La Luz Center in Sonoma County provides and connects immigrant and farm laborer families with an array of support services including economic, legal, health, and emergency-aid services.
La Luz Center Family Services advocates provide community members with direct emergency relief and help families apply for social services and benefits. The Center also helps individuals and families access other medical, legal, and health services offered in the region. Their rapid response work has included helping immigrant families who face ongoing immigrant deportation threats as well as providing critical support to farm laborer families affected by fires. For example, La Luz stepped in to help families affected by the 2017 Tubbs fires which devastated both Napa and Sonoma Counties, places that are home to thousands of undocumented immigrant families who primarily work in the local wine and farming economy. During the fires, many families could not afford to leave their homes and were left with no choice but to stay behind; La Luz delivered hot meals and provided other emergency-aid services.
As a well-established organization, La Luz was able to pivot to immigrant-focused COVID-19 pandemic assistance, underscoring the importance of ongoing long-term support to immigrant communities in more rural communities. For example, La Luz’s Promotoras and Luchadoras provided culturally relevant information, masks, and helped set up vaccination clinics. The organization also stepped in to provide rental assistance and worked to help address the digital divide for families who needed computers and wifi, as well as providing support to market owners and small immigrant businesses. La Luz’s crisis fund extended to connect immigrants with a range of COVID-19-related benefits including funds for sick leave, relief payments, small business loans, and information on testing sites.
La Luz has been around for 30 years, and as former executive director Juan Hernandez said in an interview in The Nation, “People trust us….They know that LL will be here tomorrow if they need it.” To read The Nation’s full article, “No Sanctuary in Fire-Stricken California’s Immigrant Communities,” click here. To find out more about La Luz Center’s work, click here. Read their 2021 annual report here.
Photo Credit: Cornerstone Cellars