By the end of March of this year, the COVID pandemic had already spread through all 50 of these United States.
As numbers of cases stubbornly keep rising, the people in Taos, like elsewhere in the U.S., continue their efforts to combat the coronavirus. Yet, even with the presence of pandemic, when folks need to support one another, communities, neighborhoods and whole cities across the nation are turning on each other in racial and cultural uprisings.
Taos stands in solidarity with the multitude of movements spanning the country, like the Black Lives Matter movement, the LGBTQ movement and the Water Is Life movement. Taos does not want to succumb to the racial and cultural war that is brewing in the United States. Taos is our home, and we would like to set the example for the rest of our country.
Tempo, the arts and culture magazine of the Taos News, is producing a series on prejudice and reconciliation in our own community.
How do we recognize prejudice? What is equality? How do we reconcile the past and move forward as one community?
Since the dawn of civilization, statues and monuments have been erected to once-revered figures and events, then taken down and replaced through rebellion. Throughout history cultures have clashed over lands, religion and, in some cases, the right to exist.
Recently, there have been protests and riots over the placement of questionable icons, such as statues of Robert E. Lee, Christopher Columbus, the Founding Fathers depicted on Mount Rushmore and, here in our home state, sculptures of the Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate.
Where do we, with all our diversity, find a way to continue the harmony that has existed in Taos for centuries, all while the rest of the country tears itself apart?
Tempo will be conducting a series of interviews about prejudice and reconciliation with writers, creatives and thinkers who are deeply a part of our community - some newer to our scene and some with ancestral ties to our valley.
Tempo will be talking to the likes of "The Milagro Man," John Nichols; builder and author Anita Rodriguez; Taos Poetry Circus co-founder, Anne MacNaughton; Taos Pueblo tourism director, Ilona Spruce; artist Nikesha Breeze; "pesky" Horse Fly originator, Bill Whaley; and legendary Taos educator Larry Torres, among others. Invitations have been extended to many of our unparalleled community members.
We here at Tempo want to include all voices. Taos prides itself on its cultural diversity. It's what makes Taos, Taos! The earthen walls of Taos Pueblo, the adobe of San Francisco de Asis - they come from the same land.
This series is being conducted in response to the current state of unrest throughout our country. The people of this valley have lived harmoniously with one another for hundreds of years. All of us at Taos News and Tempo believe it is our responsibility to bring you accurate reporting while expressing the individual views and perspectives of our unique community.
We all have different views and different beliefs. And since before colonization, Taos has been a hub for trade and commerce. A place for bonding, comradeship and family. Taos and environs are a microscopic view into the rest of American society. Taos, and the many villages in the Taos Valley, can set the example for the rest of the country.
• Support In the Valle: Prejudice and reconciliation series
• Part 1: Interview with John Nichols
• Part 2: Interview with Larry Torres
• Part 3: Two Taos Natives have one crazy conversation in the Couse House
• Part 4: Anita Rodriguez talks systemic racism in Taos
• Part 5: Writer Bill Whaley goes full disclosure
• Part 6: Interview with Nikesha Breeze
• Part 7: Anne MacNaughton gives a thorough schooling
• Part 8: Iris Keltz expounds on our multicultural bonds
• Part 9: David Fernandez de Taos speaks of blending faith ways
Tune in to Tempo interviews on YouTube and on podcast platforms in early August, and continue reading over the next few weeks as our project will culminate in roundtable Zoom discussion. Support this project through our GoFundMe.
Let's continue to grow as one community.