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Washtenaw United: Local Organization Provides Assistance To Immigrant Families During Pandemic

Maria Militizer
Maria Militzer

Mexiquenses en Michigan is a grassroots, community organization established in 2016.  It is integrated by vulnerable, immigrant families with limited access to decision-making, power, and resources.  The Washtenaw County-based group dreams of what can be accomplished not just for immigrant communities, but with their active participation in all phases of the decision-making that affect their health, educational, and community outcomes.  Organization president Maria Militzer shares this inspiring story with WEMU's David Fair on this week's "Washtenaw United."

WEMU has partnered with the United Way of Washtenaw Countyto explore the people, organizations, and institutions creating opportunity and equity in our area.  And, as part of this ongoing series, you’ll also hear from the people benefiting and growing from the investments being made in the areas of our community where there are gaps in available services.  It is a community voice.  It is 'Washtenaw United.'


Maria Militzer is the 2019-2021 Paul B. Cornely Scholar at the Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health, University of Michigan School of Public Health.  After migrating from Mexico, where she earned her B.S. degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Veracruz, Maria earned a M.A. in international trade and language (Spanish) from Eastern Michigan University.  She obtained her doctoral degree from the University of Michigan School of Public Health in 2019.  Built upon her experience as a Mexican immigrant and as a Spanish healthcare interpreter, María’s research addresses the influence of socioeconomic inequities on health outcomes of Latinx immigrants and their families in the United States.  Her dissertation research examined psychosocial, cultural, and environmental factors influencing physical activity patterns of pregnant women of Mexican origin in economically-deprived neighborhoods in Detroit, MI.  Currently, María’s research focuses on health outcomes of primarily Spanish-speaking immigrants with limited access to healthcare, educational, social, and legal services due to socioeconomic and immigration-related barriers in the US.


Mexiquenses en Michigan


Mexiquenses en Michigan started back in 2016 as a grassroots community organization composed of mainly Spanish-speaking immigrants from a small town located in central Mexico, who after settling in Washtenaw County, have enormously contributed to the economic growth, cultural and social fabric of Ypsilanti, Saline, Ann Arbor, and Canton.  Currently, Mexiquenses en Michigan has over 650 members, whose countries of origin include Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.  Since its origin, Mexiquenses en Michigan has been led by members of the Spanish-speaking immigrant community, who not only know what it means to live with socioeconomic, language, cultural and immigration-related barriers, but who have also gathered to empower and learn from each other, and seek solutions together. Mexiquenses en Michigan’s mission: To advance the wellbeing of Spanish-speaking immigrant families settled in Washtenaw County by empowering them.

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu

Contact David: dfair@emich.edu
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