1994 Jack Green Civil Liberties Award Honoree
The 1994 Jack Green Civil Liberties Award is being presented to Christina Briano, a tireless community organizer within the Hispanic Community who has helped give her community an increased voice in Sonoma County, promoted community awareness of their culture and history and has worked to remedy some of the abuses suffered by Hispanics.
Christina was born in Ecuador and came to San Francisco at age eight. She moved to Petaluma in 1969 and soon began work at the Santa Rosa Jr. College Tutorial Center where for ten years she trained tutors and helped in managing the program.
During 1979 – 1988 she worked as coordinator for the Mexican Village at the Sonoma County Fair, providing Latin American music on the Village Stage. Briano often fought with the Fair Board so the Village would not be eliminated from the fair as a cultural center. She was fired from her job after organizing a presentation by the Latino community before the Fair Board to preserve the village and picketers arrived.
In 1980, she co-founded Mujeres Unidas, a women’s political group to fight discrimination and poverty, create education forums and mentor program.
In 1982 – 1990 she worked as an investigator, paralegal and community worker for California Rural Legal Assistance, educating and assisting farmworkers in immigration, labor, and housing rights, where she became known as “la famosa Christina.” She worked statewide with CLRA in areas of educational needs of non-English speaking students and in the health risks of pesticides use to farmworkers.
Since 1982, she has presented workshops in schools and colleges on cultural understanding in the workplace, been a panel member on cultural diversity for Leadership Santa Rosa, and has appeared on television and radio shows on Hispanic issues.
In 1983-1984, Ms. Briano produced a weekly radio program SI Se Puede (“Yes We Can”) for farm workers on KBBF which explained to them their rights.
In 1984, she founded Hispanic Awareness Week, a week long celebration of Hispanic culture.
During 1987-1982, Christina published La Ventana, an award winning bilingual newspaper for the North Bay.
In 1989-1992, she helped develop and present Frutos y Raices (“Fruits & Roots”), workshops and classes teaching parents how to involve themselves in the school system and advocate for their children.
In 1991, she has worked with Organization Pro-Radio Publica, which organized and successfully sued KBBF to return “public radio to the public”.
Ms. Briano has served as a member of the KRCB TV board, Los Ninos Bien Educados Advisory Board (training people to teach parenting classes to Hispanic parents), SRJC Affirmative Action Committee and on the United Way Hispanic Advisory Committee.
On top of all of this, Christina was a founder and a performer in De Colores, a folkloric musical group, where she has performed professionally and recorded an album.