Director of Centro del Pueblo Speaks on Vandalism

The signpost at the Sanctuary Garden in Arcata detached from fence. Picture Courtesy from Brenda Perez.

Centro del Pueblo, a local non-profit, is dedicated to providing resources, awareness, and safe spaces for Latinx families and Indigenous Peoples of the south, here in Northern California. 

Their sanctuary garden, located in Arcata is one of their safe spaces that welcomes Latinx families as well as any community members to learn more about food sovereignty.

“The sanctuary garden is a multigenerational space where we are bringing in families to share the traditional knowledge of how to take care of mother earth and how to grow our own food,” Director of Centro del Pueblo, Brenda Perez said. “Families participate and exchange food from all over the south of America; so, we have potatoes from Peru, or we have cilantro and chilis from Mexico […] the sanctuary garden is a space for us to feel free to take care of our mental health, to take care of our food and nutrition, to speak in our own languages.”

Although 2021 was a great year for the organization, 2022 involved many hateful emails and acts of vandalism to the garden, with Dec. 27th being the fifth occurrence of vandalism.

“2022 started to change all of a sudden, we have some emails or some comments on our social media that were strangely racist, and I mean more often,” Perez said. “We always have had contact with this type of tension, but it started scaling in 2002[…]It is constantly a reminder of ‘you are not welcome here,’” Perez said.

Centro del Pueblo is standing strong, with support from community members, volunteers, and other organizations the non-profit is hoping to create a culture of peace and non-violence.

“Our message, as I stand before, is for hate, there is love and the arts and all that is built in this place,” Perez said. “We are here to thrive, we are here to stay, and we are going to keep going no matter what.”

The Sanctuary Garden will reopen next week on the 14th of January. 

For more info or to volunteer visit: