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It all started when a bilingual advocate for Crisis Intervention & Advocacy Center in Adel reached out to a Latino radio station for an advertisement spot. The station eventually offered the Adel victim service agency a more permanent spot where they could talk about work and issues related to sexual violence, domestic abuse, and how it intersects with the Latino community.
Latino advocates from Polk County Crisis & Advocacy Services and the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault—both based in Des Moines—were brought in to help the Adel program with content. Now the three agencies have developed not only a partnership, but their own exclusive radio show. The first show aired in the fall of 2018, and continues to pick up new listeners. La Reina, a premier radio station for the Latino community in Iowa, broadcasts the program to thousands of listeners across central Iowa. The popular station frequently plays at factories, restaurants, and places of employment for Latino workers.
The half-hour segment, which can be described as a “radio soap opera,” focuses on a different issue every other week that directly impacts Latinos. They’ve talked about sexual harassment in the workplace, male survivors of domestic violence, self-harm, PTSD and generational trauma, immigration, and more. Each show implements a moral to the story so listeners can walk away feeling like they learned something. Advocates from Crisis Intervention & Advocacy Center, Polk County Crisis & Advocacy Services, and the coalition host the show, called “Entre Amigas” (“Between Friends”) and it airs entirely in Spanish.
When people think of victim services, it can seem really intimidating and out of reach, says Polk County Crisis & Advocacy Services. The radio show allows the Latino community a non-traditional way to connect with victim service program and makes services feel more accessible to survivors. It’s become a passion project for the three agencies, and a way to integrate co-advocacy into victim services in a meaningful way. Co-advocacy refers to a collaboration of different agencies working together to improve services, resources, and support for survivors.
“We wanted something from the community for the community,” says Elizabeth Balcarcel, the Latino Services Specialist for the coalition. She says she sees her job as a platform to help programs like Crisis Intervention & Advocacy Center and Polk County Crisis & Advocacy Services to get connected with one another. The coalition provides them the space to work together to create better, more inclusive services that she hopes will “empower people to request the services that they deserve.”
“Entre Amigas” airs the 2nd and 4th Monday of every month from 10-10:30am on La Reina radio station, 96.5FM or 1260AM. We hope you’ll tune in to listen!