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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.


Mei Li's picture

a possible helpful idea

What if you create fliers that promote resources like World Pulse and make yourself available to help people sign up? I think it is such a good opportunity for people to connect and being that we are all from different countries, when we sign on we know that we are all women and men connecting together to work toward globally empowering women.

I have experienced similar discrimination in my community which is divided not only be ethnicity, but also religion. I support your solution to creating a place where you can all connect through creativity. I have listened to so many wonderful poets and musicians at open mics in my community and when I hear them I do not think about their or my ethnicity - I am seeing them as creators reflecting back onto the world their own intimate stories of surviving one more day - singing their suffering, overcoming violence by speaking out about it. I hope you do create this place in your community!

"...our compassion is the practice of unconditioning." Jakusho Kwong Roshi

Jan K Askin's picture

VOF week 3 assignment

Dear msbriceno,

I live in California and have visited Santa Fe only once. I saw a beautiful town, with a thriving artist community. Thank you for describing how the diversity of the population is not reflected by integration in social, political and economic parts of the community. I saw only the surface.

I find much to reflect upon in the quote from Oren Lyons. May you continue to sing, tell stories and listen.

Your sister in California

Jan Askin

deltaqueen's picture


Where do we get stererotypes? Who created the seperations? I am still trying to answer those questions here in Georgia. But I agree with you when you talk about how the connections with other cultures have so much to teach those who don't know. The challenge is are we willing to learn peacefully. There are grants to create cultural livable/town centers for people to gather and share. You have great ideas, that would make a world of a difference.
Keep sharing.



Tina's picture

Unity in Diversity

I agree with the other posters, your idea sounds tangible and is certain to be fruitful. I have never really understood why people feel the need to congregate with "our kind" to such an extent that it excludes others. I live in New York, where there is a greater diversity here (probably) than anywhere else on earth. While there may be a cultural discrepancy in job roles and social events, the majority of cultures and classes mingle well in the workplace and on the streets together. However, by the end of the day, everyone tends to retreat to their own comfortable corners and their own culturally distinct neighborhoods: the italian americans in one neighborhood, the indians in another, latinos here, african americans there, chinese districts, albanian quarters, russian districts. It's fascinating but also scary. I personally hope to see a day when we can all hold onto our own cultural identities with enough security that we can openly celebrate our rich diversity and accept each other's difference. And yes, as you say, "to 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." These may seem like small steps on the surface to some, but will make big waves through the generations.
Your project sounds like it is a great idea to actively bring people of differing and sometimes opposing cultures together. Thanks for the great work that you do...and will do I'm sure!

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