Latinx @ UVA

Latinx @ UVA

Central Americans for Empowerment

Central Americans for Empowerment at UVA is the first East Coast chapter of Central Americans for Empowerment and the first chapter to be outside of California. The organization aims to serve as the representative body for Central Americans at UVA and empower student voices through collective and direct action, cultural exchanges, and political and social education.

Mission:

CAFE aims to create an inclusive space for Central American folk in an effort to increase visibility and representation of the diversity within the Latinx community at the University of Virginia. CAFE works to gain a collective voice and foster empowerment through civic engagement as well as political, social, and cultural education and advocacy while simultaneously building solidarity with other marginalized communities.

 


Our Website: Website

Founding year:

Fall 2018

Founders:

Johanna Moncada Sosa

Creation:

CAFE was founded around the time the Central American caravan that departed from Honduras attracted attention from the media. The organization was founded because of a lack of Central American representation on Grounds. The organization’s Declaration of Existence states, “We’ve [Central Americans] been reduced to a week on a syllabus sheet, to a short Facebook post celebrating our Independence Days - we are simply moments. We are whispers within a larger, louder conversation of Latin American. We can no longer rely on others to be represented. Thus, this is our declaration of existence. We are here.” Members felt as though existing organizations barely acknowledged Central America as a whole, from the cultures to the issues each country faces, and this organization was created to change that.

Structure:

CAFE is comprised of a President, Vice President, Financial Chair, Public Relations Chair, Recruitment Chair, Outreach Chair, Secretary, two Research Chairs, and three delegates. These individuals come together to discuss, organize, and plan their next steps as an organization on a weekly basis.

Efforts:

  • Declaration of Existence
    • CAFE released a statement declaring their existence as an organization at the University of Virginia; November 2018
  • A Mile of People: Deconstructing the Caravan Crisis
    • This event served as a DREAMers on Grounds general body meeting in which the Latinx Student Alliance and Central Americans for Empowerment at UVa co-sponsored. It was the first time CAFE appeared as a host of an event. CAFE broke down exactly what was going on with the caravan, dispelled myths, went through the various asylum processes, and used Honduras as a case study as to why people are leaving; November 2018.
  • Statements on Anna Paulina (before and after the event)
    • Director of Hispanic Engagement at Turning Point USA spoke at the University, and CAFE released statements before and after the event explaining the inconsistencies and problematic nature of Anna Paulina’s discussion; fall 2018.
  • FRONTERAS Open Mic
    • This was an open-mic collaboration with Political Latinx United for Movement and Society (PLUMAS) and the Afro-Latinx Student Organization (ALSO) with a theme of "borders." The organizations encouraged folx to take the theme in any way they wanted. At the event, the organizations collected items needed for the Transit Support team in Charlottesville helping the Central American Asylum Seekers on Greyhound buses; November 2018
  • Letter Writing Campaign
    • CAFE at UVA’s  sister organization (CAFE at UC Berkeley) announced that some of their members were traveling to the border to hand deliver supplies and written letters to the Central American asylum seekers in Tijuana, Mexico/at the border. CAFE at UVA wanted to get involved in some way, so they collected letters that were later sent to individuals for hand delivery; December 2018.
  • Paint Night
    • CAFE co-sponsored with the Minority Rights Coalition Advocacy Committee and the Afro-Latinx Student Organization to organize an event with painting-related activities, snacks, refreshments, and music to wind down before finals week picked up; December 2018.

 

Information collected through an interview with Johanna Moncada Sosa (C/O 2020)