity, inclusivity, and cultural sensitivity. Above all else, stress human decency and the importance of having strong convictions with a loose hold.

 

HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
There are a number of ways, one can support us:

1. Donate
2. Join our Colfax Marathon team, and raise funds for Latina SafeHouse
3. Shop through Amazon Smile and select Latina SafeHouse Initiative to have a portion of your purchases donated to our organization

 


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