The Overcoming Disparity project is rooted in a three book series outlining the social and economic disparities faced by Latino young men of color and provides strategies to increase their ability to lead healthy and successful lives.
Based on the culturally grounded model called La Cultura Cura, the practices outlined in these volumes emphasize Chicano/Latino history and use of cultural expression to heal, educate, create self-awareness, and inform the development of comprehensive community strategies, systems change, and public/private alignment to advance socially-focused ventures that encourage youth and community development.
The book series includes: Latino Young Men and Boys in Search of Justice andOvercoming Disparity. The team of Author/Editor, Frank de Jesús Acosta and Co-Editor, Henry A.J. Ramos also offer a related Arte Público Press publication, The History of Barrios Unidos.
Research clearly demonstrates recalcitrant poverty, discrimination, and related disparities such as poor educational achievement leads to exceedingly diminished life chances; in turn, the high likelihood of at-risk behaviors such as involvement with inter-personal violence, gangs, substance abuse, and the criminal and juvenile justice system. The correlation between high education drop-out rates and involvement with the justice system has been labeled the school-to-prison-pipeline. Concurrently, interpersonal and community violence; youth violence remains epidemic, a leading cause of death for Latino males from 14-29 years of age. Poverty and its root causes continue to foment inter-generational trauma and barriers (i.e., social, economic, family, and community) to healthy youth development and realizing fruitful adult lives. The book series representing a wide-ranging collection of community voices that inform culturally-based best practice strategies (La Cultura Cura).
Latino Young Men and Boys: In Search of Justice, Testimonies — The first publication features “first voice” interviews, topical essay testimonials, poems, and original artwork works by at risk Latino boys and young men expressing their profound firsthand views on society, family, schools, gangs, incarceration, punitive versus restorative justice, spirituality, and the social ecology.
Latino Young Men and Boys: Overcoming Disparity — The second publication presents three intensive profiles of established prevention, intervention, community building, and restorative justice models that have demonstrated effectiveness including: Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ), National Compadres Network, and La Plazita Institute.
The History of Barrios Unidos, Healing Community Violence, Cultura Es Cura — The third publication presents the history, social change advocacy, and organizational model of Santa Cruz Barrios Unidos, an internationally recognized gang and community violence prevention model.