NCN staff have been busy traveling across the country representing NCN at conferences and convenings. Mario Ozuna-Sanchez & Ozvaldo “Ozzie” Cruz traveled to Boston and Baltimore to inform practitioners who seek to include young men in prevention and intervention efforts. Maestro Jerry Tello and Juan Gomez informed foundations and systems leaders on the benefits of using asset-based culturally responsive approaches will enhance the outcomes they seek to achieve in communities in Colorado. Maestro Samuelin Martinez and Baba Arnold Perkins (Brotherhood of Elders) attended the statewide Boys & Men of Color Camp held in the California Sierras to reflect our shared mission to make sure our boys and young men see themselves as blessings to all of us and remind them that we will walk with them in their journey towards manhood. Finally, I traveled to Washington DC to attended the national convening hosted by the National Institute of Health to better understand the involvement of fathers during pregnancy and first year of their child’s life and continue to serve on the Positive Youth Justice Initiative that will illuminate the many ways that California’s systems and resources can be deployed to achieve better life outcomes than the investments in incarceration have given the constituents of the state.
Maestro José E. Montoya was man who reminded me that the greetings and social graces that my family taught, that were rooted in our Mexican traditions, had a place in this country, our country, too. His contribution to NCN as a board member was central to making sure that the organization worked in service to the community. His unrelenting advocacy for young men, adult men and families that were pushed to the margins of society has been a driving force of our work. His presence in the Círculo helped center work that each man must endeavor to do so that his children, family, and community benefit.
Mstro. José Montoya’s teachings are overwhelming to capture in this short note. He reflected what a man that worked in service to others looked like, his time with El Círculo often came at the expense of his family, and he taught us to sit humbly so that we could learn from each other while honoring the four cardinal directions representing the children, women, elders and ancestors, and men all living on . His music, art, and prose, were modern day examples of Chicano Flor y Canto. He created the NCN’s noble challenge to push the movement forward for the benefit of others. The efforts of our success are built on the foundation Maestro José Montoya helped create and build.
Buenos días le de Dios y Dios se lo pague.
(May God grant you good days & May God repay you)
Con respeto siempre y gratitud,
National Compadres Network