Caminar Latino is not simply an intervention program or service provider that addresses the effects of domestic violence in Latino families.
Instead we are a social change organization where our goal is to walk with families during their journey towards non-violence, to offer opportunities for change in themselves, their families, and their communities, and to elevate their stories nationally in our efforts to eradicate the structural and social conditions that create barriers to change.
Another important aspect of Caminar Latino’s philosophy is not setting ourselves apart from the people with whom we work, as providers as well as colleagues. This entails horizontal (instead of top-down) relationships, not asking people to do things that we would not do (i.e. use hierarchical power when we are asking the men to not do it with their partners), and the fundamental belief that all people involved in the intervention can learn from one another.
The mission is realized with the incorporation of third world feminism and the teachings of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire within the program’s approach. Conceptualizing domestic violence as a human rights issue, Caminar Latino emphasizes the importance for participants to undergo “concientización”, or critical consciousness. This is the process whereby individuals develop an awareness of the political, social, and economic contexts that shape their lives, as well as an awareness of their capacity to change these contexts. Through “concientización”, Caminar Latino aims to increase women and children’s capacity to identify the abusive behaviors that violate their human rights, to engage in dialogue with other people who have had similar experiences, and to take action to transform their lives as true agents of change