Mission, Purpose, History
The mission of the National Compadres Network is to strengthen and re-root the capacity of individuals, families, and communities to honor, rebalance, and redevelop the authentic identity, values, traditions, and indigenous practices of Chicano, Latino, Native, Raza, and other communities of color as the path to the honoring of all their relations and lifelong well-being.
The National Compadres Network believes re-rooting the generational extended kinship Compadre and Comadre network will have an impact on reducing the incidence of substance abuse, domestic violence, child abuse, teen pregnancy, gang violence, heterosexism, racial inequity, and other individual, family, community, and societal issues.
Since 1988, NCN has been a national voice for racial equity, racial healing, training, technical assistance, system change and culture infused efforts to create change that is transformational. It brings together culturally-rooted, nationally recognized leaders in the fields of health, trauma, healing, education, fatherhood, rites of passage, family violence, teen pregnancy prevention, cultural competence, juvenile justice, social services, advocacy, racial equity, and evidence-based research and evaluation. It works with community leaders and decision makers to create strategic, sustainable systems of change, and provides support in the areas of transformational trauma and healing-informed services, capacity-building and training, technical assistance, collective impact building, research, leadership development, and resource and material development. NCN provides technical expertise to system leaders who are looking for tangible ways to move from understanding and quantifying trauma and converting that knowledge to a pathway towards healing.
El Círculo, Círculo de Hombres/Men’s Retreats: In November of 1988, a group of Chicano, Latino, Native and Raza men gathered for three days in Jolon, California in a Circulo de Amistad y Hermanidad (Circle of Friendship and Brotherhood). The men gathered with the initial intent of addressing the many issues that faced themselves, their families and communities but also with the intent of clarifying their roles and responsibilities as men and to individually and collectively search for a way to rebalance the harmful experiences they sometimes brought to themselves, the women in their lives, the children, families and communities. Through discussion, laughter, ceremony and reflection, generations of feelings and spiritual energy were exchanged. The men present realized that the first step towards healing their relations, families and communities started with them making a commitment to heal themselves and to commit to the journey of living as Hombres Nobles (Honorable Men)*.
These men reignited that ceremonial fire that has warmed and re-rooted thousands of men who have come together yearly since that initial gathering.
Over two thousand men; grandfathers, fathers, sons and grandsons have attended the yearly Hombres Retiros in Jolon, and from this commitment came the “Circulos de Hombres” (Men’s Circle Network) movement. Many participants from these gatherings have taken the teachings from the Círculos to their own communities across the country. Presently, círculos exist in over 50-cities across the nation and reach thousands of men and boys in a manner that allows them to nurture their positive purpose through connecting with other men and boys in their home towns.
Several founding “Círculo” members launched the National Compadres Network as a formal not-for-profit organization (501c3). NCN now serves as a vehicle to promote the lessons learned from gatherings and círculos, and to support and assist interested communities and organizations in filling an enormous gap in culturally competent services to men, women, youth, their families and communities of color as a whole. NCN also sponsors conferences at the local and national level, and promotes national campaigns to address a multitude of issues.
Finally, NCN works with recognized leaders in many social service fields who provide on-going consultation and technical assistance at the local and national level. These experts train service providers in a number of culturally centered curriculums addressing a variety of issues including; family violence, gang violence, teen pregnancy prevention, teen fatherhood, Indigenous, Chicano, Latino Male Youth Rites of Passage, fatherhood literacy, fatherhood parenting and others.
Comadres Network: Women and Girls
Since 2010, NCN has supported indigenous-based rites of passage for girls and has supported the development of a national network of culturally-based rites of passage circle keepers. Since 2013, NCN has worked collaboratively with women’s organizations and has co-founded organizations that addressed issues that faced girls and women. NCN has worked with organizations that address family violence, reproductive health, gender equity, women’s rites of passage to raise awareness and move effective strategies to reduce and break cycles of line oppression and lift up the wisdom and leadership of the female nation. In 2014, a group of nationally recognized Chicana, Latina, Indigenous women leaders gathered to establish the Comadres Network. The Comadres Network formally gathered in 2014 and has initiated a long-term commitment to women and girls.
In November 2018, NCN established the Women and Girls Intergenerational Working Group. This advisory team initially began with 10 partner organizations from California, Texas, Colorado, Michigan, and Maryland and 22 members with intergenerational representation of elders, youth, and adults. The team was assembled to provide a better understanding of the direction of NCN’s women and girls work, identify the resources needed to make substantial change within their communities, and to advance a vision for healing-informed leadership and movimiento of girls and women of color.
In 2020, NCN developed Girasol and Ameyalli projects and training curricula. The Girasol training is designed to support educational institutions and community-based organizations goal to develop and implement a culturally based, trauma informed, healing based program for adolescent young women. Ameyalli focuses on acknowledging and validating the sacred wisdom of womanhood as the basis for women’s health and the fulfillment of one’s sacred purpose through healing informed traditions addressing historical trauma, inequity and injustices.