East Salinas (also known as Alisal, Spanish for grove of sycamores) Building Healthy Communities is a community of residents and community-based organizations that are working to support community engagement and leadership for a healthy, safe, and thriving East Salinas and the wider Salinas Valley. Alisal is a diverse community with a rich history shaped by migration and the search for opportunity.
The agricultural industry’s continued need for labor made the Salinas Valley an immigration magnet for much of the 20th century, creating a diverse population of 32 distinct ethnic groups, including Dust Bowl refugees, Filipino field laborers, Japanese flower growers, Chinese and Korean merchants, Italians and Portuguese lured by the nearby Monterey Bay’s rich fishing, and East Coast refugees pursuing their dreams and their freedom in the Golden State—many of them settling in the Alisal.
The migration of different peoples brought a rich diversity to Monterey County and to the Alisal. Poverty and a lack of investment in important public systems that can level the playing field are contributing to the health inequities that continue to manifest today. East Salinas BHC and its partners are working together to lift up Alisal’s assets and build a healthier community for all.