Meet the people building peace in the Alisal

Community Alliance for Safety and Peace (CASP) Director Jose Arreola
CASP Director Jose Arreola

From The Salinas CalifornianLike well-made carnitas, safety in Alisal is a complex amalgamation.

Despite his Peninsula origins, U.S. Rep. Sam Farr may have said it best: Poverty begets struggle, struggle begets desperation, desperation begets violence. And in Alisal there’s no lack of poverty.

Many will even say poverty is the root of violence not only in Alisal, but in similar communities nationwide. After all, Alisal isn’t the only disenfranchised community in the country.

But even as story upon story piles up outlining the homicides in Alisal, hope arises.

There’s hope in programs like Baktun 12, a band of Salinas residents telling Alisal’s story through youth engagement and music, and the Alisal Center for the Fine Arts, which gives children and teenagers a safe outlet for creative energy.

The Breadbox Recreation Center features dances, bands and basketball tournaments, and Cesar Chavez Library has been recently and loudly lauded for its numerous youth programs. Youth Orchestra Salinas still works with children at Jesse G. Sanchez Elementary School on North Sanborn Road.

And all that’s without mentioning the service providers.

Combating the stigma

Alisal isn’t a war zone. Bullets aren’t flying. Latinos aren’t killed in droves.

But that’s Alisal’s reputation, Jose Arreola [pictured] acknowledges. Arreola took over directorship of the Community Alliance for Safety and Peace last year after departing director Georgina Mendoza accepted a job in Washington D.C.

Community Alliance for Safety and Peace, or more colloquially CASP, was formed five years ago as a bridge organization among police, education, government, health and social service providers. At-risk youth form CASP’s target clientele with currently 20 clients, reaching 123 people. Earlier this month, four families were in the queue for enrollment...

Read more at The Salinas Californian.

News Item Publication Date: 
Friday, November 14, 2014