Raizes Collective was born in 2015 with the purpose of addressing the need for a people-of-color-led organization in Sonoma County to lift up marginalized community members, primarily the Latinx, Immigrant & Indigenous communities, through art and culture. Extreme wealth created by the wine industry hardly trickles to the farmworkers, domestic and hospitality workers, many of them women. Latinx/Immigrant/Indigenous youth still face poverty, racial bias, and a lack of resources in public schools. Before 2015, very few artistic and cultural outlets existed for the community to heal, feel cultural pride, experience empowerment, and meet with others to plan social justice action.
Raizes Collective’s mission is to empower and mobilize communities of color through the arts, culture, leadership development, and community education. We offer healing and understanding through cultural and artistic outlets, as well as civic campaigns. For example, we organize the painting of community murals, Indigenous Peoples’ Day Commemoration, art and race dialogues in the schools, and Community Information Fairs, where we combine health education and cultural activities. We support the empowerment and engagement of Sonoma County's underrepresented communities, namely, Latinx, Immigrant & Indigenous youth, women, and farmworker families, as well as communities and artists of color.
Our vision is that our community is empowered to practice self-determination and liberation through cultural pride, art, a world with no borders, and community.
"COSECHA" YOUTH EMPOWERMENT is an after-school program that brings together local artists, community and youth so that the youth may use art and cultural traditions to heal, empower themselves, and engage. Youth from several County schools participate in group discussions, field trips, conferences, etc. A few activities include the Youth Environmental Artist Summit, Parking Lot Poetry Series, art workshops, and spiritual circles.
View our LinkTree list for all the most current Cosecha actvitives.
Raizes provides artist members support, like showcasing and offering opportunities to exhibit or perform. Historically marginalized artists, including those in the Latinx, Immigrant & Indigenous communities have the opportunity to exhibit their art and to voice cultural experiences not found in mainstream settings. For example, Raizes artists have invited community members to paint murals in public spaces like downtown Guerneville and Rancho-Cotati High School.
"ALMAS LIBRES" is a membership organization. ALMAS Libres offers Immigrant & Indigenous women access to information, know-your-rights training, leadership development and policy campaigns. ALMAS LIBRES currently helps to lead the Northern California Coalition For Just Immigration Reform, which aims to distribute information about, and advocate for legalization policies for undocumented persons. An important project includes “Teatro ALMAS LIBRES,” a theater project for the women to share their experiences as undocumented workers.
Immigrant & Indigenous women from Guerneville and the Russian River area use art and cultural activities to engage Latinx parents in Guerneville School activities and decision-making. stage crew.
We create murals, and cultural gatherings such as the Dia de Guadalupe commemoration, Indigenous People’s Day, and Day of the Dead.
Raizes offers critical outreach and information to communities of color during natural disasters in culturally effective ways. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Raizes offered prevention information in culturally-specific ways such as distributing artistic posters and information cards.
What does the name Raizes Collective mean?
"Raizes" means roots in Spanish, our mission as an organization is to empower people through three areas: the arts, culure, and environmental education. Everyone has roots, we all have history, and stories about our ancestors and where we come from regardless of race and ethnicity so our organization is a great place to come together and share stories.
What inspired you to launch Raizes Collective?
I saw the need for people of the BIPOC communities to have a space to organize and come together especially in Santa Rosa. Artists of color have the need to create programs that are not there yet; part of our mission is to create programs where we see our culture reflected.
What have you learned over the years of organizing the collective?
I have learned that systems are bureaucratic and that community is powerful as a collective, we can do so much when we organize. Art and cultural work is a vehicle to create the world that we want to see and live in.
What is your vision for the next 5 years?
My vision is to see ourselves (Raizes) in a stable permanent space, and continuing to make those safe spaces for the community to create programs .
Why is this work important for our community?
I carry around generational traumas, and environmental traumas and these safe spaces for me are a way to express that and create a sense of healing. There’s so much cognitive dissonance, that is unhealthy, and part of it comes from hearing from change makers and leaders where actions do not match their words, and for me, it's a way to shift that perspective. For me, this work is important to shift systems and create new ways of thinking and decision making and create more accountable organizations.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my daughter who is bi-racial and for her to see herself reflected in our work, for her and to see that a lot of our programming can be intergenerational. Sometimes we can lose the connection between young and old.
The member of ALMAS Libres are an active group of community members that are part of the Raizes Collective organization. ALMAS Libres members work, volunteer, advocate, inform, and participate in volunteer training and forums to address community concerns.
Recently, ALMAS Libres members participated in a beautiful project together with Padres Unidos which is a program of Community Action Partnership (CAP). This type of programming and partnership opens up a cross-generational collaboration between adult mentor to youth students and also a horizontal relationship from concerned parent to parent. The members of ALMAS Libres receive training and resources to lead this type of programming since they are the essential component that guides the community towards change. AlMAS Libres demand equitable treatment that ensures and is vital to the health and safety of the community in Sonoma County.