Women’s rights should flow freely and powerfully

December 16, 2018

Here at NewMexicoWomen.Org, the only statewide women’s fund whose mission is to advance opportunities for women and girls so they can lead healthy, self-sufficient and empowered lives, we are reflecting on the resistance and resilience of New Mexican women.

As we listen to community partners across the state who are resisting oppression, patriarchy and policies that don’t serve New Mexico communities, we feel moved, saddened and inspired. I am proud to be a part of NewMexicoWomen.Org, an organization that is strategically working to support gender justice and healing for our partners statewide.

As a native New Mexican, I have seen my own family struggle with internalized racism, poor educational opportunities, historical trauma, generational addiction and much more. Simultaneously, in my past work at a homeless shelter in Albuquerque, and by leading women’s work in Southern New Mexico, I have witnessed the profound strength and capacity of our communities to heal, connect and find purpose in difficulty. New Mexicans are often recognized for our resilience, our ability to persist. I am proud to come from a persistent people, and I am excited for the day when we get to live in deep possibility instead of persistence.

Below is a personal poem I wrote, an invitation for you to see resilience in a new way and join us by investing in this critical work.

New Mexican Women are tired of people celebrating the resiliency that comes from broken education, resourcefulness in poverty, breaking generational addiction, surviving domestic violence and sexual assault, and losing our voices in places they’ve been long silenced.

We are tired of being born into The Resistance by virtue of our skin color, economy and gender.

We want our culture, brilliance, gender identities and colors to flow freely and powerfully throughout political places and policies.

Not to always be met with resistance by the gaze of white supremacy … the gaze with which our institutions were envisioned, the gaze with which our policies were written, the gaze with which our bodies are violated, our lands are exploited and our culture is consumed.

We want our resiliency instead, to be cultivated by quality education, we want our resiliency to be cultivated with a reflection of ourselves, our languages, our experience in office, in board rooms, as teachers.

We want our resiliency to be cultivated by investment in our infrastructure, state budget, sustainable agricultural, and language reviving programs that make welcome the people we belong to.

We want our financial resilience to be cultivated with TRUE living wages, equitable pay and by valuing feminized labor.

We want our communities to join our resistance by unpacking their own roles in racism and sexism — to get brave, dive deep and let old beliefs and biases go that don’t serve our dignity and humanity.

We want our resilience to be cultivated by TRUST. The more society chooses to trust women, the more our daughters will know they can trust themselves and the less they have to fight quiet, daily battles of internalized sexism.

We don’t want to keep growing our resilience through struggle.

Resilience is not “sexy” when it is born of historical trauma and displacement.

We want to resource resilience in a truly “sexy” way — with love, support, grace and opportunity.

We want to heal in our communities and take time to be with our hearts and tend to our bodies in nourishing ways.

We want to live in heartful and abundant resilience that is not only up to us, but systemically supported.

This is NewMexicoWomen.Org’s resistance: to create pathways to a positive resilience through healing and gender justice.

Carli Romero is a multigenerational Nuevo Mexicana and the operations coordinator for NewMexicoWomen.Org.

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