Background: Psychological literature and needs-assessment reports emphasize that Latinos/X in Sonoma Valley continue to be impacted by the detrimental effects of the 2017 Northern California wildfires (Domínguez & Yeh, 2018), current immigration enforcement practices, higher rates of poverty, lower educational attainment, persistent barriers to health care access, and obstacles to proportionate leadership representation compared to White American families. To cope with these disparities and navigate life adversities, Sonoma Valley Latinos/X often rely on “fortalezas” [strengths] and community, political, spiritual, cultural, and physical assets. These assets, which often include meaningful interactions with family, friends, neighbors, folk healers, faith-based organizations, and community members, must be incorporated when health care, community, and social service initiatives are designed and implemented.
Method: Our community-engaged research team (CERT) used asset-based community development (ABCD) as a conceptual framework (Kretzmann & McKnight, 1993) and community-based participatory research (CBPR) (Wallerstein & Duran, 2003) as a methodological approach to explore the assets and “fortalezas” [strengths] that have enabled Latinos/X to overcome adverse experiences i n Sonoma Valley. Five focus groups and 29 in-depth interviews were conducted because these methods are well-suited for Latino/X relational styles of “platicando” [small talk] (Delgado-Romero, Singh, & De Los Santos, 2018) . Participants were 18 years or older, lived or worked i n Sonoma Valley, and self-identified as Latino/X. Our sample included Latino/X parents, grandparents, artists, folk healers, health and social service providers, community leaders, students, and school personnel. Specific locations where interviews took place include the Hanna Institute, Nuestra Voz, La Luz Center, Center for Well-Being, Boys and Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley, the Family Resource Center in El Verano, the Sonoma Valley Community Health Center, participants’ houses, and the broader Sonoma Valley community. Our research prioritized depth of relational engagement rather than sample size (Bowden, Caine, Yohani, 2017). We discontinued data collection once our research objectives were achieved and data saturation was accomplished. For data analysis, we used quasi-statistics to quantify the frequency of asset endorsement; open, axial, and selective coding to identify and categorize the assets; and GIS software for the creation of our two asset maps.
Findings: Findings indicate that Latinos/X are marginally positioned within Sonoma Valley society. Latinos/X have coped with and adapted to adverse conditions and disparities using and relying on a variety of informal networks and formal sources of support. Their decision to rely on one source of support over another is often based on (a) the extent to which they can afford the services or support required; (b) their particular needs, goals, or objectives at the time the help i s needed; (c) their preference for support resources that honor “respeto” [respect], “personalismo” [a preference for close personal attention i n relationships], and stable and welcoming intimate relationships with others; (d) the accessibility associated with pursuing these support services (e.g., geographic and transportation limitations); and (e) the extent to which culturally relevant and Spanish-speaking support can be found.
Dissemination: All data i n this study i s co-owned with the Sonoma Valley community. With the help of our community partners, this report was disseminated in Sonoma Valley during community meetings and forums, offering residents the opportunity to provide feedback, debate preliminary results, and assess whether their voices were captured accurately. Once the community expressed that the findings were representative of the Latino/X experience in Sonoma Valley, we finalized recommendations to assist community members, government officials, and health care and social service providers in designing culturally informed social, health, and/or community programs.
Domínguez, Daniela; Juárez, S.; Degante-Blancas, N.; De León, R.; and González, Ruano, "Finding positive health in “fortalezas” and “comunidad”: A case study of Latinos/X in Sonoma Valley" (2020). Psychology. 65.