A place to connect
I see one of the challenges and barriers to creating change in Santa Fe in the rift between the rich and the poor and the people of color and the Anglos (as whites are called in my community). It is not a new phenomenon but it is one I have witnessed continually in my lifetime of living and visiting Santa Fe. There is a distinct separation between the people who have lived here for generations who generally consider themselves Hispanics, the new Immigrants coming from the South (predominantly Mexico and Central America but also South America), the Native American culture which surrounds Santa Fe and the Anglo culture, many of whom have moved here from other places. I have continually found the social and professional circles to be divided with little diversity and limited interaction between the groups. In addition, Santa Fe is broken into geographical/class "sides", the east side where the traditional Hispanics have sold their generations old property and homes to newcomers on the beautiful, mountainous, and historic side of town, and the south side which is the flat but thriving bastion of the immigrant community.
The challenges I see are the challenges of any city to create community, openness and diversity in a way where all feel included. I believe that music and stories are one way to connect people and find commonalities. A quote that exemplifies this belief is by Oren Lyons , a recognized advocate of indigenous rights, “Life will go on as long as there is someone to sing, to tell stories and to listen. “
I also believe that if we can come together from difference backgrounds and colors we can make changes in each others’ lives through small acts of connection: from taking care of each others’ children; helping a friend to find a job or just being there to listen when a someone has a problem they need to talk about. The challenge is how to connect with people with whom we may, on the surface, have little in common.
I am germinating an idea right now of helping a Native American friend create an Indian Center in town. Though Santa Fe is surrounded by thriving Indian pueblos there is not place for Native Americans to come together locally. Another idea I have is to find some kind of community space where people from all over town can come together and share the openness and connection of the internet and Web2.0. When I began working with a women’s project a few years ago the understanding of the internet was extremely varied. Some people used social media everyday to connect with friends and family from Guatemala and Venezuela and others had never used the internet and had little access to this medium. I have very limited knowledge whether this resource exists in Santa Fe. Thorough the World Pulse journey I hope to find out and spread the word or begin to work toward a place where we can create this connection together.