Grassroots Vaccination Efforts – Building Community Engagement and Resiliency with La Familia Sana’s Zeke Guzman
“Never go to someone’s home with empty hands”
July 26, 2021
California Volunteers was honored to have Ezequiel ‘Zeke’ Guzman join our monthly Volunteer Center and VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster) meeting to speak on the complex and multi-faceted topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the volunteer sector. Zeke is the founder, former Board President and current advisor of La Familia Sana, a nonprofit organization in Cloverdale, California launched after the Kincade Fire in 2019 to help coordinate emergency resources for migrant farmworkers disconnected from the safety net.
Throughout the pandemic, Zeke and La Familia Sana have engaged community volunteers to lead a successful grassroots effort to distribute food and promote vaccine confidence and access with low-income Mexican and Mexican American laborers and their families. The son of migrant farmworkers himself and an inspiring speaker, Zeke shared how he has cultivated cross-sector partnerships to provide community members with a broad range of urgently needed resources. He also spoke compellingly about the “Barrio Resiliency Model – Nos Cuidamos Uno al Otro” (We Take Care of One Another) and outlined specific strategies to mobilize the power of neighborhood volunteers. In particular, Zeke emphasized the importance of:
- responding to COVID-19 as one of many intersecting crises (poverty, unemployment, food insecurity, houselessness) people from marginalized communities face and respecting the perspectives of those most impacted
- nurturing mutual trust and long-term relationships through small acts of kindness, multilingual outreach, and culturally relevant support across issue areas
- recognizing the power of “continuity of connection” to build long-term relational partnerships to achieve the greatest impact
- believing in the power, wisdom and generosity within communities and investing in local leaders
- providing honorariums when working with volunteers experiencing poverty
To learn more about Zeke’s impactful work in Northern Sonoma visit La Familia Sana’s website. You can also email Zeke directly to learn more about the “Barrio Resiliency Model.”
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