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News & Announcements

November 9, 2020
1000 Butterflies: A COVID-19 Memorial

On June 29th, members of the Interfaith Leadership Alliance (ILA) of Santa Fe attached 500 paper butterflies to the Roundhouse as a memorial for the 500 people who had died in New Mexico as a result of COVID-19. Just over four months later, now that over 1000 New Mexicans have died from the virus, ILA members installed 1000 butterflies as a COVID-19 memorial. This time, in conjunction with the City of Santa Fe, the butterflies were attached to the gazebo on the plaza by four members from the ILA

  • Rabbi Neil Amswych from Temple Beth Shalom, Co-President of the ILA
  • Rev Blaine Wimberly from Zia United Methodist Church, Co-President of the ILA
  • Rev Gail Mariner from Unitarian Universalist Santa Fe, Former President of the ILA
  • Cantor Cindy Freedman from HaMakom Santa Fe: The Place for Passionate and Progressive Judaism

The installation was put up on Sunday, November 8 and will remain up for two days through Tuesday, November 10. Santa Feans who are in the plaza are invited to come and take a butterfly as an act of remembrance of a loved one who died, or to give to a first responder or healthcare professional as a way of thanking them for their service during the pandemic.

Rabbi Neil said, “Not only do we remember the 1000 New Mexicans who have lost their lives so far, but we also think of the 50,000 New Mexicans who have contracted this virus, many of whom are now suffering long-term health issues as a result. We hope that everyone who sees this installation will realize the enormity of the loss of life, and in the spirit of all of our faith traditions’ desire to preserve human life, will work even harder to minimize the spread of this terrible virus.”

Rev Blaine said, “Butterflies represent the fragility of life and the strength of community; the ILA offers this installation to console the bereaved, thank the helpers, and encourage all.”

Rev Gail said that she hopes the 1000 butterfly project will offer comfort and moral support to those who are grieving and to those on the frontlines of this pandemic, and she invited people to visit the installation between now and Tuesday and take a butterfly to pass along.

Cantor Cindy said, “We honor the New Mexicans lost to COVID-19 and their grieving families, with these butterflies representing endurance, hope, and life.”

For the last three weeks, various clergy members from the ILA have also been gathering on Monday mornings in the plaza to offer prayers for reconciliation in a ritual called Sacred Space for Reconciliation. Through the ritual, leaders from differing faith traditions have started the process of healing that seemed necessary after the Obelisk was removed by protestors.

The Interfaith Leadership Alliance was established in 2007 to address social and economic injustice in our community. The ILA partners with schools, community agencies and social service organizations to bring greater resources and support to the Santa Fe community. It strives to create an extensive and engaged interfaith community to help create a just and healthy Santa Fe, working to serve the greater good by cultivating healing and transformation through advocacy, direct action, and inspiration. It fosters dialogue and friendship among leaders of diverse spiritual paths and traditions.

For more details, please contact Rabbi Neil 505-699-3789, [bot protected email address]

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