In the days leading up to Dia de Los Muertos, an Ofrenda sits at the entrance of the UMOS Latina Resource Center.
“It’s definitely a way of worshiping and acknowledging the loved ones and celebrating their lives,” said center director Mariana Rodriguez.
The Ofrenda at the resource center features plaques honoring lives lost to domestic violence in Milwaukee.
“We definitely want to honor and acknowledge them,” Rodriguez said.
The resource center opened in December 2019 and serves survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. However, they were never able to show off their space and resources to the community after the pandemic hit. On Thursday night the center finally had an open house.
The Latina Resource center prides itself on providing culturally appropriate care with a bilingual staff that’s able to address the barriers Latina women may face when seeking help.
“Language barriers, fear of being deported for some reason or another, not really understanding the victim’s rights as an immigrant population… those are some of the primary issues that we must first address so that victims can feel safe and know we are there for them,” Rodriguez said.
Now that they’ve been able to open publicly, the hope is to reach more people with the message of “no estás sola” or “you are not alone.”
“In general right now, as a city, we’re facing some really big challenges with homicides. and we know that the two populations that have the highest rates of domestic violence and homicides have been Black women and Latina women,” Rodriguez said.
The center is now expanding the work it does with a $700,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to increase its services to help victims of human trafficking.
You can reach out to the Latina Resource Center if you are in need, you can also call the Domestic Violence 24-hour helpline at 414-389-6510.