Belonging Revolution: Casa De La Esperanza

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Casa De La Esperanza (Photo courtesy of Mike Butler and Dan Benavidez)

Public Safety Chief, Mike Butler and Dan Benavidez, a Longmont resident, began a movement, three years ago, designed to personally tell as many Longmont residents as possible that they belong in this community.

This week the duo were joined by Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty when they visited Casa De La Esperanza.

The following are the participant’s comments containing their thoughts on the experience.

Casa De La Esperanza (Photo courtesy of Mike Butler and Dan Benavidez)

Casa De La Esperanza 2-26-2019

With the fear and unsettlement especially for the past two years within our Latino communities about the increasing and unfortunately seemingly never ending and manufactured untruthful racial and ICE issues, I Thank you! Thank you! Longmont Chief of Public Safety Mike Butler and Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty for understanding about the affect this has had and continues to have on our Latino Communities and being here in the evening at Casa De La Esperanza (House of Hope) to assure our Latino neighbors and answer their questions and concerns that our Police and Judicial system are here to serve them and they need not be afraid of our Police or our Judicial system, as our Police and Boulder County Judicial system once again are here to serve them and all our citizens and that they do indeed belong here in Longmont, Boulder County!

And thank you so very much Vanessa Arritola for arranging (and interpreting) for this gathering and thank you Chief Butler for providing the Pizzas for all and out of your own pocket!

Thank you

Dan Benavidez

Casa De La Esperanza (Photo courtesy of Mike Butler and Dan Benavidez)

Mike Butler

Meeting with the Casa residents for the last several years has been a real delight! Always being welcomed into their midst and lives is uniquely special. The relationships we’ve formed over time have served to enhance the quality of life for the residents of Casa. They’ve told us they feel less fear in a day in age when immigrants are concerned about their immigration status. They often say they believe their voice feels more meaningful and that our message of belonging has been powerful for them and their children.

This last Tuesday night was no exception. We invited District Attorney Michael Dougherty to join us. Michael’s perspective as a District Attorney was appreciated as he spoke of his office’s support for immigrants and the DA’s undaunted focus on ensuring that any victimization they might experience was a high priority.

As a result of our conversation last Tuesday, Longmont Public Safety was able to address recent issues that the residents of Casa de la Esperanza we’re experiencing. Their primary concerns were about circumstances related to how homelessness was impacting their homes and their campus. Public safety was able to resolve their concerns the following day with action that helped the Casa residents feel safe and at the same time, assisted those who were homeless find alternative solutions to their issues.

While many people in our community might not be aware of all the benefits that the residents of Casa bring our community, Dan and I are reminded each and every time we meet with them that their gifts to our community are priceless. And their personal invitations to Dan and me to all their celebrations from graduations to Christmas has been a real joy for us. Casa de la Esperanza is a House of Hope for many!

Casa De La Esperanza (Photo courtesy of Mike Butler and Dan Benavidez)

Vanessa Arritola – Casa de la Esperanza Program Coordinator

 “On behalf of the Casa de la Esperanza community, we would like to thank Dan Benavidez for organizing such a wonderful event. We are very thankful for having chief Mike Butler and DA Michael Dougherty speaking to our community about inclusiveness, love for the immigrant community and sharing resources. We are also amazed by the immediate response to some safety concerns brought up by our residents. After the meeting, our residents felt a sense of relief and were very appreciative with the meeting. Thank you all for your generosity. Vanessa Arritola, Casa de la Esperanza Program Coordinator.”

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