Raíces Emma-Erwin is a gorgeous and thriving example of cultural organizing in Asheville. There’s so many reasons to celebrate who they are and what they do. Here are some of our favorites.
A Powerful Mission
Raíces Emma-Erwin (formerly Nuestro Centro) first opened its doors to the community in 2007. Their work has evolved as the needs of Latinx neighborhoods and communities have changed–from crisis response to providing community healing and supporting families to thrive.
Currently, the mission of Raíces Emma-Erwin is to strengthen the cultural identity of our children and have a positive influence on their lives. Sharing the dance, art and culture of Latin America, Raíces creates a united and integrated community where there is respect and safety.
Through joy and creativity, Raíces Emma-Erwin builds community and facilitates transformation.
Nurturing Community Through Arts and Culture
Raíces Emma-Erwin convenes the only after school opportunities and summer camps in Asheville that center Latinx people, leaders, and culture. Working with a team of 15 Latinx teaching artists, parents, and community leaders, children experience art, dance, music, food, and connection.
In the midst of the COVID pandemic, Raíces Emma-Erwin created a dynamic curriculum organized around “The Elements of Nature” – air, water, fire and earth. “Semi-virtual” camps were hosted in seven different locations, so neighborhoods, existing pods, and individual families could participate.
As Raíces Emma-Erwin leadership shares in a recent report, “Participants appreciate and identify with their origin and roots, enhancing self-esteem and confidence. The focus on culture and identity has a positive influence, building resilience and awareness about our cultural wealth and our power to change what is often a challenging reality in our communities.”
Parents and community members lead all programming. Through intentional training of members of the Emma-Erwin community as caregivers and educational instructors, Raíces Emma-Erwin creates a community with the capacity to provide a recreational and educational space for children.
As Juan G. Sánchez M., a parent of a RAICES participant, shared:
“In these times of slowdown, the ‘Raíces 2020’ camp made our community flourish. The laughter of parents and children lit up the summer. Despite the distance, the earth, the water, the air, and the fire confirmed to us that we are a single fabric, vibrating in these blue mountains.”
To learn more about Racies Emma-Erwin’s gorgeous work, check out this video.