Gov. Gavin Newsom has sought advice from the Santa Barbara City Fire Department’s bilingual outreach coordinator, Liliana Encinas, on how to embrace the state’s non-English speaking community into the California for All Initiative.
The California for All Initiative is a budget proposal that will authorize $13.6 billion in spending for, among other projects, “Emergency Readiness, Response and Recovery,” programs, according to the Office of the Governor website.
A city news release explained the proposal will leverage the”power of volunteerism while ensuring preparedness support and information to the ‘Whole Community.’ “
“This campaign is directed toward those experiencing social vulnerability factors including social isolation, poverty, language barriers, and other access and functional needs challenges,” reads the statement.
“It’s a campaign that Mr. Newsom did, but for disaster preparedness involving the whole community: vulnerable populations, low-income populations, non-English speaking population,” added Ms. Encinas during an interview on Wednesday.
She spoke with Mr. Newsom during a roundtable discussion at Univision headquarters in Sacramento on July 10.
Outreach to the Spanish-speaking population is a big part of the program, Ms. Encinas said, and Mr. Newsom is especially interested in the Listos program, an eight-week disaster preparedness program for Spanish speakers. Ms. Encinas is the executive program manager for Listos.
“Disaster preparedness can be overwhelming, and some people may be in survival mode,” she said, explaining that some families may prioritize their day-to-day expenses over investing in an emergency survival kit or other emergency resources.
“However, the Latino population has a very broad network of support. They have extended family, these natural support networks sometimes allow them to be better equipped to deal with disasters,” said Ms. Encinas.
Listos is designed to leverage those family bonds in its curriculum. The classes are also usually hosted by community leaders or church groups.
Ms. Encinas said there are 32 Listos programs in the state, including one in Santa Barbara. The state has awarded $2.2 million to the Fire Service Service Training Institute, a Santa Barbara County nonprofit, to expand Listos.
The hope is Listos graduates will continue their emergency preparedness education through programs like Community Emergency Response Team.
“He’s (Mr. Newsom) very interested in incorporating Listos into all the preparedness activities. He understands the importance of being a whole community because when disaster strikes it doesn’t matter what language you speak,” Ms. Encinas.