The Esperanza Project

by Oxnard Performing Arts Center Corporation (OPAC)

Did you know that teenage Latinas have some of the highest rates of suicide compared to their peers?  While Latinos make up 74% of Oxnard’s population, they are still sorely underrepresented among mental health professionals and continue to face a crisis in knowledge of, access to, and the use of mental healthcare. This motivated Oxnard filmmaker, Arcelia Martinez, to tackle this issue head-on in our own community.

For the 2020/21 Season (October - May), we’re launching a new Artist-in-Residency and programming series with Arcelia addressing teen Latina mental health. This three-part, year-long program consists of: 

  • SIN VERGUENZA CHARLAS: "Sin Verguenza" (or 'without shame') are monthly meetings that bring together young Latinas to share, inspire and encourage each other through craft and conversation. It's a judgement-free space to connect, discover and find their own artistic/coping techniques via virtual Zoom sessions. Sessions will be a mix of guest artists, guided hands-on activities, and unstructured time to interact and learn from each other.
  • (4) SALONS/PANEL DISCUSSIONS: These events will present mental health topics through dynamic mediums such as panel discussions, film, conversation/storytelling, art exhibitions, and performances. They provide a virtual platform for the community to hear and ask questions on specific aspects of Mental Health and will be provided in Spanish vis-a-vis translation services.
  • A SHORT DOCUMENTARY:  The series ends with the creation of a short documentary that follows local Latinas who are struggling (in life, school, art) due to theirs or a family member's illness. It's a snapshot of where Oxnard and Ventura County teen Latinas stand in the mental health battle. The film will be shown publicly and in area high schools in May 2021. 

We welcome your participation and support of this project. 

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