The Roots of a Movement
InnerCity Struggle (ICS) began as a project of Proyecto Pastoral at Dolores Mission and launched as its own independent community organization in 1994. The founding Executive Director Maria Teixeira, led the organization forward based on a vision of building and promoting a safe, healthy and non-violent community in Boyle Heights by organizing and mobilizing community members to achieve that mission. As co-founder of InnerCity Struggle, Luis Sánchez launched the youth organizing component United Students and the parent organizing component Familias Unidas.
The conditions and needs that InnerCity Struggle worked to address 16 years ago included high unemployment and poverty rates and high levels of gang violence in the community. ICS organized youth and families, in particular mothers, around education, immigration, welfare policy reform and gang violence prevention. During the early years of ICS, the organization created projects such as the Roosevelt High School Peace Club, Mujeres Unidas, and Project Lean. These projects focused on working with youth and mothers to reduce violence and promote a healthy life style in the community. In 1998, The Violence Prevention Coalition awarded ICS with the Angel of Peace Award for their gang prevention and peace-building work in Boyle Heights.
¡Adelante! Moving Forward
The sustainability of InnerCity Struggle over the past 16 years is a testament to the effective and positive impact the organization has made on the communities of the Eastside. Since 1994, ICS has organized thousands of parents and students to demand education reform to improve life opportunities of the youth from East Los Angeles. ICS has developed hundreds of parents and students into leaders for the social justice movement to improve the quality of life for marginalized communities. Most importantly, InnerCity Struggle has encouraged thousands of people to re-imagine a different society based on equity and dignity for everyone.