News Releases

"Rootstraps," Not Bootstraps, Will Uplift Latino Boys & Men from Violence/Poverty


September 14, 2012

Media Contact:  Sandra Flores, Sr. Program Officer, 559-226-5600; [email protected] 


FRESNO, Calif – Despite mountains of programs intended to combat problems such as gang involvement, teen pregnancy, school failure, family erosion and poverty among Latino men and boys, such programs rarely attempt to include positive cultural values, traditions, cultural narratives or the Latino concept of family into their curriculums. 

To address these issues, the National Latino Fatherhood & Family Institute (NLFFI) and the Fresno Regional Foundation (FRF) will hold a “Brown Paper” launch Wednesday, September 26, 2012 from 9 a.m. to noon at Arte Americas in Fresno. In attendance will be nearly 100 civic-minded individuals and organizational leaders.

The Brown Paper – a term that replaces the traditional “White Paper” for audiences of color — is titled Lifting Latinos Up By Their “Rootstraps:” Moving Beyond Trauma Through A Healing-Informed Framework for Latino Boys and Men. The paper outlines a framework for building culturally rooted and responsive policies and programming; provider network and capacity-building; and the transformation of systems from trauma- to healing-informed efforts. To view the Executive Summary of the report, please click here.

“My work for the past 30 years has convinced me that for healing to occur in Latino communities affected by poverty, crime and despair, men and boys must be reminded to look to their cultural roots. said Jerry Tello, NLFFI founder and 2012 White House “Champion of Change” honoree.

The agenda for the day includes internationally recognized speakers on Latino fatherhood, teen pregnancy and violence prevention, analysis of the Brown Paper, and a culturally-inclusive healing circle. To attend the event, please RSVP here

There is a tremendous need to improve outcomes for Latino boys and men in the Central Valley. Less than 26 percent of Latino boys in the Fresno Unified School District were proficient in English and math between 2007 and 2009. Of the 3,650 male juveniles arrested between 2009 and 2010, 60.7 percent were Latino. 

In Fresno County, Latino boys comprise more than 60 percent of all males under 19, and Latinos are projected to make up 85 percent of the male population by 2050, giving this work huge implications for the future of the Valley. 

The paper focuses on the need for La Cultura Cura — or Cultural-Based Healing as a method for healing and healthy development of Latinos and other populations of color. La Cultura Cura involves restoring one’s cultural identity as the foundation of well-being for individuals, families, communities and society. It employs a multi-generational process of learning or remembering true, positive cultural values, principles, customs, and traditions. 

It moves beyond the traditional “trauma-informed” approach among prevention programs – in which the focus is on reacting to maladapted behaviors. Instead, the “Brown Paper” concentrates on the need for healing, restoration of pride, and a community-wide embrace of the historically strong and positive influence of Latino culture.

About the Fresno Regional Foundation   

Founded in 1966, FRF improves the quality of life in the San Joaquin Valley through philanthropy. It serves Fresno, Madera, Merced, Mariposa, Tulare and Kings counties. FRF is the trusted link between donors and organizations investing in permanent, high-impact solutions for the San Joaquin Valley. The Foundation currently holds assets of $55 million and awarded $3.5 million in grants in 2011. For more information about the Fresno Regional Foundation, please visit or call (559) 226-5600. 

About the National Latino Fatherhood and Family Institute (NLFFI)   

NLFFI brings together culturally competent nationally recognized leaders in the fields of fatherhood, rites of passage, health, education, family violence, teen pregnancy prevention, cultural competence, juvenile justice, social services, advocacy, trauma, healing and evidence based research. NLFFI works in partnership with community leaders and decision makers to create strategic systems change and provides support in the areas of training, technical assistance, collective impact, research, leadership development, and resource development. For more information, please visit 


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