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Save La Casa

We must reckon with what is happening now at La Casa de la Raza.

La Casa de la Raza emerged from the Chicana/o Movement in the 1960s. Its vision was broad and bold— empower Chicanas and Chicanos and oppressed people all over the world. Despite serving the community for 50 years, La Casa is struggling; these struggles are external and internal. The reasons are complex, as some wounds are self-inflicted, but others stem from complicated financial matters.

La Casa de la Raza faces a literal day of reckoning. If it goes into foreclosure on October 24, the land and building will no longer be used to benefit the Latinx community.

At the same time, we, as a community are asking how do we go about reconstructing and rebuilding ourselves into a place that will be able to sustain the next seven generations. Like the oak trees that are native to this land, we can continue to thrive as a community and reseed the community with new young leaders.

We must reckon with the consequences of our actions and inactions. We must each do this with an open mind and open heart as well as a fierce equanimity. As a community we can save La Casa de la Raza. It is possible to change the trajectory of history. We must become capable of supporting the healing and transformation we want to see and to be in our society and in ourselves.

I am a white woman asking a whole community to stand up and give $2 million so that our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers and children of color may thrive among us. In a county like ours that receives over $150 million a year in foundation grants, we should be able to stand up right now and secure the cost of the land and building where La Casa de la Raza stands.

With $2 million, a new reconstruction would be possible. Young leaders in our community are working together to create a better, more just Santa Barbara that serves all people — immigrants, Latinx people, people of color, women, queer people, white middle- and working-class people, indigenous people. La Casa de la Raza is the house of all people.

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