Liberatory Community Practice: Lessons Learned from a  Puerto Rican/Latino Community
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Liberatory Community Practice: Lessons Learned from a Puerto Rican/Latino Community






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Liberatory Community Practice: Lessons Learned from a Puerto Rican/Latino Community Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Liberatory Community Practice: Lessons Learned from a Puerto Rican/Latino Community Michele A. Kelley Alejandro Luis Molina Michael Rodríguez Muñiz Robyn Wheatley Dennis Poole Chicago, February 17, 2006
  • 2. Introduction Increasing attention to Community Level of analyses in interventions and research (PHDCN, CDC, NIH) Multiple determinants of health disparities and social inequalities (McKinlay, 2000) Community as a moderator and mediator of outcomes (CDC, NIH initiatives) Relevance of local ecology in problem specification and in tailoring interventions (Trickett, 2004; Anderson, 2003; Kelley, 2005)
  • 3. Purpose of Presentation • To provide a case example of a community’s approach to transforming and healing itself, despite persistent “macro level” social inequities, e.g., racism, classism and oppression. • To relate this approach to contemporary discourses and theories among community and health professions scholars. • To identity the relational and power aspects of conducting cross-cultural community work • To suggest new directions for Social Work / Health Professions education, research and practice in the Liberatory tradition. 3
  • 4. Exemplary Projects: Community-driven response to the HIV AIDS crisis & a participatory democracy project – Acts of resistance (Prilleltensky, 2003) – Role of social (Hawe, 2000) & cultural capital (Ramos-Zayas, 2004) – Built environment, community resilience & health (Galea, 2005; Davis 2005) – Cultural affirmation and identity vs Discrimination (Pérez, 2004; Hovey,1996; Szalacha, 2003) – Positive youth development & social political development (Watts, 2003; Zimmerman,1999) – Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) for “evidence-based” practice (Trickett,2004) – Culturally Sensitive Interventions (CSIs) vs. Empirically 4
  • 5. Definition of Community • Healthy community, continually renewing itself, provides resources and supports for attainment of full potential of all members (WHO, 1986) • Community as ethnic enclave is the emotional ecosystem of its collective members. (Fullilove, 1994) • Community has three aspects: compositional, contextual & collective. (MacIntyre, 2002) • Chicago Puerto Rican community’s migration occurred within a broader context of US colonial policies. (Pérez, 2004) Settlement in particular areas of Chicago was politically determined. • However, this community resisted the “ghettoization” that the dominant society envisioned, and instead formed a social and cultural space for the communal healing and well-being of community members. 5
  • 6. Liberatory Public Health/ Social Work at Community Level • Recognizes that Community is an Intellectual Space; Employs alternative epistemologies to capture indigenous theories and practices. (Kemmis, 2000; Patton,2002) • Builds capacity and sustainability. Strengthens assets. (Gutiérrez, 2002) • Understands historical and political forces that shape community experience and memory, including role of academic & “expert controlled" service organizations, vs indigenous organizations; & academic vs. local knowledge. (Watts, 2003; Prilleltensky, 2003; Foucault, 1984; Pease, 2002) • Submits to community self-determination. (Prilleltensky, 2003) • Fosters ongoing dialogue, reflection and action and critical consciousness. (Labonte, 2002; Wallerstein, 1988) • Affirms community culture and identity. (Hall, 2001) 6
  • 7. Lessons Learned Ongoing critique of existing knowledge. Dynamic boundaries are constantly negotiated. Self reflection and critical analyses of relational aspects of partnership and its effects on all members. (Assumes participation in social life of the community.) Document how process of inquiry (reciprocal learning) changed participants as well as how the knowledge was created. Role and paradigm conflicts ensue from CBPR.
  • 8. Insider-Outsider Issues Social scientists have historically been viewed as “outsiders” to communities. Community members and social scientists are co-researchers. May embody elements of both “insiders” and “outsiders” simultaneously, and with fluidity. (Heshusius, 1994) “Researcher bias”, irrespective of “insiderness” or “outsiderness”; may keep researchers from embracing the potentially different visions of reality in the partnerships.
  • 9. Community-Researcher Partnership Researcher-community dynamic is evolving. “Outsider” and “insider” roles overlapping. (Thomas et al., 2000) “Bridge builder” role. (Bloodworth et al., 2004) Significant implications to community-researcher partnerships. Motivation, intent and goals of partnership must align. (Ferman & Hill, 2004) Social scientists may provide resources, yet community members are the ones with the initiative for improvement of the capacity of their community for action. (Hampshire et al., 2005) Ethical implications necessitate that the university researcher’s/social scientist’s role includes being facilitative, e.g. providing training, grant writing support.
  • 10. Power Dynamics Professionalism does not equate with expertise. “Career struggle” for academe-bound doctoral students. How to reconcile, resist traditionalist system? Longer time commitment required to do such work. Engaging in cooperative research or interventions with communities and gaining acceptance and respect for work. Community development and capacity for action/change means power rests within the particular community (Gilbert & Masucci, 2004). Ultimately accountable to community with whom you engage in research (Ismail & Cazden, 2005).
  • 11. Cultural Competency: Problematic Assumption that there exists a “catch all”, generic prescription for process of cultural competence. Each community is unique and complex in its “cultural makeup”. Not possible to be a “culturally competent” researcher. Focus on trust building, listening, being honest about limits to knowledge and resources, and truth of existing within relationship as a “student” engaged in learning. Propose a term that encompasses ideas of cultural engagement, interest and active listening, e.g. “cultural proficiency”. (Association of Schools of Public Health, 2005)
  • 12. The PRCC is a 35 year-old community services institution that was founded as a response to the conditions that the Puerto Rican and Latino communities confronted at that time. Three principles have guided the work of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC): • Self-Determination • Self-Actualization • Self-Sufficiency
  • 13. Self- determination is the inalienable right of a people or nation to determine their own destiny. Within the context of our work in Humboldt Park, this principle asserts the right of the Puerto Rican community to be in control its political, economic, social, and cultural future.
  • 14. Self- actualization is our methodological approach to community building. Our community must overcome the obstacles imposed by a colonial, dependent mentality by defining, articulating and executing a vision that will lead us to a better tomorrow.
  • 15. Self-sufficiency means the process of critically assessing and harnessing community assets, which stand outside of a traditional deficit-based model. This assessment, of our own resources and strengths, implies a vigorous and holistic interrogation of the community’s status. Self-sufficiency does not imply separatism; rather it demands that interdependency not be defined by historically imposed paradigms.
  • 16. The PRCC is comprised of the following programs and affiliates: Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School, Vida/SIDA AIDS Education and Prevention Program, Family Learning Center (FLC), Andrés Figueroa Cordero Library and Community Informatics Center, Consuelo Lee Corretjer Day Care Center, CO-OP Humboldt Park and annual projects like the Three Kings Winter Festival, Puerto Rican Peoples’ Parade Fiesta Boricua
  • 17. An example of our work is Vida/SIDA (Life/AIDS), our HIV/STD peer education and prevention project. Vida/SIDA builds partnerships with appropriate local agencies and community leadership roundtables
  • 18. Vida/SIDA makes use of cultural reflection and affirmation to change behavior and understanding. It is made up of different programs: -MSM program -Testing -Capacity building And does presentations at: Peoples Parade Fiesta Boricua School Presentations Bingo Halls (Churches) Nightclubs It also integrates understanding of gender and sexual oppression in Puerto Rican/Latino/ Communities of Color
  • 19. In addition to the previously mentioned programs and projects of Puerto Rican Cultural Center, in December 2003, a group of young activists launched a new initiative to combat gentrification and displacement. The Humboldt Park Participatory Democracy Project, as it was later named, focused on engaging the residents living on and surrounding Paseo Boricua to participate in the process of “community-building”
  • 20. •  Weekly, anywhere from 25-35 community workers and youth conduct one-on- one door knocking sessions to assess and address community needs • PD puts community members in touch with community resources and city services; project serves as liaison
  • 21. • Also the project works closely with local politicians to conduct voter registration campaigns; hundreds registered thus far • To further stimulate discussion and dialogue, PD organized “La Voz del Paseo Boricua,” a bilingual community newspaper to keep community informed of developments.
  • 22. “Participatory Democracy is founded on the belief that people have the capacity and also the interest to participate in giving form and content to their future. It arms people with a collective voice much stronger than a ballot, and the opportunity to be agents of change. Participatory democracy will confront the historically oppressive conditions of our community; transforming dependency, cynicism, hopelessness, individualism and the threat of gentrification into self-sufficiency, critical reflection, hope, collectivity and the realization of community autonomy and self- determination.” –Humboldt Park Participatory Democracy Project, 2004
  • 23. Contact info: Michele A. Kelley: Robyn Wheatly: Michael Rodríguez Muñiz: Alejandro Luis Molina: Dennis Poole: