Nuevas Voces is a program and network that builds leadership and advocacy for environmental justice among the residents of riverfront neighborhoods near downtown Providence, RI with acute public health, stormwater, flooding, transportation, toxic exposure, and heat challenges. To address these challenges, Nuevas Voces centers resident aspirations and concerns in co-governance with municipal and state agencies, environmental coalitions, and other groups. Nuevas Voces leaders work to ensure that their most affected neighbors have the greatest say in community development, resource allocation, and emergency preparedness at all levels, including in WRWC’s work. Nuevas Voces participants are compensated financially for their participation and ongoing efforts, and provided with additional supports such as childcare, Chromebooks and hotspots.
Now in its third year, Nuevas Voces consists of a 10-month resident-to-resident training and empowerment program delivered in Spanish, monthly community gatherings featuring guest speakers, and placement and support in seats of advocacy and power. Participants now lead the program, sit on WRWC’s board, and are compensated through WRWC to also sit on municipal and state agency commissions, committees, and boards. Examples of key placements include:
Para obtener más información sobre nuestras Nuevas Voces, Campeones y otros programas comunitarios, comuníquese con Miosotis Alsina, Directora de Programas Comunitarios, en firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about our the Nuevas Voces, Campeones, and other community programs, please contact Miosotis Alsina, Community Programs Director, at email@example.com.
Nuevas Voces graduates Jenny Mercado and María José Gutierrez now co-facilitate Nuevas Voces’ third cohort, which began in April 2023. Recently, María José and Jenny shared their knowledge with the University of Chicago’s Institute for Mathematical and Statistical Innovation (IMSI), including a visit to IMSI in January. This collaboration will produce VECINA, a community- and data-driven tool to help residents get critical information and connections to decision-makers. VECINA will empower local leaders to advocate for their communities, particularly in the contexts of environmental and social justice. Residents can tell their stories to provide vital information to neighbors and to encourage investment. Past and present cohort members are excited by the prospect of creating videos in the languages most accessible to their neighbors and uploading them to the site, which will also feature curated data streams made accessible to the people who need them most through this impactful collaboration.
Reflecting on her experience with Nuevas Voces, Jenny noted, “Since I came to the United States from Nicaragua, my life has been about school, work, and family. I was not aware that my family and I are living in a flood zone. Now I understand about flooding and emergency preparedness, and I can help my community. I know how the system works now–there’s power out there. Now I understand it and can be a part of it.”
In this video, Dr. Carrie Diaz Eaton, Associate Professor of Digital and Computational Studies at Bates College, talks about collaborative work with Nuevas Voces and IMSI to develop VECINA. She reflects on the process of working with partners, how it influenced aspects of tool development, and key features of the process that led to its success.
Campeones de Combate Climático (Campeones) or Climate Champions is a group of resident leaders, all Spanish speaking graduates of WRWC’s Nuevas Voces program, ready to learn about and get involved with all nature-based climate resilience projects around the Olneyville neighborhood.
During their first gathering in March 2023, the Campeones group members learned about:
Campeones members are participating in a range of WRWC projects, including: