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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Thursday May 23rd 2024

Latina/o Environmental Health Begins at Home CHAT

This project organizes Latino families to learn about environmental health and how they can contribute to creating a healthy environment for their families and community. The first stage of this effort is to teach Latinas how to make healthy products to clean the home and organize ways to implement what they have learned and to support each other to maintain a healthy environment.

Our vision is to improve the health of the Latino residents and community by creating a healthier indoor environment for Latino families, build community between Latino families, and build momentum in the community to be a part of the bigger environmental justice movement.

We have developed curriculum for the Latino community on safe household cleaners and how to do a healthy home audit and trained a group of people to clean kitchens with natural products and to conduct a healthy home audit. We received training in making our own safe and healthy cleaning products and practices from the Women”'s Environmental Institute.

Work sessions are held in people”'s homes who have signed up to have their kitchen cleaned. Participants learn 1) to create cleaning products from natural, environmentally safe ingredients, 2) where they can get the ingredients, 3) what the benefits are for using these products instead of their usual products (inexpensive and healthier), 4) to draw on their cultural traditions and background for healthy resources, and 5) to reframe or redefine what “clean” means (a product which attacks germs in your kitchen might mean the product is attacking your body, standards of what cleanliness means might be excessive).

Our vision is to eventually form “Grupos de apoyo” (support groups) for women to clean each other”'s kitchen together with support from the trainers. The ingredients for cleaning products will be left at each kitchen for future cleanings. After cleaning, a spiritual healer takes the participants through a spiritual cleansing, in the traditional ways. This is consistent with the cultural understanding that cleansing is not just about the physical, but it is also spiritual. Our hope is this will lead to families continuing to support each other and build community.

CHAT Member include: Berta Ruiz

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