The Work of Fuerza Unida Amig@s

Believing in the strengths of Latinas, their families and their communities is a main philosophy of Esperanza United (formerly Casa de Esperanza), a national Latina organization founded in St. Paul, MN in 1982 whose mission is to mobilize Latinas and Latin@ communities to end domestic violence. Our belief that strong communities -not Esperanza United or any single organization or system- will end domestic violence is the center of our community engagement work.

Fuerza Unida Amig@s, our community engagement initiative, recognizes the wealth of skills present in our communities and is designed to mobilize community members to use their unique skills and talents to support our mission. Along with leadership development and domestic violence training, Amig@s are supported in leading their own community action projects. These projects have brought community members together and strengthened social networks.  You can read more about the importance of social connectedness and our community engagement philosophy in our manual, Fuerza Unida: An Approach for Engaging Communities.

In putting the work in the hands of the community we see our role as facilitators who provide resources and build connections. It has been that connection with UCare that has made many of our community projects possible.

A few of the community projects made possible by UCare include:

  • Our Latin@ Youth Conference: Together We’re Stronger took place this past Saturday, February 7. Esperanza United’s youth leaders facilitated workshops and discussions with their peers about healthy relationships, gender roles and Latin@ portrayals in the media. The event at Macalester College in St. Paul is part of a number of activities in recognition of February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
  • Reina por un dia (Queen for a day), a mother’s day event organized by one of our Fuerza Unida Amig@s to acknowledge the importance of self care for mothers in her community.
  • Summer youth camp for Latin@ boys, focusing on creating safe spaces, exploring gender norms, Latin@ identity and healthy relationships. In the past, our youth initiatives have focused on Latin@ girls, but the summer of 2014 was the first time we were able to offer this opportunity for Latin@ boys. Learn more about engaging men in preventing domestic violence and our Te Invito campaign.
  • A Zumbathon® event to promote healthy communities in recognition of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Over 70 community members came together to dance and take a stand against violence in their communities.

“No one is born violent (violence is a learned behavior), each one of us has the opportunity and responsibility to create the world we deserve- one where all feel safe and valued”–Esperanza United Hope Campaign

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence call our 24-hour bilingual crisis line, 651-772-1611 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

For more information about our community engagement initiatives, contact Ivette Izea Martinez at 651-646-5553 ext. 317 or email