We have a habit of telling youth that they can have a promising future if they work hard for it. “We live in a land of opportunity!” “Pick yourself up by your bootstraps!” “You need to practice GRIT!” But what these statements fail to acknowledge is that an individual’s success is not simply determined by an individual’s effort. In fact, real success also depends on the support received from family, community, and society at large.
This is where Latino Network’s Mink’a Program takes the lead and provides support for Latino youth. The word “mink’a” is an Inca tradition of voluntary collective labor to benefit the larger community. According to Latino Network , a Portland-based non-profit organization, Latinos are the fastest growing population in Oregon, yet Latino families face poverty 152% higher than White families and many families live in neighborhoods that lack community benefits such as parks and healthy food.
The Mink’a program works with Latino youth who have been arrested for minor offenses or youth who are already in criminal justice system. It will help these youth and their families by providing access to therapy, attorneys , mentorship, and after school programs. Ximena Ospina-Todd, the director of youth empowerment and violence prevention, said about the SEED Fund Grant, “The money we are receiving is going to communities that are most criminalized, and I see it as going full circle to where it is most needed. A lot of our youth have minor offenses, and this allows us to help them stay safe and out of the system and have a path to a positive, successful future.”
Mink’a staff will use their past experiences and partnerships to assist family members and community impacted by incarceration. Pamela Padilla, a Latino Network employee, said about Mink’a program shift during COVID-19, “We look forward to continuing to support our families and youth in accessing vital services during these stressful and difficult times. With the additional funding provided to our program, we will be able to increase levels of support for our most vulnerable families and ensure our families are connected to and accessing services. We are also excited about being able to provide a wide array of zoom workshops for our youth: barbering, hair braiding, Chicano art, and graffiti art.”
For more information about 2020 SEED Grant Recipient, Latino Network, please check out https://www.latnet.org/
Recently, the City of Portland Cannabis Program announced its 2020 SEED Grant Fund recipients. The fund provides support to non-profit and for-profit entities working toward restitution and restoration of BIPOC communities negatively impacted by racially-biased cannabis prohibition. Over the next few weeks, we will present a series highlighting the grantees and the wonderful work they are doing to empower our Portland community. Find out more about the SEED Initiatives here.