González Perezchica, Ed.D., is govt director of MANA de San Diego, and lives in College Heights.
There may be worth in figuring out our historical past. MANA de San Diego, a local people group of largely Latinas, is celebrating its thirty fifth anniversary this week. Nuestra historia, our historical past, is the theme of our twenty third brindis gala. MANA is a nationwide group of Latinas based in 1974. Its mission is to empower Latinas by means of management improvement, neighborhood service and advocacy, and MANA de San Diego is the most important chapter. It was Josie Silva, a MANA member in Texas, who had the thought to create a MANA chapter in San Diego. After Josie arrived in San Diego from El Paso, she went to “search for the Chicanas.” By means of her work, Josie would discover a handful of Latinas to start out the chapter with. One in every of them was Mary Cruz Campo.
At first, eager to make a distinction in the neighborhood, MANA members volunteered at neighborhood occasions. They’d present up on the Spirit of the Barrio luncheon to serve meals and promote raffle tickets. MANA additionally volunteered for KPBS pledge drives. Throughout that point, the chapter didn’t have particular objectives. This made it tough to maintain members engaged. Josie and Mary bear in mind typically being the one two members who confirmed as much as member conferences.
It took tenacity to construct the chapter. Sooner or later Josie could be disillusioned and unhappy. Mary would encourage her. Then it was Mary’s flip to be down, and Josie inspired Mary. As destiny would have it, Elisa Sanchez, a founding member of MANA Nationwide, moved to San Diego. By means of MANA Nationwide and her profession, Elisa had developed robust management abilities and performed a pivotal function in mentoring a number of of the chapter leaders.
After a MANA Nationwide convention in Washington, D.C., in 1988, the San Diego chapter determined to start out an Hermanitas Program. It will begin in center faculty, as it might be a simpler intervention than ready till highschool. At the moment, analysis confirmed younger Latinas had been prone to getting pregnant and dropping out of faculty. The purpose was to work with the “whole” household however give attention to the younger girls. Native educators recommended Hermanitas begin at Pacific Seaside Center College as a result of college students had been being bused there and the mixing applications weren’t working. The scholars had been recruited at Pacific Seaside Center College, and this system facilitated its seminars on the Sherman Heights Neighborhood Middle. Later Nationwide Metropolis Junior Excessive was chosen because the second faculty web site.
The early chapter’s mission assertion learn: “MANA of San Diego County’s major goal is to decrease adolescent being pregnant and encourage extra younger girls to finish highschool and proceed their increased schooling. Now we have an Hermanitas Challenge specializing in mentoring elements. We additionally help and work with many neighborhood organizations that work with these and different issues that relate to Hispanic girls.”
MANA de San Diego, comprised largely of Latina professionals, understood the significance of upper schooling and its challenges. That they had mentioned elevating funds for scholarships when Sylvia Chavez, a loyal chapter member unexpectedly handed away. Her household donated funds that might grow to be the seed funds for the Sylvia Chavez Scholarship Fund. One scholarship for $1,000 was given in 1990 to a San Diego State College well being science scholar. With the mentorship and scholarship applications growing, the small group of members knew they wanted to recruit extra members. It was a present when Julie Rocha, editor and writer of El Sol newspaper, agreed to publish common MANA articles. The newspaper would submit membership assembly bulletins. El Sol turned an vital useful resource to unfold MANA de San Diego information. In 1990, the primary brindis would happen on the Kingston Lodge in Downtown San Diego. The brindis then appeared very completely different from the brindis now. It was a lot smaller and Hermanitas and their households would additionally attend. With the Hermanitas and Scholarship applications established, the members had been extra dedicated than ever to their chapter and its mission.
By its fifth anniversary, the chapter had grown in numbers, management and imaginative and prescient. The ladies understood the significance of illustration they usually inspired MANA members to use for native boards and commissions. That yr, Mary Salas was appointed to the Chula Vista Civil Service Fee. Mary credit this as an appointment that pushed her into politics. Mary would grow to be the primary Latina to serve within the Chula Vista Metropolis Council and the primary Latina to function mayor in that metropolis. She additionally served within the state Meeting.
The early MANA de San Diego girls had been energetic in advocacy. They took a stand towards Proposition 187 in 1994 and labored with different organizations to defeat it, however had been unsuccessful. By 1995, the chapter had grown to 140 members, thanks partly to Olivia Puentes-Reynolds, who was a tremendous recruiter.
MANA de San Diego members are dedicated to addressing the inequities going through Latinas in San Diego County. Sisterhood created the group. The early members constructed such a powerful basis that 35 years later the group now has six full-time staff and near a $1 million funds. MANA de San Diego has served hundreds of Latinas, making a pathway to a greater future — empowering native Latinas at each stage of their lives.