Thoughts on reported Entrada progress, the National Governors Conference, and reflections on this Road Trip and the real work will be upon return trying to synthesize lessons learned and translate them to a NM context.
The National Governor’s Conference is Coming to Santa Fe, July 19-21. I know that many activists are working together to develop a game plan for using the Governor’s Conference as a platform for protest. I will report out on what evolves from this process as it unfolds. But for now, please keep the dates open. We will want to make sure that we take full advantage of the opportunity when Santa Fe has the national center stage.
Entrada “Progress” May Have a Ways to Go
Today’s Santa Fe New Mexican reports that progress is being made toward finding a less divisive community celebration than the current Entrada, which has fomented so much anger in activist and indigenous communities. Certainly repeating the same pasteurized version of history is not going to yield anything but continued anger and protest, so it is good that conversations are occurring. But the clock is ticking and from some quotes from the New Mexican, it appears that a satisfactory resolution may be some way off. From the New Mexican: “Baca-Gutierrez (representative of the Caballeros) was reluctant to be interviewed, echoing that Pecos (Cochiti Governor and designated spokesperson) was the spokesperson for the group. But he relented, saying the Caballeros’ ‘main concern’ is the safety of the community.
Asked why the group would continue to organize an event that leads to confrontations between protesters and the public and police, Baca-Gutierrez responded, ‘Because we were never doing anything wrong in the first place.’ That doesn’t sound like someone who ‘gets’ how offensive the current Entrada celebration is to indigenous people.
As another passage from the New Mexican makes clear, Baca-Gutierrez really doesn’t seem to get it. He stated that people have different perceptions of the Entrada, which, to the Caballeros, represents a moment of peace between Native Americans and European colonists. He apparently misses the entire point. It doesn’t matter what the Entrada means to Caballeros that interpretation of history overlooks the evisceration of indigenous people and culture. You can’t just take one coerced, but relatively peaceful moment in history and extract it from an entirely brutal historical context and then wonder why others can’t be happy with celebrating that one moment, as if it told anything like the whole story.
Baca-Gutierrez said the Caballeros still hope to put on an event on the Plaza. But what that event will look like is still up in the air.
“We want to do something that we can all be included, that all of us would be included — not that we haven’t been in the past, but what can we do to make it more inclusive, to make it more inclusive to those who want to participate?” he said. Again, Baca-Guitierrez misses the point. While I am not the one to speak for indigenous people, I am guessing that those critical of the Entrada don’t want to be included; they want either no event or one that authentically captures what really happened.
Click, click, click. the clock is ticking.
Translating Best Practices Observed Elsewhere Into Relevant Local / State Practice
Our Look, Listen, & Learn Road Trip is a search for solutions to the challenge of achieving equity in Santa Fe and in New Mexico. We are learning much and in our last two blogs, we shared what we have found in Buffalo, NY. I suspect we will find many more innovative strategies that could inform the pursuit of equity in our home town and state. But Santa Fe and New Mexico are not Buffalo and translating the successes of Buffalo and other communities to a NM context can’t be done by two privileged folks touring the US. But if this trip is to have any meaning, it will be important for key stakeholders in our community and our government to consider what we have learned and to work together to find ways to translate these lessons learned to our unique cultural, political, environmental and economic context.
So while figuring out the bridges between what we are learning and what we might be able to do in NM must wait for now, examining why the effort is important, can begin now. I reached out to some of our allies for advice as to how that might happen, thinking that perhaps the People’s Platform, developed by Retake in consultation with many local and state stakeholders might be a way to educate our community and prepare it for investing time, energy, money and other resources in seeking equity. They correctly and politely pointed out that the platform of 20 progressive policies was developed 12 months ago and that with the passage of time, some of those policies needed revision or even to be removed in favor of more pressing needs. What is needed is what we actually found in Buffalo, a People’s Platform more predicated on timeless principles, something that could be genuinely embraced by multiple progressive, grassroots stakeholders, something that would require time and face-to-face conversation to create.
In considering what that might look like, I found something on Chainbreaker’s website, something that is not so much a principled description of what we want, as something that expresses the need for a new path. From Chainbreaker:
Equity is about justice and righting historical wrongs. It’s about bringing resources to areas and people where need is greatest. It’s about developing our city in ways that truly reflect our progressive values. Residents in areas with historic disinvestment are most vulnerable to displacement, which locks people into a cycle of poverty and segregation. What does that look like?
- Santa Fe’s home prices rose 65% & rents went up 25% in recent years.
- Nearly 1/3 of Santa Feans spend HALF of their income on housing.
- Almost 2/3 of people who work in Santa Fe can’t afford to live here.
- Transportation costs consume up to 1/3 of a working family’s income.
- Car dependency keeps people poor. Lack of public transit leads to car dependency.
- These dynamics disproportionately hurt people of color.
“Population shifts in cities don’t happen by accident. A city’s choices on where to put infrastructure, transit, affordable housing and other resources significantly influence shifts in population, which can occur unequally across income, race, age and other demographic characteristics.” –Equitable Development and Risk of Displacement Report
This is why there is work to be done. Hopefully some of what Roxanne and I learn on the road can prove relevant to finding a progressive path forward.
Paul & Roxanne