Sisters of Color United for Education (SOCUE) is Colorado’s first and oldest oldest Promotora program. Founded in 1989, SOCUE’s holistic health education utilizes an original, culturally responsive curriculum of Mind, Body and Spirit to address intergenerational cycles of health disparities rooted in historical trauma. Since our humble beginnings, we have been educating Women, Men, and Nonbinary individuals of all backgrounds to have a clear understanding of holistic health and the vital connection with our ancestral links. Everybody has ancestors that once lived as natural humans and developed social/political systems that cultivated a balance with mother nature and with one another.
People all have individual experiences but only together do we actually experience the human condition. We are social beings so much that isolation is a detrimental form of abuse. Promotor@s help to break the cycles of abuse that we have become accustomed to. Our Promotor@ education model has developed organically and even tailored to adapt to specific populations or social circles.
Collective goals are emphasized and a realistic review of family systems is an important step to seeing people combine their efforts and achieve goals. The process includes a cleansing of our personal trauma and Harm Reduction is the principal method that our programs are designed around. Being without judgment or expectations for those who become involved. Reducing harm is not always the same for everybody because different people have varying levels of comfort, pleasure or ambition.
What We Do
Sisters of Color United for Education (SOCUE) provides the oldest Promotor@ training program in Colorado and our organization is widely recognized for our expertise in providing and delivering culturally grounded, relevant programming to hard-to-reach, at-risk populations. We train the next generation of community leaders that break economic, cultural, health and social barriers.
We’ve trained Promotoras throughout Colorado, (both the Denver Metro area, and rural CO) in Xela Guatemala and Nairobi Kenya. Our person-centered approach embraces individuals and families to facilitate the co-creation of holistic health. HEAL Denver Promotoras provide a strengths-based approach to reinforce protective factors for at-risk families and communities through a cooperative/collectivist approach.
Health, Education, Art, and Leadership. (H.E.A.L.) lead to measurable growth in community wellness.
Health, Education, Art and Leadership is created in a safe space and encourages collective achievement goals, strong community networks, bilingualism, and multiculturalism. Our Promotora program employs a holistic prevention and intervention model, developed by and for members of disenfranchised communities with special consideration given to mitigating barriers related to race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, low socioeconomic status, language and culture, barriers often overlooked by mainstream organizations.
The fabric of the collaborative is built on intentional, efficient cooperation and coordination within disenfranchised communities. By shedding light onto these shadows of historical and cultural trauma in the safety of a confidential group, SOCUE assists in transformation of participants’ sense of self: restoring an honoring identification with ancestry, rekindling a lost cultural dignity, and generating deeper understanding of how current conditions have become what they are.
Education is a cornerstone to our approach to support individual and family health through empowering each individual to create a culture of wellness. Educational workshops and group classes providea community setting where the shared experience of transformation is celebrated in a safe space for growth and healing.
SOCUE believes that art is the highest form of expression that the human being is capable of. Our ancestors in Mexico used the term TOLTECAYOTL, which is the essence of artistry. One way to translate it would be ‘The art of living in harmonious beauty’. For millennia people have developed language and symbols to communicate to each other the thoughts and feelings they experience. Art in its various forms – Music, dance, poetry, visual and imaginary mediums have given us the means to share our human experiences with others in a deeper and more meaningful way.
Once trained, Promotor/a(s) then apply their knowledge and skills on behalf of the underserved in their own communities and neighborhoods. Building capacity of leaders to become advocates to address health, economic, cultural, and social barriers.
All these factors contribute to wholeness, and from this new self-worth comes self efficacy and the ability to embrace change. Participants are now better able to make healthier lifestyle choices for themselves, and to assume more responsibility for their community; they are empowered to access support services through community activism, advocacy, information exchange, and community wellness referrals.
Adrienna Corrales Lujan, CAC III. | Executive Director
Adrienna is a Promotora and Executive Director of SOCUE. For over 20 years, she has been involved in community education, awareness and mobilization around culture, health disparities, human rights, food, media justice, HIV/AIDS and art as social justice. She has created multiple Art in Motion cultural wellness fairs that have provided healthcare, basic needs services, community education, on- site HIV and STI screenings, and cultural arts for over 10,000 participants. As the lead trainer for SOCUE, Adrienna has developed multiple holistic bilingual curriculums, being used by community health workers in Colorado, Kenya, Mexico and Guatemala.
Belem Gonzalez | Education Program Director
Belem first became involved with SOCUE as a participant and volunteering for five years and has since been a full time promotora de Salud for Sisters of Color United For Education for eighteen years, using her education and experience as a social worker in Torreon, Coahuila Mexico. In addition to providing crucial support services to SISTERS, Belem has consistently trained in health issues ultimately becoming an expert in the following trainings and subjects: Mind, Body and Spirit, La Vida Balanceada, Leadership Curriculum, Harm Reduction, Case management, Patient navigator, Helping children coming from addicted families, Diabetes , Hepatitis C , HIV, and HIV/Hepatitis/ STI Testing, Practitioner in Body Talk and Body Intuitive .
Valeria Burciaga | Program Manager
Valeria Burciaga has worked as the Program Manager for Sisters of Color for a little over a year and prior to that served as the Bilingual Head Case Manager for the Ryan White program for over 5 years. Experience and training under the BodyIntuitive Practitioner Training, BodyTalk Fundamentals 1 & 2, and B.S. in Psychology with a focus on cognitive and behavioral neuroscience, has helped bring together the traditional and alternative methods of healing while also catering to the specific needs of the diverse populations served at Sisters of Color.