Opinion: Speaking up for population of silenced voices


Recently, a (Taos) Plaza merchant said that he had not heard anything good about me. What an interesting comment.

In having time to think about this, I know that if people don’t like me. This is because they are being fueled by sources who don’t know me and not by the experience of their own interactions with me.

On one local page on Facebook, I have read horrible comments from people who I don’t know, and who don’t know me. When I comment back, I make it a point to ask people to call me, so we can chat, anytime. One fellow commented that “…no one is going to call you.”

Is this a response from someone who needs to be a part of an inclusive group regardless of whether the group is misled or not? His statement couldn’t be farther from the truth. Many folks have called wanting clarification about something read when my editorials have been published in the “My Turn” section of the paper.

When folks want to understand things, they want clarification. When someone isn’t interested in verifying their opinions regarding what they have read or heard, they are not interested in forming an opinion based on authentic communication. Contrary to what the “Facebooker” thought, happily, new friends have been made.

If I don’t speak up for those who feel disempowered, those who don’t know how, but want their opinions heard, I am not doing my job. I’ve been told that I was elected to be their voice. If I don’t, why did they elect me, and who then will represent their concerns?

When I began to attend council and public meetings in 2009, I began to understand that there is a population of silenced voices. My question to the raza is: why did you stop participating?

Some newcomers to Taos are unfamiliar with a New Mexico lifestyle that was half of a millennium in the making. There is a population living here that evolved a unique way of living because of isolation: people who are from a history made from the past, the voices of others who have become silent because they feel treated as nonviable, people who want to be treated as worthwhile.

Taos had not seen much growth until the mid-1980s. There is a culture shock occurring here as old ways are still an orientation to many. Local government officials need to be sensitive to the challenges of a reality that is fracturing the older ways, a way of being that is long familiar to the people who have a historic legacy in this area.

Life is more than parties, concerts, fireworks, barbecues, pancakes, developments or marketing strategies of opportunistic self-promotion. Legislative and executive government officials need to evaluate and react responsibly to the needs of all citizens within this community.

Most certainly, distractions from the true and serious things going on here should not be a primary function of a municipal priority agenda. Moreover, hidden agendas should not control municipal doings despite how it will affect others.

Taos had a big barbecue for New Year’s, which the homeless may attend so they can eat, yet the town won’t pitch in one penny to the Men’s Homeless Shelter! If it were not for the Heart of Taos organization, who is now working on a shelter for women and kids, this town wouldn’t have a heart.

Property crimes have risen. Drug use with heroin, meth and crack cocaine is running rampant. Mental health issues have risen. We don’t have a detox center. It is hard to keep a workforce. Prices are rising on everything, and minimum wage doesn’t cover living expenses, and will not in the foreseeable future. Service industry pay isn’t cutting it. We are in crisis and this administration wants parties! Party, party, party!

Smoke, mirrors and egos. Unethical behavior. One must yell if they wish to be heard above the din, but instead, it seems that all that is being heard is child’s play. Can’t you hear the winding of the box? The suspension felt as the lid opens and out jumps, “Pop goes the weasel!”?

Judi Cantu is a town of Taos council member running for reelection.


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Monique Martinez

You are doing a great job!!!!!

Wednesday, January 24 | Report this