Letter from Our Founder 2023
We are extremely grateful for the support Americas for Conservation + the Arts (AFC+A) has received since 2008, helping us grow into the organization that we are today: One of the very few Latina founded and led organizations of its mission and size in the state of Colorado — and the country — fighting systemic racism in the conservation and creative workspaces, leveraging arts and culture for DEI gains. We do this through three award winning flagship programs :
The Promotores Verdes conservation corps (growing outdoor recreation led climate literacy and human-nature health connections) co leading the Tree Keepers 2022-2025 initiative with the City of Denver
The Americas Latino Eco Festival (movement building convening of bipoc conservation and creative leadership), now in its 13th edition.
Mandel Vilar Press (advancing diversity and conservation in the book economy), releasing its 50th this Spring 2023.
AFC+A’s programs address and lead solutions for BOTH of these breakdowns in equity and inclusion:
BIPOC citizens make up close 40% of the US population but only 8% of environmental organizations (Green 2.0 Report)
Less than 1% of what the average US citizen reads is from a book in translation vis a vis most of the social democracies of Europe which are reading above 33% in translation. Only 4% of what is being published in the United States is from a minority voice/writer (UNESCO Translation Index)
A healthy democracy cannot thrive when inequity of this magnitude prevails.
As we enter our 15th year, having received five awards for our environmental and cultural work as well as eighteen book awards for our press and its two recently acquired imprints (Moment Books & Fig Tree Books), we feel inspired to continue to safeguard this threatened and most fragile ecosystem of a diverse grassroots non-profit sector. I invite you to read this end of the year reflection of my own thirty years of striving for that place where we may all equally belong to, a place of reciprocity, of mutuality, and shared responsibility in the service of our common good. It’s deeply personal but I hope it can contribute to the kind of introspective and intimate understanding systems change desperately needs.
No matter the adversities, we will continue to elevate in particular the voices of BIPOC conservation and cultural promotores, fostering collaboration to better bridge inclusion gaps and assure those sitting at the decision-making table regarding the stewardship of our natural resources and cultural assets needed for advancing climate ready and resilient communities reflect equity and inclusion.
We at AFC+A wholeheartedly believe that advancing diversity is one the most important conservation strategies we can nurture.
Please, visit our Colorado Gives Day page and consider joining our efforts. Our work would not be possible without you.
Onward & with gratitude,
AFC+A Founder & ED
Green Leadership Trust Chair, Steering Committee
CREA Results CEO
AFC+A Co Director
AFC+A Education & Deputy Director
United Nations Association, Advocacy Chair, Sustainability Committee