WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) shed light on Domestic Violence Awareness Month today by meeting with advocates at Enlace Comunitario in Albuquerque and discussing efforts to reduce domestic violence against women. Enlace Comunitario is a non-profit, social justice organization led by Latinasin central New Mexico that provides direct services to Spanish-speaking victims of domestic violence and advocates for the rights of immigrants and their children.
During his visit to Enlace Comunitario, Senator Heinrich heard from women who have overcome domestic violence, including a DREAMer who has benefited from the bilingual programs the center provides.
"I'm incredibly grateful for the important work Enlace does every day. From providing legal services, to helping mothers get job training, to promoting education for youth, Enlace's efforts make our communities safer and stronger," said Sen. Heinrich. "I congratulate Enlace for being highlighted in a recent White House report on domestic violence, which recognized the invaluable contributions the center provides to women and children. All people should have the right to live free from domestic and sexual violence. As a strong proponent of Violence Against Women Act, I will continue to support programs that seek to end abuse and help those in need."
Senator Heinrich cosponsored legislation reauthorizing and updating the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). That legislation was signed into law in March 2013, ensuring that law enforcement and other community organizations will continue to have access to the resources that have helped prevent and reduce domestic violence throughout the U.S. The legislation also expanded VAWA's reach to include programs that aim to reduce all forms of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking, and to ensure protection for all victims, including Native American women, gay and lesbian victims, and battered immigrant women.
Enlace Comunitario was highlighted in a White House report titled 1 is 2 MANY: Twenty Years Fighting Violence Against Women and Girls in September. The report celebrated the 20 years since the passage of VAWA and the improvement of the justice system and services for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. Enlace Comunitario was the only New Mexico organization recognized in the report for their advocacy.
Enlace Comunitario Executive Director Antoinette Sedillo Lopez said, "We are proud that our work is included in the 20 Year VAWA Anniversary Report. We are grateful for VAWA and the lives that have been saved and the damage that has been averted because of its provisions. We are pleased to be a part of the movement to end domestic violence."
Every year, Enlace trains a cohort of adult female survivors and youth who have witnessed domestic violence as prevention leaders - to educate the community about healthier relationships and about the impact of domestic violence on children. Enlace has since created a male "promotores" program that trains Spanish-speaking Latino men to talk to others about rejecting violence in their lives.