Una Mano, Una Esperanza, which translates to One Hand, One Hope in English, is a Denver nonprofit that has worked with victims of crime to help survivors navigate the justice system since 2016.
“Domestic violence amongst our Hispanic community is a big challenge, especially for women,” said Rosa Marie Vergil Garcia, who founded the group. “We know that women are more often the victims of violent crime and, in many cases, going through it is part of their life story and the culture they were raised in. When women are in the United States, often they want to avoid what happens when domestic violence is reported in Latin America, where In many places a woman cannot accuse her husband or partner because otherwise they go to jail.”
In Latin America, women are often afraid reporting domestic abuse will make their abusers more aggressive toward them. Additionally, they are concerned how they will pay their bills if their abuser goes to jail and are scared to go to court.
Often Latino victims of crime seek support from someone they know well who will not say anything. This tends to be someone who will help but who is not a police officer, a social worker, a doctor or an authority figure. They look for a person in the community who supports others more informally. This is the power of Una Mano, Una Esperanza, Vegil-Garcia said.
“We support victims of crime during and after trauma and come alongside them as they go through the process of finding justice,” she said. “We believe in the power of prevention and supporting individuals to create healthy communication, healthy relationships and healthy families.”
Alpine Bank has helped to make the important work that Una Mano, Una Esperanza is achieving possible, something for which Vergil-Garcia is grateful.
“Alpine Bank has supported us to continue our work in the community,” she said, including educational, food and health programs the nonprofit offers. In 2022, it helped 500 domestic violence survivors. Additionally, it helped 200 families pay rent, assisted 700 families access the food bank and distributed Christmas presents to 800 children in Denver and 300 in New Castle.
“Before I felt very frustrated. I felt lost and that I couldn’t achieve anything in this country … Now, I feel safe. I feel good. I’m learning and getting to know the system,” one participant said.
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