New Maple Community Center Breathes New Life

They tried to bury us.
They didn’t know we were seeds.

By Nancy Xiong, HIP Organizer

Early this month, HIP joined La Familia Counseling Center for the 10th Anniversary of the Sacramento Hispanic/Latino Parade. On a street more known for its traffic, seeing families and children lined up along Franklin Boulevard was a welcomed change. This parade celebrated Sacramento’s deep-rooted Latino heritage and the stubborn resiliency of our South Sacramento community. 

Before the Sacramento City Unified School Board voted to close Maple Elementary and 6 other neighborhood schools in a controversial 4-3 decision, the vibrant campus was full of colorful laughter and supported by passionate parents. For those families, Maple was more than just a school. It was a place where they felt they belonged. It was a place they took ownership of because it represented hope for a better future. I thought to myself during the final tour of Maple Elementary, 'is this really it?' I felt frustrated because this community had endured so much and instead of celebrating Maple's tremendous parent involvement, the District shut the door on this incredible community. I wondered, what can we do to transform this space so that it will continue to meet the needs of our South Sacramento community? 

For two years, this campus sat completely vacant until this past July when La Familia signed a lease to officially take over Maple Elementary.  Maple Elementary is now re-opened as the Maple Neighborhood Center where it will serve as La Familia’s headquarters and resource hub for families.

Our community deserves a place to gather, grow and prosper. As a Mexican proverb states, "They tried to bury us. They didn't know we were seeds."