A plan for racial healing and transformation in Santa Fe

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COMMENTARY: Throughout Santa Fe’s history of cultural conflict, we’ve seen a lot of pain to go along with the beautiful diversity we have today. We’ve seen Native people being oppressed and violently conquered. We’ve seen Hispanic people marginalized and oppressed by a new Anglo-centric government. And we still to this day see inequality and poverty in those communities as a result of that historic oppression.

Javier Gonzales

Courtesy photo

Javier Gonzales

As we put it in our Council-adopted cultural roadmap, Culture Connects Santa Fe, “Santa Feans live in a place where joy and pain co-exist, and yet, here beauty and creativity hold transformative power for the entire community.”

In a few short weeks much of our community will gather for the annual Fiestas de Santa Fe, an event that reflects that sentiment well. It also reminds us that we have the responsibility to learn about – and learn from – the complex histories in our community, including that of the Fiestas and the Entrada itself.

In doing so we can still show pride in our respective cultures and reflect on the positive contributions that have been made over time.

As we move forward we must do everything possible to start highlighting history where Native/Hispanic cultural traditions have contributed to the richness of our community and are part of our heritage.

I don’t think any government can lead or solve this alone. These conversations are difficult and require all of us to participate. In doing so will we can heal and grow stronger.

To that end, I will be moving forward to:

– Continue leader-to-leader dialogue to seek the counsel of Pueblo leaders. Our Pueblo neighbors are sovereign governments with representatives whose voices must be heard.

– Instruct the city manager to, within 30 days, deliver to the public and the governing body either a report or a timeline for a report that includes:

  • All city support for events or organizations that celebrate or recognize historic events or people, including financial and logistical support.
  • All city property that holds memorials, monuments or markers of historic events or people.
  • A process by which the public may submit and comment upon events, memorials, monuments and markers that celebrate or recognize historic events or people for inclusion.

From there, I will ask the City Council to take action consistent with the findings of the manager’s report.

I believe we can be a leader in racial healing and transformation towards a more unified city, but it will take more than a mayor or city council. It will take our entire community coming together.

Javier Gonzales, a Democrat, is Santa Fe’s mayor. Agree with his opinion? Disagree? We welcome your views. Learn about submitting your own commentary here.

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