SAfER’s new homebase, Casa de la Unidad, opened its doors last Saturday, welcoming in activists both seasoned and green. Their motto? Respectful and relentless. Their work? Lives up to the name.
The parsonage building, property of the Ebbert Memorial Methodist Church, was built in 1916. Recently, the church agreed to provide operating space for two programs with Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC): Springfield Alliance for Equity and Respect (SAfER), and Citywide Union de Activistas, a group focused on Latinx youth leadership development. Together these two organizations will give office space to Escudo Latino alongside Carry it Forward, a local program serving the houseless.
SAfER and Citywide wanted to offer a space in Springfield that is both safe and welcoming for marginalized groups.
Casa de la Unidad will focus on youth engagement and education, especially for those who are experiencing difficulties due to racism or hate. The center will have office space for the two organizations for one-on-one meetings with teens and other community members.
Johanis Tadeo, Program Organizer for SAfER said that it was a historic moment for Springfield and thanked all those who made the center possible.
“This is a step in feeling safe, feeling heard. And a place that holds and brews change.” said Tadeo. He hopes that this center will offer families living in Springfield a step towards healing.
Tadeo ushered in community, classic tunes, and a whole lot of heart. “Thank you to all organizations who have made it possible to be able to have this house and collaboration with the city of Springfield. We work with three different institutions, the city, the city police and school district, making sure that families are being advocated for and so they have a group that is willing to be able to push for change. Thank you for being a part of this moment.”
Retiring County Commissioner Joe Berney personally honored three young women, Samatha Alcantar, Anahi Valladolid and Jandry Duran with just over 800 dollars in scholarship funds for their work in the community. The trio are involved in Citywide Unión de Activistas, a youth activist program for social justice, supported by SAfER.
“I’m here today to bring a small resource to help you further help yourselves, can you hear me guided not by hate and fear, which we see so frequently these days, but guided by love and unity. The most important people to empower, I believe, are our children. And it’s critical to support those who choose a path of personal growth and social change,” Berney said. “My hat’s off to the Springfield Alliance for Equity and Respect, and this community that’s evolved into city wide activists.”
Samatha Alcantar, who has mentored many students through the program said, “It has been such a reward seeing all of my youth grow into these accomplished young adults, and continuing their activist work beyond citywide and in their community and their college campuses. I will be forever grateful for all of the memories this program has given me.”
Tadeo was also honored at the event, for his work with Springfield youth, his efforts to repeal the ICE contract formerly held by the SPD and his community organizing.
“Johanis has a beautiful heart and a vibrant spirit that he brings to all aspects of his community service,” said Aloha Hart, an active SAfER member. “We celebrate the love and presence that you bring to Springfield. We love and appreciate you for being exactly who you are.”
Marion Malcolm was also honored for her tireless work in bringing SAfER and Casa de la Unidad to Springfield. Multiple speakers alluded to the motto, respectful but relentless, as summing her up perfectly. “Marian taught me that people can make change happen in our community, and we cannot give up organizing until it happens,” Jenny Potter said. “She taught me that we cannot ask communities to stand with us if we don’t support them.”