This year, Carnaval marked 40 years of celebration in the Mission District of San Francisco. In addition to being a celebration of Latin and Caribbean culture, the festival centered the lives and health of our Latin community by hosting a Health and Wellness Pavilion offering a variety of health information and resources.
For the third year in a row, Latino Programs, a program of San Francisco AIDS Foundation attended, providing information about sexual health and prevention.
In addition, the team spoke with Carnaval attendees about other health and wellness topics, including emergency preparedness, immigration concerns, and more.
“We brought the Health and Wellness Pavilion back to Carnaval four years ago, after realizing that we needed to do more to reach Latinos in places where people live and hang out,” said Eduardo Siqueiros, case manager for Latino Programs, a program of San Francisco AIDS Foundation.
Siqueiros and Jorge Zepeda, program manager of Latino Programs, along with other community service providers planned ways to bring culturally appropriate resources to the community—and create an entry-point for social and health services.
These days, they say many Latinx community members first and foremost worry about issues related to immigration status and deportation. In addition to providing people with information about health and wellness, the Latino Programs team arms people with practical tools and information they can use.
“Knowing your rights is a big part of immigration concerns,” said Siqueiros. “People need to know what you should do if you’re confronted by a police officer. Or what to do if you or a member of your family gets detained. We give people information and also work with legal aid organizations that do trainings so that they can be prepared.”
Overall, Siqueiros said he loves the opportunity for unity that Carnaval brings to the community.
“Bringing these services and information to people we might not otherwise see, it’s such a great way to create awareness and unity. We have all of these rich cultures that are brought together by events like this—it’s an exciting way to continue working towards better health.”
Latino Programs at San Francisco AIDS Foundation provides comprehensive support, weekly gatherings with food, and access to health services for Latinos and Latinas in the San Francisco Bay Area regardless of immigration status. Find more information about Latino Programs and how to join.
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