Language Justice + Land Justice
FrontLine Farming has been developing our values and practices of language justice for years and are blessed with the ability to work with Rosa Roja to ensure farm education classes, HR documents, public meetings and more can be available to both Spanish and English speakers. Being able to offer language accessibility for both Spanish and English speakers further helps our communities in representing themselves across spaces and in creating meaningful solutions to the issues in the food system that often burden these very same communities. For language justice we always work to advertise in both Spanish and English and offer both Spanish and English for classes and workshops, even when we don't know who will attend. In this way we aim to ensure all feel welcome and not as though they are a burden. We have found alignment, and shared passions and experiences, across land and work with Vida Rivera Santos and Hector Alvarez Mendez, the husband and wife team who own and run La Casa Publicadora Rosa Roja. Below Vida and Hector share their story of Rosa Roja, their lives, and their passion for FrontLine's work and mission.
About La Casa Publicadora Rosa Roja
La Casa Publicadora Rosa Roja is a publishing company that was first conceived in 2019.
Vida Rivera Santos and Hector Alvarez Mendez wanted to start an interpretation, publication, and translation company that would be flexible and full of great ideas to solve problems in communication and in publishing, teaching, and education for a diverse community of Latin American workers, teachers, and people. Our mission is unity, love, and diversity in our founding principles in the work of communication, interpretation, and publication.
Hector Alvarez was born in Santurce (a part of Metropolitan San Juan, Puerto Rico) in 1960 and studied theater, and psychology, his major is in Spanish. He studied and graduated in 1983 in Spanish from the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón (the University of the Sacred Heart) in Puerto Rico. He has been a field organizer for a union, a middle school teacher, a life skills coach, and a medical case manager for various well-known non-profits in the state of Colorado. He has been translating for decades within his various roles throughout his career in Denver, Colorado, and in Boulder, Colorado.
Hector identifies with the Latin American immigrant reality in the USA, specifically because of his working-class roots. Before he could speak English fluently he did a lot of work that was about cleaning offices and garage shops, and restaurants, he worked various jobs often done by many immigrants who had bills to pay and who had to find a way of making a living.
Those experiences helped him to understand firsthand the problems immigrants face and helped him in his work as an organizer and case manager. As many great immigrants from all over Latin America continue to do this with the struggles that they face every day in their daily lives, hoping for better circumstances in the USA. He sees himself in the many Latinos who work very hard for their daily bread. He became a field organizer with LIUNA and with COWINS (both unions one international and one for the state of Colorado).
Vida Rivera was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1966. She attended the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras where she studied general studies and transferred to the University of Colorado in Boulder and graduated in Anthropology. She also studied graduate studies at Regis University in adult education and anthropology. She has translated and interpreted professionally for the Community College of Denver, Metropolitan State University, the University of Colorado at Denver, Colorado Free University, and many other well-known nonprofits in the Denver metro area. She also was a Bilingual Medical Case Manager for a major nonprofit in Denver. Vida also has worked for Safeco Insurance as a bilingual representative where she translated for years for auto claims, and home claims and had to be certified in translations and interpretations every year. She also worked in the past for public school systems and as a teacher for years.
Why Hector Alvarez and Vida Rivera love their work with Frontline Farming.
Hector Alvarez has always believed in the connection between plants and the Earth and that keeping our planet healthy and strong is of primary importance. He has always been conscious of wanting to use art and language as a form of communication and loves theater, music, writing, and poetry and feels that growing up on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico near the beach, and the forests were something that shaped his relationship with nature tremendously. He commented recently that seeing almonds falling off an almond tree along with mangos, avocados, limes and oranges here in the Yucatán was something that brought him back to his younger years when he took for granted that trees that gave us such wonderful food would always be there for us. Now, he realizes that unless we consciously cultivate those relationships with the trees, the earth, and the plants that give us medicine, flavor, and sustainable food for many generations to come—we would all lose out and be lost forever without the trees, the plants, and the Earth.
Frontline is not a luxury organization. It is a vital organization in today’s world. It is about life or death, our relationship with each other, and the Earth we depend on. Hector wants to contribute to a choice that is about living and leaving a better tomorrow for all of us.
Vida Rivera Santos loves working with Frontline Farming. Foremost due to its mission that is about this: https://www.5280.com/how-frontline-farming-is-using-land-to-grow-food-and-heal-generational-trauma/
Why is generational healing so important to Vida? Vida's mother died due to depleted uranium poisoning that the US Navy created in its war exercises. They used some of the most beautiful beaches in the entire world located in Puerto Rico to experiment on before the invasions. Since Puerto Rico is an unincorporated US territory of the USA and has no voice or vote in congress or the senate in Washington DC it is a very easy target to pollute its land or beaches without any political consequences in the mainland Washington DC government.
Many Puerto Ricans protested the misuse and abuse of Puerto Rican land for war purposes. It created cancer in many Puerto Ricans residing in Vieques, Puerto Rico, and in the protesters as well. Vida's mother was a protester. And she got contaminated with the depleted uranium. Her mother wanted to protect the land of Puerto Rico for future generations of Puerto Ricans. She died of cancer directly related to the depleted uranium present in the little island of Vieques Iris Santos Rivera died in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma fighting for human rights in September 2007. Iris was awarded a United Nations Oklahoma Chapter Human Rights award in 2012 posthumously. Vida’s mother worked with Native American tribes to help save their language, and history and develop a curriculum that was relevant to their own history and people. Puerto Rico, Guam, and many Native American reservations along with American Samoa, US Virgin Islands, and others all are under the Department of the Interior and are either US possessions or unincorporated territories. And the United States government has ignored all the needs of the many Native communities in favor of corporations like Monsanto, and polluters like the US Navy in Vieques.