By: Matt Mirarchi, Director of Advancement
Oftentimes through worldwide discourse, the United States is held up as a shining example of a “developed” nation. But beneath the gleaming artifice lies a broken republic shaped by inequitable, racist policies that masquerades as a democracy whose formation is “for and by the people.” And yet, each day, there’s often a glaring example of how this land—ripped from Indigenous communities—and its political system serve a select few, and corporate interests, to the detriment of the majority. There is nothing “developed” about that political framework.
Just a weekend ago, as many within the 2SLGBTQI+ community honored Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), Club Q in Colorado Springs became the most recent site of a hate crime, leaving five folx who danced and loved and built community dead and many more wounded—their families and communities fractured beyond comprehension. Amid the outpouring of support across social media, specific phrases often were repeated by community members: “No one keeps us safe but us” and “To be visibly queer in America is to prioritize your own joy, your own happiness over your safety.”
Not even 48 hours later, six people were murdered at their workplace in Virginia.
Without fail, what immediately follows from those in power, including from those who actively advocate for violence against marginalized communities, is a litany of “thoughts and prayers”—with no substantive action to curb or eradicate such violence; in fact, some legislators and political pundits use such tragedies as a means of advocating for more access to weapons of mass murder. For many community members, this weapon-centric refrain has been normalized over entire lifetimes to the detriment of communities. Just this year, we saw this narrative drip across headlines related to Buffalo, NY; Uvalde, TX; and Laguna Woods, CA—with each tragedy evidencing the rise in racialized violence against Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian/Asian Pacific Islander communities (BIPOC), and all oppressed identity communities, including the 2SLGBTQI+ community.
In the wake of such preventable tragedies, there is understandable, righteous rage by the communities and loved ones directly impacted, and there’re waves of complex emotions—post-traumatic stress, historical trauma, emotional triggers—felt vicariously by countless more. Such targeted violence is amplified by inequitable policies.
Policy violence also continues unabated—with a glaring example being the potential erosion of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), during Native American Heritage Month. An ICWA-focused case is being reviewed by the Supreme Court, as are challenges to affirmative action. Both cases could have wide-ranging implications and destabilizing effects that will disproportionately impact BIPOC communities—as has the recent destabilization of DACA for immigrant communities and the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
As a culturally specific service provider for Latinx and immigrant communities in Central New Mexico, Enlace recognizes how gun and policy violence correlate with—and often exacerbate—domestic violence. We also know that one nonprofit cannot eradicate violence nor advocate for anti-violence alone. In these overwhelming times, we are grateful to local partners in progress who help shape a community of care across New Mexico through intersectional praxis, especially those who support culturally- and identity-specific populations and who are cultivating tomorrow’s leaders today—including those listed below:
- Tewa Women United
- Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico
- Together for Brothers
- New Mexico Asian Family Center
- Casa Fortaleza
- Centro Savila
- El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos
- New Mexico Black Leadership Council
- Southwest Organizing Project
As we enter an emotionally-charged season—after experiencing a year punctuated by rising client needs—Enlace encourages our clients, community members, staff, board, and neighbors to reflect and center self-care as we work to bridge necessary service gaps and advocate for equitable outcomes.
Stayed informed. Stay connected. Root deeply in and celebrate community. Because we keep each other safe. And together, we shape the future.