Salud y Comunidad: Latinos en Montana Community Advisory Board
Through its sister organization, the Gallatin Valley Human Rights Taskforce (“GVHRTF”), we have been building relationships in solidarity with Mexican migrant community members. These relationships initially took shape in the sanctuary of a local Catholic Church which holds a monthly Spanish mass. Church-going members of the Mexican community invited GVHRTF Board members to their prayer group to discuss the need to educate and empower migrant community members about their rights.
Dr. Bethany Letiecq, President of the Board of MIJA and professor of family and community health at Montana State University, also established Salud y Comunidad: Latinos en Montana, a Community Advisory Board (“CAB”). The Salud y Comunidad CAB includes Mexican migrant members, community organizers, and other allies dedicated to migrant justice. This advisory board came together to oversee all of GVHRTF’s community work. Since 2008, the Salud y Comunidad CAB has supervised the development and implementation of two migrant community surveys (with a total sample of 250 participants), and organized numerous activities (e.g., educational panels, an MLK Day “All are welcome here” fiesta, computer and English classes, visits from the Mexican Consulate to Bozeman, and a letter-writing campaign targeting anti-immigrant legislation). The Salud y Comunidad CAB was also instrumental in laying the groundwork for the “Tias y Tios” program, where Montana State University college students are paired with migrant children as mentors and with parents in a language exchange.