Angela Reyes was born on October 2,1954 and has lived and served in the community of Southwest Detroit ever since. Throughout her time from elementary to high school, Angela recounts coming face-to-face with prejudicial attitudes from classmates and teachers, experiences that forever marked her own developing, personal identity as a Mexican woman with indigenous roots.
With a natural inclination towards community building and healing, Angela initially began formalizing her multifaceted approach to community care through the Chicano Boricua Studies (CBS) program at Wayne State University. As a member of the pioneering class of CBS, Reyes attributes her time in the program and the tandem student group, El Colectivo, as the space that taught her that the insight of her ideas—ideas of racial justice and community equity—were not only valid, but also potentially transformative.
Angela drew on her deep rooted sense of belonging to Southwest Detroit as well as a big picture view of community relations in her work with at-risk Latinx populations through Latino Outreach, a non-profit agency now known as Latino Family Services (LFS) in the 1970s. After over a decade of work at LFS, Angela, built on her experience with the nuances of non-profit work in Southwest Detroit to found the Detroit Hispanic Development Cooperation (DHDC) in 1998.
While its early years were humble, the DHDC has evolved from a small collective of people working out Angela’s living room to a historic, award winning resource center whose mission has remained centered around the lived experiences of at-risk Latinx youth.
Today, DHDC is still directed by the tireless and brilliant efforts of Reyes and her family. Angela’s now adult children, along with other “graduates” of DHDC services, remain faithful to the work of the organization and have carved out roles for themselves working alongside Angela’s direction to continue their mission—a truly inspiring “full circle” of community justice and accountability. Since its inception, Angela Reyes and DHDC have continued to expand their resources for Latinxs across Southwest Detroit; DHDC offers after school and summer programs for the youth, English as a Second Language courses, GED Classes, HIV and AIDS prevention and outreach programs, FIRST robotics programs, scholarship opportunities, housing counseling, parenting classes, tattoo removal services, community organizing liaisons, gang retirement programs, and much more.
For more information about DHDC, click here to visit their official website.