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Equity in Action: October 2021 Rise Together Grant Update

Updated: Oct 14

Spotlight on Estrellas de Esperanza &Santa Cruz County Black Health Matters Initiative


Estrellas de Esperanza

Thanks to a grant from Rise Together, Estrellas de Esperanza hosted Maestro Inocencio Rojas Cruz from the Costa Chica region of Oaxaca, Mexico. This funding ties the grant back to goal two of Rise Together, to “amplify, value, celebrate, and preserve People of Color’s stories, arts, culture, and community events.”

For one intensive week, dancers and their families gathered every evening to learn the steps, movements, stories, and history of Danza de los Diablos, a traditional Afro-Mexican dance performed during the festivities of Dia de los Muertos.

Visiting maestros bring with them fountains of knowledge. The students are able to connect to the rich and diverse Mexican culture and learn different indigenous and Afro-Mexican traditions which are too often marginalized. It’s this connection to their heritage that helps students feel rooted in their identities, build confidence, and have a strong sense of community.

Watch the dancers in action during rehearsal!

Santa Cruz County Black Health Matters Initiative

Photo credit: Shmuel Thaler/Santa Cruz Sentinel

Santa Cruz County Black Health Matters Initiative received a Rise Together grant to build the staffing and programmatic infrastructure to support Black mental health through the arts and culture, community building, youth development, and leadership.

On Saturday, October 16, the initiaitive will be holding a one-year anniversary celebration outdoors at the Tannery Arts Center. The festival, which runs from 1 - 5 pm will feature performances, live music, food, a health panel, and vaccine clinic, family fun activities, and vendors. It's open to all community members and is free of charge.


About Rise Together Grants

In June of 2021, Rise Together made 14 grants, totaling $423,000 to advance our goals for racial equity locally. We continue to work together, meeting every other week to collaborate and support the development of each project. In just five months, we’ve already made a lot of progress.
If you feel moved to join in supporting these projects, please donate directly to the organizations leading this work. If you are excited to see the Rise Together group and grantmaking process grow, please donate to the Rise Together Fund.

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