News & Announcements
New Focus on Promoting Community Dialogue and Healing
In 2021, the City of Santa Fe is focusing on recovery and healing. Work toward those goals has begun this week, as two City Council committees and the Governing Body are taking up a substitute resolution for the Culture, History, Arts, Reconciliation and Truth committee (CHART) proposal that was originally introduced at the Public Works and Utilities (PW/PUC) Committee meeting on October 26, 2020. The substitute Resolution was introduced at the Governing Body meeting on December 16, 2020. After receiving consideration by the PW/PUC on Monday, Jan. 11, and the Finance Committee on Tuesday, Jan. 12, the Governing Body will review and vote on the substitute resolution on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021.
The political and socio-cultural climate of 2021 demands a democratic approach to reconciliation and healing, one that allows for a compassionate and clear-eyed understanding of historical events, grievances, and inequities, and their contemporary impacts and manifestations. Santa Fe is not immune from the divisions so wrenchingly on display in the United States at this time: last year saw the unlawful destruction of the Soldier’s Monument (the Obelisk) on the Plaza; the removal for safe-keeping of the Don Diego de Vargas statue from Cathedral Park; and the pre-emptory boarding up of the Kit Carson memorial. However, the CHART project is not simply about what to do with public art and monuments that have become flashpoints – it is the response to an urgent call to action to discuss the City’s cultural histories and current viewpoints through a process of community engagement that encourages people to speak, to be heard, and to listen. It is the beginning of an ongoing effort to learn and understand our complex histories and stories, and to promote truth, healing, and reconciliation for a future of peace and justice. This is not simply a retrospective exercise—Santa Fe is making history now.
The substitute CHART resolution eliminates, for now, the original idea of an appointed commission, and instead calls for a democratic, grassroots process of community-based engagement. The focus is not on creating an official oversight body, but on fostering as much participation from the people of Santa Fe as possible. The different approach will increase inclusivity, transparency, and community participation.
This revised approach is informed by the community engagement process recently used in Albuquerque to solicit broad community input regarding their race and healing project. It offers a variety of ways for people to have their views known, including a questionnaire, one-on-one interviews, and participation in a series of roundtable meetings. The process will require patience—there are no durable quick fixes to historic grievances—but the reward will be an outcome that’s the result of grassroots democracy in action and reflective of the community as a whole.
Under the resolution, the City will contract with a coordinator experienced in cultural competency and community-centered processes. The City will then facilitate the convening of dialogue sessions by members of organizations and unaffiliated community members. These sessions will be designed to promote broad cross-cultural understanding and racial equity, and to inform decisions for statues and monuments as well as short-, medium-, and long-term responses to ensure community healing and reconciliation.
The resolution is sponsored by Mayor Webber and Councilors Romero-Wirth, Rivera, and Abeyta.
“The previous structure focused on creating a committee, and what we realized was that it was limiting the number of people able to participate. This resolution is modeled after the Albuquerque process that allows everyone to be heard and have a seat at the table,” said Mayor Alan Webber.
“The focus of CHART needs to be our community members participating, being heard, and sharing their stories and experiences. Community healing and moving forward is our goal. It is about understanding each other, and this resolution allows for that opportunity,” said Councilor Abeyta.
“This resolution allows the focus to be on giving our residents the opportunity to be heard, to feel heard, and to heal,” said Councilor Romero-Wirth.
Councilor Rivera echoed the desires for community healing, while emphasizing, “We need to start the process and provide an opportunity and platform for all residents to participate, not just group leaders and organization representatives, but members of groups, grandmothers, cousins, and friends.” He continued, “We need to listen to what people want and find a way forward.”
The budget for the CHART is approximately $265,000. This budget is based on the Substitute Resolution parameters before Governing Body.
How to View or Participate
The agenda for each meeting is posted at santafenm.gov.
On Monday, January 11, the matter was heard by Public Works/Public Utilities and on Tuesday, January 12 by the Finance Committee. The meetings are available on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/cityofsantafe.
Members of the public may stream the January 13 Governing Body meeting live on the City of Santa Fe’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/cityofsantafe. The YouTube live stream can be accessed at this address from most smartphones, tablets, or computers. The video recording of this meeting will also remain available for viewing at any time on the City’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/cityofsantafe .
To comment during the January 13 Governing Body Evening Session on Zoom using a computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet, use the following link: https://santafenm-gov.zoom.us/j/97325607142? pwd=TVFpMVJzWjA5MWRuejRielUyT3cwZz09. Passcode: 688942.
Attendees should use the “Raise Hand” function to be recognized by the Mayor to speak at the appropriate time.
Phone: To join the Zoom meeting using a phone, use the following phone numbers and Webinar ID: US: 1 (346) 248-7799 - Webinar ID: 973 2560 7142 - Passcode: 688942. Phone attendees should press *9 to use the “Raise Hand” function to be recognized by the Mayor to speak at the appropriate time.