September 2016

Our Stories, Our Lives: New Mexico’s Women and Girls


Sarah Ghiorse, Fatima van Hattum and Antoinette Villamil


NewMexicoWomen.Org is thrilled to collaborate with the Green Fire Times on this “Our Lives, Our Stories: New Mexico’s Women and Girls” edition, highlighting organizations, projects and community members working on issues that impact women and girls across New Mexico. The intention is to highlight the nuanced and varied lived experiences of women, girls and the organizations supporting them. As a fund and program of New Mexico Community Foundation dedicated to advancing opportunities for women and girls statewide, part of our role is to amplify the voices of our community partners. Through storytelling we lift our More >

Sembrando Salud / The Kalpulli Izkalli’s Cihuaphatli (Women’s Medicine) Project


Sylvia Ledesma


“The Earth is our mother; from her we receive our life and our ability to live. It is our responsibility to care for our mother, and in caring for our mother, we care for ourselves.  Women, all females, are a manifestation of Mother Earth in human form.”

– Beijing Declaration of Indigenous Women, 1995

When I was a little girl, my Lita (abuelita/grandma) and I were sowing seeds in the garden for vegetables and flowers. She told me that when you bury a seed in the ground and it blooms and gives fruit, that meant everything was all right… but if it More >

Breath of My Heart – A Birth Story


Jessica Frechette-Gutfreund


Sandy Martínez, her partner David Rivera and close family members arrived at Breath of My Heart Birthplace in the early morning on a hot summer day. Sandy and David, both 18, were raised in the Española Valley, and like most first-time parents were excited and anxious about their baby on the way. Sandy’s contractions started overnight and had become more painful over the last few hours. She settled into the birth room and started to get comfortable. Doula Tauz TamuPovi, from Tewa Women United’s YVK doula program, rubbed her back with each contraction and helped her slow her breathing. More >

What would Jesusita do?


Connie Trujillo and Pat Leahan


That’s the question recently posed by community members in Las Vegas, New Mexico, when, on March 1, the only acute medical care facility in the area—Alta Vista Regional Hospital (AVRH)—announced it was closing its obstetrics department on March 7. The private, for-profit hospital, owned by the largest hospital chain in the United States, Community Health Systems of Tennessee, gave only six days’ notice to the OB department’s nursing staff, physicians, nurse-midwives and, most importantly, patients. The memo from AVRH blamed “market conditions” for the “temporary” closure.

This closure meant that women could no longer deliver their More >

Breaking the Cycle of Violence

The Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women


Deleana OtherBull


Spending part of your summer learning about domestic violence and sexual assault may not sound like a fun way to spend your time—but it is at the heart of the work of the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women and its Native youth violence-prevention and early-intervention initiatives, which include a summer summit for Native youth leaders who have been directly affected by violence.


Breaking the cycle of violence begins with empowering youth-led community change. CSVANW’s alliance of more than 50 highly committed individuals and organizations has become a broad, unified voice that works More >

Tewa Women United’s Butterfly Wings Program


Michelle Martinez  


This summer, Tewa Women United (TWU) hosted the first annual Butterfly Wings Program for Native American girls 11 to 16 years old. The program focused on the development of healthy relationships and sexuality as well as body sovereignty. Body sovereignty is the right to bodily integrity and the exclusive control of one’s own body and life. Butterfly Wings brought together a committed group of five youth, two college interns, one high school intern and three staff members.


Program themes included: embracing the power of being a girl of color, self-care practices, honoring our spirituality as Pueblo people, taking More >

Brave Girls at the Santa Fe Indian School

Finding a Connection, Purpose and Meaning to Inspire Others


Darlene Coriz


The Leadership Institute at the Santa Fe Indian School (SFIS) serves as a catalyst for discourse. Since 1997, the institute has expanded to 16 leadership development programs, guided by mentorship, community service, public policy and critical thinking. Through integration of Indigenous cultural philosophies, these programs are designed to become assets for tribal communities. One example of this is the Brave Girls program.


Grounded in the philosophy of “giving back,” Brave Girls helps young Native women expand self-knowledge, develop a positive self-identity and healthy lifestyle practices, and develop the capacity to think critically More >

Raising Powerful Girls Through the Alchemy of Adolescence


Arina M. Pittman


She is 10 years old, still far from adolescence—though there are days when she shines through in a whole new way. There are moments when a glimpse of how she might look, be, as a young woman, is revealed.

She is starting to look outside of the family for ideas and expressions of what it means to be a woman and an adult in this culture at this time. She probably does not even know that she is looking for answers, but her peers, significant adults, teachers, media figures, extended family members and the culture at large all More >

Girls Inc. of Santa Fe


Kim Brown


In a room of the Hillside Center, home to Girls Inc. of Santa Fe for the past 57 years, fifteen 5- and 6-year-old girls put on space helmets they created and prepare to launch into space. Their mission: to explore other planets and bring back observations of alien plants and animals. In preparation for this journey their facilitators have spread drawings of extraterrestrial life throughout the room. The young explorers search for signs of life and sketch what they find before returning to their rocket for the voyage home. By playing astronauts, the girls are not just exercising their More >

Hildago Together / The Hidalgo Women’s Cooperative


Cory Sprott


If you have traveled west on Interstate 10 from anywhere in New Mexico, you have passed through Lordsburg in Hidalgo County. More than likely, you stopped for fuel, food or just took a break from the road, as it is the last stop before you cross over into Arizona. Truckstops at either end of town and the restaurants at the middle exit are what most people visit when passing through. You just might have been forced to stop due to dust storms from the wind kicking up the dry earth that surrounds the town in the summer, or because More >

Immigrant Women Raise the Floor for Workers in New Mexico

Somos un Pueblo Unido


Emmanuelle Leal Santillán



Lluvia Ramírez Orozco was fired from her job at a Santa Fe hotel after she complained about being forced to work without pay. “I was told to look for another job,” said Ramírez Orozco. “I had been cleaning rooms there for over a year and would have to clock out before finishing my work.” Months later, she was not only able to get her job and stolen wages back, but she helped her co-workers do the same. Today, they have positioned themselves as a force to be reckoned with—on and off the clock.


For years the families More >

Women Benefit From the Creative Economy in Southern New Mexico

Tres Manos Weaving of New Mexico, Inc.


Teresa Guerra


Doña Ana County in New Mexico is a rural, border area within 50 miles of Texas and Mexico. The county is home to 37 colonias communities (unincorporated areas) that are among the least economically developed areas of the United States. More than one in three families with children under 18 live in poverty. More than 65 percent of the population is Hispanic. More than 50 percent of the population speak Spanish at home; English is their second language. More than 50 percent of families living in poverty have no member who has graduated high More >

WESST – Women’s Economic Self Sufficiency Team


Bette Bradbury


Long before it was considered politically and culturally advantageous to help women and low-income minorities start and grow businesses, The Women’s Economic Self Sufficiency Team (WESST), was born. In 1988, three professional women in Albuquerque identified a gap and a need among women entrepreneurs in New Mexico. With a seed grant from PNM, they opened a downtown office in donated space to house the new nonprofit entity.  


Based on the strength of WESST’s business plan, a $50,000 loan was received from the Sisters of Catholic Charity so WESST could begin offering start-up loans for viable low-income, female entrepreneurs. Women More >

Our Lived Experience, Our Solutions

Tannia Esparza

Te quedo grande la llegua…y a mí me falto jinete…”

My mother, my tía Norma, my little sister Cachis and I would make our way to a swap meet every Sunday morning singing this Alicia Villarreal ranchera at the top of our lungs. For years we packed all the yard sale finds we could fit in our 1986 Chevy Nova to make the two-and-a-half hour drive, set up our little puestesito to resell said finds and miraculously make enough of a profit to pay rent. I was 6 years old when my mother found herself strategizing with informal economies More >

SouthWest Organizing Project’s New Mexico Con Mujeres

Feminism Isn’t Like Pepper You Sprinkle on Your Event


Beva Sánchez-Padilla


The liberation of women is not an act of charity. It is not the result of a humanitarian or compassionate position. It is a fundamental necessity for change, for a revolution, a guarantee of its continuity and a condition for its success.  – Graca Sambo (Mozambique)

The blood that runs through our veins is like the water that travels through Mother Earth. Our bones are like the rocks. Our mother, the Earth, is alive like our bodies.  – Estévan Arellano (Northern New Mexico)

We feminists say: This is my body. This is my More >

The Roots Summer Leadership Academy


Cathryn McGill


 I was raised in Muskogee, Oklahoma, primarily by my divorced, single mother, Rubye Carter. My mom was one of the first pre-integration black teachers at an all-white high school, and I sometimes wonder how she managed to successfully nurture, raise and champion five kids on a meager teacher’s salary, while adeptly deflecting the overt racism and sexism she encountered on a daily basis during her 31-year career. Upon her death in 2008, I wrote “The Hand That Rocked My Cradle,” a tribute song explaining how her unwavering support was the powerful example that “shaped my world.” And though mom More >

Newbites – September 2016


UNIFY FEST – September 22-25 at Las Golondrinas

Nathan Crane is an award-winning author, filmmaker and inspirational speaker who is motivated to help people experience healthy, sustainable, meaningful lives. He is a passionate advocate for collaboration among eco-conscious leaders, organizations, families and activists.


Crane has focused his heart, mind, energy and resources to produce UNIFY FEST, a four-day “transformational” festival dedicated to sustainable living. The festival will feature renowned musicians, speakers, workshop teachers, yoga instructors and indigenous leaders conducting ceremonies. The event will offer family, adult and children’s activities. Camping sites will be available.


In addition to inspiring people to live in harmony with More >

What’s Going On? – Albuquerque – September 2016


Sept. 8, 9 am–1 pm

UNM Health Sciences Center Job Fair

HSC North Campus Upper Plaza

Open to physicians, nurse practitioners, midwives, nurses, physician assistants, social workers, pharmacists, nutritionists, physical therapists, etc., as well as health profession students from any NM educational institution.

  Sept. 9–11

Ecological Restoration Volunteer Project

Limestone Canyon, San Mateo Mountains

Join the ABQ Wildlife Federation in building riparian restoration structures to improve wildlife habitat.,

  Sept. 10, Oct.1, Nov. 5, 9 am–12 pm

Backyard Farming Series

Gutiérrez-Hubbell House, 6029 Isleta SW

9/10: Garden Journaling workshop will present observation skills, mapping and reading catalogs; 10/1: Composting Basics and Improvements. Turn garden and food waste into nutritious More >

What’s Going On? – Santa Fe – September 2016


Sept. 7, 11:30 am–1 pm

Green Lunch

SF Area Homebuilders, 2520-B Cam. Entrada

“Protecting the Pecos: Iconic Lands with Deep Roots” by Michael Casaus and Mark Allison from the NM Wilderness Alliance. $20/$15. Presented by the SF Green Chamber of Commerce. Reservations: 505.982.1774


Sept. 10, 10 am–12 pm

SF Citizens’ Climate Lobby

La Montañita Co-op Community Rm., 913 W. Alameda

Learn about climate change solutions that bridge the partisan divide such as the carbon fee dividend, which gives revenue back to households.


Sept. 10, 12–5 pm; Concert: 6:30–10 pm

Fiesta Sustainability Showcase

Scottish Rite Center, Paseo de Peralta & Washington St.

Sustainable energy and transportation info, healthy food and home More >

What’s Going On? – Taos – September 2016


Through Sept. 11

Mabel Dodge Luhjan & Company

Harwood Museum of Art, 238 Ledoux St.

“American Moderns and the West,” an exhibit detailing Luhan’s impact on the art, writings and activism of 20th-century modernists Dorothy Brett, D.H. Lawrence, Marsden Hartley and others. Closed Mondays. 575.758.9826,


Sept. 24, 10 am–1:30 pm

Wetlands and Private Lands Workshop

Taos Land Trust Property

Learn how to make your rangeland more productive while protecting wetland resources. Speakers’ presentations and time in the field. RSVP: 575.758.3874,


Oct. 1, 9 am–5 pm; Oct. 2, 9 am–4 pm

Taos Wool Festival

Kit Carson Park

Wool market featuring juried vendors. Fiber art demonstrations, workshops, silent auction, kids activities, More >