The mission of the Center is to advocate for those inalienable rights that are given to all people through the natural process of life so that the Maya may be able to spiritually live in peace. We take responsibility wherever possible to give voice to this hidden population in our county to ensure their safety with the following efforts:
In response to severe injuries incurred by a Mayan, who was the victim of a crime, at the hands of the Sheriff’s Office, the Center mobilized support and demanded justice for his suffering and to prevent future occurrences.
With the help of the Palm Beach Post, it was discovered the officer had a long list of excessive force incidents in his short time with the department. Through the assistance of local attorneys, the Center sent a letter to the Department of Justice asking for an investigation into the practices of the Sheriff’s Office and to enforce national standards based on Sir Robert Peel’s Nine Principles of Policing.
In response, there is now a three step partnership plan with the Sheriff’s Office and the community which include:
- Internal Procedures
The Sheriff’s Office is working to improve and enhance internal reporting procedures to provide greater accountability. Using DOJ studies and reports, [they] have put in stronger internal practices for [their] deputies to follow. These practices will provide greater transparency and safer procedures.
- Community Engagement
The Sheriff’s Office is in the process of launching regional Citizen Advisory meetings to better engage the community and have a stronger dialogue about local and regional issues. The goal of these meeting is to provide greater input from community leaders in all parts of the County about ways PBSO and the community can better partner to address issues that increase and lead to crime or ways to work together and enhance our community policing effort.
- Outside Review
The Sheriff’s Office has been in contact with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and we have welcomed them in to conduct a review of one particular case of interest. This will ensure that the Sheriff’s Office is complying with required practices and procedures. In addition, the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) has been requested to do a formal review of the Agency’s Internal Affairs policies and procedures.
*Source: PBSO media release 5_5_2015
The Center provides intake services for victims of wage theft and we will make referrals to attorneys with Florida Legal Services and Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach to recover lost wages and hold employers accountable whenever possible.
The Center has years of experience helping both women and men who find themselves victims of domestic violence and need support to understand options and concerns about how to navigate services when loved ones are in danger. We have a support group led by a volunteer therapist where women share their experience and hope as they build successful lives, often independently providing for themselves and their children. Many of these women continue to volunteer at our Center helping in our Boutique and at special events. Additionally, we can make referrals to pro bono attorneys to help determine if the victim may be eligible for a U-Visa to ensure greater stability and safety for the family.
Devastating news about a Guatemalan teen, Onesimo Marcelino Lopez-Ramos, who was brutally murdered by teenagers in Jupiter when out “Guat hunting” shocked our community, the county, and beyond as it even made national news. This terrible incident shed light on the great need for improved anti-bullying programs within our schools to better change the hearts of children to fight racism and prevent such hate crimes in future generations. The Center is a representative on the School District’s anti-bullying efforts and participates monthly on the District’s Diversity and Equity Committee.