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East Salinas

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.


  • Alisal population approximately 59,000.
  • 57 percent of Salinas residents aged 5 years-old and up speak English less than “very well” compared to 17.4 percent for Monterey County and 14.4 percent in California.
  • 37 percent of lower-income residents report being in “fair” or “poor” health compared to only 5.2 percent of middle- and upper-income residents.
  • More than 17 percent of Salinas residents are living in overcrowded housing conditions compared to 8 percent in California.

Stay Connected

  • Join statement from CEOs of The California Endowment and Sierra Health Foundation: Today, communities across California are confronting the failed system of mass incarceration and pushing for a new vision that prioritizes care over cages. MILPA and its leaders have been long-time champions of this work, empowering incarcerated youth and formerly incarcerated people from marginalized and criminalized communities to become voices for social change.

  • Trustees of the Salinas City Elementary School District rejected school resource officers at schools following tense discussions at Monday's board meeting. In a 4-0 vote with one abstention, Salinas City Elementary became the third Salinas school district to oppose school resource officers (SROs) since August 2017.


Governing for Racial Equity: The East Salinas BHC and its partners are joining with the City of Salinas and County of Monterey to develop leadership capacity within government to prioritize policies and budgeting across all City Departments to realize health equity through a racial lens.

School-Parent Engagement in Student Success: Through the Schools Workgroup, organizers are developing the leadership capacity of parents to be leaders in their schools and empowering them with the tools needed to be an active participant in student success. This workgroup advocates for culturally-rooted restorative justice practices, healthy school meals, and after school programming.

Healing Informed Youth Development, Leadership & Organizing: The Youth Development, Leadership, and Organizing workgroup aims to reform school discipline and educate their peers on issues important to students.

Strong and Equitable Economic Development: Youth, adult residents, community based organizations, businesses, and the City of Salinas are joining together to support economic development grounded in a vision of prosperity for all Salinas Valley residents. The work includes Ciclovia Salinas, a youth led annual event, and the implementation of collaboratively create Economic Development Plan.

Juvenile Justice Equity Reform: BHC youth and parents are working together to advocate for equitable and healing informed practice in the juvenile justice system and to realize reform that will reduce the over-reliance of incarceration of youth in the Salinas Valley.