When the “battered women’s movement” was still young in the late 1970’s, a small group of Latina activists gathered in St. Paul, MN, to educate their communities and advocate for Latinas. Casa de Esperanza incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1982 and opened a shelter. Here are a few milestones that, in retrospect, were indicators of future priorities and direction:
1989 Began community workshops for Latinas.
1993 Established 24/7 bilingual crisis line.
1995 Produced first product—the film, My Girlfriend Did It.
1999 Initiated listening sessions in the community and launched Fuerza Unida, focusing on learning what was important to Latinas and changing community attitudes about domestic violence.
2001 Approved a new mission statement that identified the community as the agent of change in ending domestic violence.
2004 Hosted our first national conference, Responding to Domestic Violence in Latin@ Communities, in Minneapolis.
2005 Received first Technical Assistance grant from Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), US Department of Justice.
2009 Launched the National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities, which expanded our national work to include training, technical assistance, research, and policy advocacy.
2011 The Department of Health and Human Services awarded Casa de Esperanza the Family Violence Prevention and Services Discretionary Grant. The grant designates the organization a National Culturally Specific Special Issue Resource Center whose focus is working within Latin@ communities. As a national resource center, Casa de Esperanza is a member of a nationwide network that supports prevention and intervention efforts across the country to end domestic and dating violence.
For a more detailed history visit these case studies.