By: Matt Mirarchi, Director of Advancement
Racial violence is rooted in colonialism and U.S. governing systems—beginning with the genocide of Indigenous peoples and the enslavement of African Americans. It is perpetuated through systems of oppression that disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian/API communities and all communities of color—including through the carceral system.
Acts of racial terror in the U.S. began with Indigenous genocide—and concerted efforts at Indigenous cultural erasure, like boarding schools—and Africans’ enslavement—and subsequent Jim Crow legislation that disenfranchised African Americans. And today, such acts have become more commonplace and are fueled by racist ideologies and theories, such as the “great replacement theory,” otherwise known as “white replacement theory”—which has been cited as a driving motivator for white nationalist terrorist acts against BIPOC and immigrant communities, including those perpetrated by the suspect in the Buffalo domestic terrorism case this weekend who murdered 10 people, most of whom were Black, and the gunman who murdered Latinx shoppers in El Paso in 2019.
At its core, this ideology scapegoats and espouses hate against communities of color, with a particular focus on non-white immigrant communities, claiming that (1) “white culture” is the foundation of the U.S. (thus ignoring Indigenous peoples); and (2) that it is being “erased” by the presence and cultural traditions of non-white immigrants and communities of color. Those who hold this racist ideology—including many politicians and the Buffalo, NY terror suspect—embrace the affiliated white-washing of history. Such white-washing attempts include undermining or prohibiting the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT), which accurately reflects how racism has shaped and is manifested through the very systems of colonial government and power in operation today.
Domestic violence (DV) is about power and control. Racial terror and the policies that enable it are attempts to control and disempower communities of color and immigrant communities while centering whiteness and white supremacy. Each day, Enlace is reminded of the barriers Latinx and immigrant DV survivors face when navigating systems of government that perpetuate racial inequities—systems that were never designed nor intended to benefit them. In fact, Enlace’s founding was a response to the lack of culturally and linguistically appropriate services for Latinx and immigrant DV survivors in Central New Mexico.
Unlike those who perpetuate racial terror, Enlace acknowledges the inequitable systems of power and control that are in place and recognizes that a more equitable society is possible. Enlace will always work in collaboration with partners in progress to challenge systemic inequities that disproportionately affect the health and wellbeing of BIPOC and immigrant communities, and that exacerbate and inform DV and DV-affiliated behavior.
In the face of such violence, our work must continue—to shape a society that embraces and celebrates diversity, centers equity, and elevates the voices of systemically disenfranchised communities. Enlace’s work will remain intersectional and intergenerational in nature, and our solutions for fomenting gender and racial equity within New Mexico’s Latinx and immigrant communities will always be rooted in anti-violence, individuals’ self-empowerment, education, and proactive, nuanced support.