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CBDIO Celebrates 30 Years!

Building Indigenous power in California: Centro Binacional para el Desarrollo Indigena Oaxaqueño’s 30th year anniversary celebrations

Fresno, California - January 23, 2024. 30 years ago, Indigenous Mixteco farmworkers, through the work of our political binational grassroots sister organization, Frente Indígena de Organizaciones Binacionales (FIOB), saw the need to provide support to Mexican Indigenous people in California. This need was identified due to racist practices and abuses in the workplace and a health system that failed to offer aid and protections to the community—giving birth to Centro Binacional para el Desarrollo Indígena Oaxaqueño (CBDIO), the first Indigenous-led nonprofit organization in the state to serve the multiethnic and multilingual Indigenous population in the state. 

Photo by CBDIO Staff

Over the years, we have successfully pioneered training for service providers to learn more about the linguistic and cultural diversity of  Indigenous communities from Mexico. We have trained bilingual and trilingual interpreters, won inclusive policies around health and education, and have engaged community members in city and state decision-making efforts. These activities have resulted in historic wins, such as obtaining the right to driver’s licenses for our undocumented community and the ongoing successes of the Health4All campaign to expand access to Medi-Cal regardless of immigration status. Additionally, we continue to challenge the hurtful narrative that all Latinos are a monolithic group, which erases our existence.  

On December 1, 2023, as part of our 30-year anniversary, we hosted our Fiesta del Pueblo (Community Celebration) in Fresno, California. At this event, we celebrated with over 500 Indigenous leaders and allies at the Fresno Fair Grounds. This Fiesta del Pueblo took us back to our homelands as we shared our music and culture that night. On January 11, 2024, we hosted our first large-scale celebratory event in Monterey County in Salinas, California. Over 150 community partners and allies came together to celebrate our work and contributions in the region. It was a colorful and vibrant event demonstrating our 30-year commitment to serving the diverse Indigenous population in the state.

Photo by CBDIO Staff

In both celebrations, we played our first-ever short mini-documentary produced by the Emmy-nominated videographers, Dignicraft Film & Art LLC. This film is special as it captures the history of the organization and serves as a roadmap for the work ahead. You can now watch the short film here.

In our 30th anniversary celebrations, we also had the opportunity to recognize the people who have contributed to the success of the organization. In the Fresno celebration, we recognized the Indigenous leaders who have been part of our programs and campaigns. Many have woken up at 3 am to go to Sacramento to share their testimony and educate their state representatives on Indigenous people’s needs in the workplace and the community. For this reason, we honored two Mixteco leaders, Dr. Gaspar Rivera-Salgado and Hugo Morales. Dr. Rivera Salgado, project director at the UCLA Labor Center, director of the Center for Mexican Studies, and core faculty member in the UCLA Labor Studies program, is a co-founder and a board member of CBDIO. Mr. Morales is the executive director and co-founder of Radio Bilingüe Inc., the national Latino radio network founded in 1976. Mr. Morales has been a long-term partner and friend of CBDIO. We also recognized the California Endowment for their support and commitment to the organization. The California Endowment gave CBDIO its first grant that allowed the organization to hire staff and support its development and infrastructure. Since then, the California Endowment has been a partner and champion in advancing health equity for the Indigenous communities in California.

Photo by CBDIO Staff

In our Monterey celebration, we recognized two Indigenous leaders who brought CBDIO to the region, Eulogio Donato and Andres Cruz. Mr. Donato is a Mixteco leader, labor organizer, and a former CBDIO board member. Mr. Cruz is a Triqui leader, organizer, and volunteer with Radio Bilingue’s Triqui programming. In early 2000, Mr. Donato and Mr. Cruz organized the community and supported the establishment of CBDIO in Greenfield. We also recognized a long-term funding partner, First 5 Monterey County. 

In 2005, First 5 provided CBDIO with a grant that allowed the organization to hire staff and start serving Indigenous children and their families in South Monterey County. Since then, First 5 Monterey County has continued a strong relationship with CBDIO working together to strengthen the voice and power of Indigenous communities in Monterey County. 

Photo by CBDIO Staff

CBDIO is ready for the next decade of work. We are now a team of almost 50 staff members representing multiethnic and multilingual communities in California, speaking 13 unique Indigenous languages. With this diversity, we reaffirm our commitment to our self-determination, liberty, and justice. Together, we are continuing to build Indigenous power in the state!

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