Empowering Latina domestic violence survivors to become leaders in our community
By: Linda Xochitl Tortolero 10.1.2021
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When I first began working at Mujeres Latinas en Acción, I was impressed by Mujeres’ legacy as the longest standing Latina organization in the country. Now, as the president and CEO of the organization since 2017, I continue to be inspired by the perseverance and resilience of immigrant and Latina gender-based violence survivors.
Our communities in Chicago, Illinois have been devastated by violence. Mujeres offers individual and group counseling, court advocacy, community education, leadership programs, and more to prevent domestic violence and help our community heal from it. We work to educate and empower women to become strong leaders in our community.
If we do not properly address domestic violence by helping those who have suffered trauma and funding preventative services, we fail as a society.
Community violence has led to lower overall economic development, educational achievement, and generational wealth for families. We know that domestic violence can lead to other types of violence, such as gun violence.
Throughout our history, Mujeres has lost survivors and past participants due to gun violence perpetrated by their former abusive partners. Widespread access to guns has allowed perpetrators to use deadly force on those they have abused or to wield power over them and their families. We must adopt approaches by which we tackle violence holistically through economic investment, intervention services in schools and nonprofits, youth and workforce development programs, arts education, and more.
Mujeres helps women heal and feel safe, take on new challenges and opportunities, and finally create a community where violence is nonexistent.
Mujeres has proven we can make a difference. I am motivated by the people Mujeres serves, the achievements of Mujeres and our participants and staff, the hope of survivors and immigrants, and the dreams and aspirations of our community. Our longevity as a culturally specific organization led by women of color in the U.S. is a victory to be noted and celebrated.
We work to support Latinas every day in our work, and believe we should celebrate the Latino/a/x communities throughout the year as well. During Latinx Heritage Month, I would challenge others to learn more about our communities by visiting our neighborhoods, volunteering at nonprofits who serve us, eating at our restaurants, patronizing other businesses, and mostly to be uncomfortable with the unfamiliar. It’s important to appreciate the richness and diversity of our community beyond tacos, burritos, and salsa or reggaeton music. I encourage you to educate yourself on the contributions of our community to the nation’s economic success, scientific achievements, arts and cultural programming, and more.
Learn more about Mujeres Latinas en Acción
Mujeres Latinas en Acción (Mujeres), a bilingual/bicultural agency in Chicago, empowers Latinas by providing services which reflect their values and culture and being an advocate on the issues that make a difference in their lives.Learn More
Linda Xochitl Tortolero
President and CEO, Mujeres Latinas en Acción