As the flagship publication of the Overcoming Disparity book series, The History of Barrios Unidos, Healing Community Violence, Cultura Es Cura (Arte Público Press, 2007) gives voice of inter-generational, multi-cultural leaders to lead the dialogue about working to change the American anathemas of racism, poverty, violence, inequality, and the discriminatory administration of justice.
Santa Cruz Barrios Unidos is a community-based organization focused on preventing gang and community violence across inner city and rural communities. Barrios Unidos grew out of the Mexican-American (Chicano) civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960’s and 1970’s; also seen as time of cultural revolution and renaissance for Chicanos and Latinos. Barrios Unidos harnessed the power of culture and spirituality to rescue at-risk young people, provide avenue to quell gang warfare, and promising a model for building healthy and vibrant multi-cultural communities.
Through interviews, written testimonies, and archival documents, the development of Barrios Unidos–or translated literally, united neighborhoods–is reconstructed from its early influences and guiding principles to its larger connection to the on-going struggle to achieve civil rights in America. The text is complimented by commentaries by leading civil rights activists Harry Belafonte, Dolores Huerta, Tom Hayden, Manuel Pastor, and Constance Rice. The book offers insight into the nexus between historical and contemporary struggles to overcome racial disparities to achieve equity, justice, peace, and true democracy in impoverished communities and across America. (Released May 2007)
Excerpt, The History of Barrios Unidos, Cultura Es Cura, Healing Community Violence