By: Matt Mirarchi, Director of Advancement

As politicians argue about sanitizing (or white-washing) the history of the United States by objecting to the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT), Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian/Asian Pacific Islander communities (BIPOC), and all communities of color, continue to endure systemic oppression and intergenerational trauma.

Despite originating in the 1970s, CRT has recently become a flashpoint within political discourse—with advocates underscoring the importance of recognizing how colonialism, genocide, and slavery shaped the governing systems of the United States, and how those systems perpetuate racial inequities.

CRT not only uplifts intersectional conversations regarding race, power, and revisionist history, but illustrates why it is crucial to speak truth to power—to honor and center BIPOC voices and lived experiences throughout history, and how their efforts to effect more equitable change have affected, and have been affected by, the systems that were shaped to marginalize and oppress them. As of May 2021, legislation purporting to prohibit the teaching of CRT in schools has passed in Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Tennessee and has been proposed in various other states; the bills’ constitutionality remain unclear.

By embracing CRT, advocates are positioned to engage as proactive antiracist accomplices to help dismantle barriers to opportunity and shape more equitable systems grounded in inclusion, diversity, equity, and access—to support BIPOC and immigrant communities.

As New Mexico’s only culturally and linguistically specific DV service provider for Spanish-speaking Latinx immigrant communities, Enlace recognizes that racial inequities intersect with and are compounded by social determinants of health (SDOH), like food and healthcare deserts; educational opportunities, such as financial capability training; transportation systems; access to linguistically appropriate services; and immigration status, especially as it correlates with access to social safety net resources. These SDOH were intentionally shaped through a white supremacist, colonial, patriarchal system framed to favor white men and ensconce them in positions of power and control. In this way, patriarchy and the behaviors it inculcates intergenerationally, especially amongst men (e.g., via toxic masculinity, misogyny, and internalized misogyny), fuel DV and IPV and normalizes systemic abuse against womxn and marginalized communities.

Given that such toxic behaviors often are learned by and manifested through subsequent generations, Enlace works to address intergenerational trauma through our trauma-informed services model. That means we address the needs of all household members—children and adults—and recognize how generational trauma can manifest in younger household members, including through DV and IPV and affiliated behaviors (e.g., teen dating violence or gang activity). This is especially important in Enlace’s work since we work with multi-generational households.

Enlace’s service provision model is predicated upon education and empowerment—because we recognize that education and access to resources can mitigate power imbalances present in DV and IPV situations. When survivors are equipped with or connected to resources that inform their plans, they are positioned for self-empowerment—to make those vital, change-making decisions on their own terms. Enlace’s Promotoras and Youth Leaders are prime examples of how, through self-empowerment and education, survivors can become community advocates working to mitigate DV and IPV at the community level.

By fully learning this country’s history and learning about how racist systems continue to undermine the health and wellbeing of BIPOC and immigrant households, we can proactively pivot to shape a more equitable future—one where power, education, and resources are shared, and where generational healing through restorative justice can begin.

Enlace will continue to leverage our trauma-informed intervention and prevention services to proactively equip survivors with educational resources to help them make informed plans and reclaim their power.