One thing that we have learned as an organization that works to engage Latin@ community members to end domestic violence is that HOW you approach the work matters just as much as what you do. Community engagement requires building trust, relationships and credibility as a relevant and effective resource for the community. Organizations must approach engagement from the perspective of partnership, recognizing that community members bring strength, wisdom and resources to the table. Demonstrating cultural awareness and a willingness to listen to community and respond accordingly are also key elements to successful community engagement strategies. This section explores some key cultural considerations for engaging Latin@ communities and provides practical examples of how cultural values can be integrated into your work.
[i] Family: Family serves as the core support, calling on loyalty and closeness that includes not just the nuclear but also the extended family, and which manifests itself through financial and emotional support.
[ii] Personalism-Trust: Relationships between persons. It’s important that closeness is part of the established relationship. There’s greater loyalty to a person than to an organization.
[iii]Machismo: Can be interpreted as the negative side of masculinity referring to aggression, sexual impulse, seduction, strength, virility, irresponsibility, and control. More positive interpretations align with the valor of caballerismo (see below). Others differentiate between being macho (which could be positive) and machista (which is always negative).
[iv]Caballerismo: The positive side of Latino masculinity, which includes having the power to make decisions, trust in oneself, safety, responsibility, respect, solidarity, courage, and valor.
[v] Respect: Obedience to authority figures, adults, senior citizens, and family, as well as the treatment of professionals seen as experts.
Working effectively with the Latin@ community requires knowledge and understanding of key cultural values. These short vignettes from the life of Freddy, a Latino man, will give you the opportunity to learn and understand some aspects of Latin@ cultures. However, it’s important to remember that not all men are like Freddy and not all of his cultural values are present in the lives of all Latin@s.
After each section, we’ll present a series of questions for reflection to stimulate your learning or conversation with other men (or women).