Established in 1968, National Hispanic Heritage Month takes place each year from September 15 to October 15 — a period that includes the independence anniversaries of eight Latin American countries.
It’s a time to recognize the contributions and importance of Hispanic and Latinx Americans to our community and celebrate their heritage and culture.
We compiled a list of 6 incredible Santa Barbara County organizations that are preserving Latinx History, celebrating Latinx art and culture, and working towards justice across issue areas through advocacy, education, healthcare, and legal and social services.
Read on to get to know the organizations. We hope you’ll be inspired to learn more and get involved.
1. Immigrant Legal Defense Center
The SB County Immigrant Legal Defense Center exists so that no one has to face immigration court alone. They are a nonprofit agency promoting equal access to justice and due process by providing free legal services to adults and children in detention centers and in deportation proceedings. They also work to educate immigrants on their basic civil rights.
2. El Centro SB
El Centro SB is an activist-led grassroots community space located on the lower west side of Santa Barbara that centers people working towards the liberation and uplifting of people of color including but not limited to Womxn, Youth, Indigenous, Black, Latinx, Economically Underserved, and LGBTQIA+ communities. El Centro was established for these groups to exercise artistic expression, fund-raise, host meetings, offer educational events, and promote celebrations to connect folks to a collective struggle toward self-determination, self-empowerment, self-expression, and liberation of the global community, and most of all, to share in collective joy. Their intention is to have space “for the community by the community,” with committed volunteers and organizers who are building critical dialogue and action for justice and equity.
3. Mil Familias (Sansum Project)
The Mil Familias Project by Sansum Diabetes Research Institute is an innovative ten-year initiative to improve the lives of Latino families affected by diabetes through research, education, and care. They are engaging 1,000 Latino families from the Central Coast of California in this journey, supported by especialistas, data, interventions, and allies along the way.
4. La Casa de la Raza
La Casa de la Raza, the César Chavez Center was founded in 1971 to provide a nonprofit community center on the Eastside of Santa Barbara. La Casa de la Raza center pledges to “develop and empower the Latino community by affirming and preserving the Latino cultural heritage, providing an umbrella for services, and by advocating for participation in the larger community.”
5. Corazon del Pueblo (SMCC)
The Cultural & Creative Arts Center of the Santa Maria Valley is a community space for discovering and experiencing arts and culture. They advance the individual and collective imagination as it relates to Latinx culture, by providing a culturally enriching space where identities, heritages, and expressions are affirmed and celebrated throughout the arts.
6. Little House by the Park (of FSA)
Little House by the Park operates under Family Service Agency (FSA) of Santa Barbara County, one of SB County’s most reliable and effective nonprofit human service organizations. Little House by the Park is a trusted intermediary between residents and community institutions and views all of the families and individuals they serve as vital and integral parts of their community.