As one of the coordinators of One Billion Rising Revolution, I have been part of the largest global movement to end violence against women and girls. I also live in New Mexico, where the first American Revolution took place in 1680 when the Pueblo Native people drove out the Spanish conquistadors. In this State, where many cultures including Native American, Hispanic, Anglo, Asian and African-American converge, we as a community fail to acknowledge the organization and leadership skills of the Pueblo people. Instead we celebrate a hyper-masculine machismo conquistador, which contributes to homophobia, sexism and multiple forms of violence. It is my goal to add multiplicity to this community celebration.
In 1692, Spanish conquistador, Don Diego de Vargas is credited with the “peaceful reconquest” of the Pueblo Native people. Every year during the city of Santa Fe’s annual celebration, Fiesta de Santa Fe, there is a re-enactment of the reconquest in our city square. This year a group of local activists gathered for weeks prior to the Fiesta de Santa Fe to plan a peaceful action.
On Friday, September 11, 2015, we gathered together peacefully holding signs with historical facts and quotes from Don Diego himself while wearing black t-shirts with the year 1680 emblazoned on the front. Our goal; expand the narrative of Santa Fe’s story celebrated each year and help tell a collective story with the voices of the marginalized at the forefront. Our three cultures can move forward by acknowledging our faults and our past transgressions. Our example will reflect a deeper historical truth as we invite our community to have these hard conversations. By reaching inward to examine our traditions infused in racism and conflict we will break the chains of violence and oppression.
Before Santa Fe can claim to be inclusive and celebrate 400 years of living in harmony and peace with multiple cultures our community needs to publicly acknowledge our complicity in colonialism and racism. Only then can we move forward for the sake of our youth and future generations. Their anger is our responsibility to unpack. We can change the story we currently live in; one that fosters our people feeling oppressed in public then returning home and taking out those feelings of anger and oppression on loved ones resulting in domestic violence and sexual abuse. The marginalized population is often imprisoned or plagued with drug and alcohol addiction resulting in high rates of suicide, homicide and more violence, often underpinned by cyclical poverty. By coming together and retelling these stories with truth and reconciliation we can move forward from perpetuating violence, racism and conquest to depicting the factual and multi-layered history of this land.
WATCH a clip of the protest covered by The Santa Fe New Mexican
READ “Protesters at annual Fiesta Entrada aim to expose city’s uneasy history” in The Santa Fe New Mexican