Looking Back at 2022
We would like to share some of this highlights of this past year, and are proud of the work of our dedicated staff. Your year-end gift helps to sustain this work and the staff who carry it out with courage, creativity, and love for our communities. Thank you for your support!
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH & JUSTICE
This year our Environmental Health & Justice Program welcomed two new staff: Talavi Denipah Cook as Program Manager and Kayleigh Warren as Program Coordinator.
Talavi (she/hers), originally from Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, Hopi, and Diné, holds a passion for forestry, firefighting, natural resources, and conservation. She is committed to helping her communities to ensure the land and the people are healthy and resilient. Kayleigh (she/her) is Tewa and Tiwa from the Pueblos of Santa Clara and Isleta. From her land-based upbringing as well as through community and professional mentorship, Kayleigh is an advocate for ancestral lands protection and the preservation of Pueblo land-based lifeways, especially farming and ethnobotanical traditions.
Even as Talavi and Kayleigh needed some time to get their feet on the ground (metaphorically and literally), they still put together an impressive array of workshops and events throughout the year including:
- Pueblo Women in Farming online panels in March and June, attended by more than 130 people
- Composting Workshop with Miguel Santistevan in July
- September’s annual Amaranth Harvest at the Española Healing Foods Oasis, which included the “TreeGeneration Fest” where we gave 30 piñon trees to community members for planting at home
The EHJ team also collaborated with the Indigenous Women’s Health and Reproductive Justice staff to offer a series of workshops on herbal medicine, and with the A’Gin youth to stock seeds for the Española Healing Foods Seed Library. The Sayain/Circle of Grandmothers are also very much of a guiding presence for our environmental justice work.
Along with all staff, the EHJ team pitched in to support relief efforts for those impacted by the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon fires in many ways. Throughout the pandemic and in the wake of this year’s fires, we have been distributing N95 masks and Corsi-Rosenthal box air filter kits to Native and land-based families across the state. Recognizing the impact of smoke on our vulnerable communities, we hosted a workshop for elders and youth to learn how to make DIY air filters at our Española office, and at Santa Clara, Ohkay Owingeh, and Taos Pueblos.
As always, our EHJ program is dedicated to advocacy and educating the public about environmental justice issues that impact the Tewa homelands and other parts of our bioregion. This year we joined in on action alerts to…
- protect Greater Chaco
- stop the expansion of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP)
- encourage public comment on Los Alamos National Laboratory’s new Sitewide Environmental Impact Statement (SWEIS)
We are so grateful for Talavi and Kayleigh’s leadership and great hearts, and their unwavering commitment to protect the most vulnerable. Imagine what they’ll do in year two of working together!
INDIGENOUS WOMEN’S HEALTH & REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE
Our Indigenous Women’s Health and Reproductive Justice Program welcomes families to engage in their health and wellbeing by revitalizing and reclaiming traditional practices and ways of knowing. Most of the services we offer are available to all Native and land-based families in the Tewa homelands/Española Valley area. We advocate for policies that respect body sovereignty and choice.
We welcomed three new staff this year to the IWH+RJ team: Carmella Quam as Program Director, Libby Branham as Yiya Vi Kagingdi Program Coordinator, and Heaven Lee Kim in the new position of Reproductive Justice Coordinator. Carmella, Libby and Heaven joined with long-time staff members Diana Halsey and Pilar Trujillo to form a powerful team in service to our communities
This year was particularly challenging with the Dobbs v Jackson Supreme Court decision in June, a ruling that has a disproportionate impact on poor women, especially Black, Indigenous, Latino, and other people of color. We issued this statement, making clear that we will continue to protect our inherent reproductive rights and fight against abortion restrictions which keep people from getting the care they want, need, and deserve.
Our Yiya Vi Kagingdi (YVK) Doula Project served 24 families in Northern New Mexico during 2022, with more intakes coming before the year ends. Our doulas supported 19 births! These 24 families also received supplies such as diapers, baby carriers, and self-care items from our program.
In August, 11 amazing and fierce students completed our five-month YVK Full Spectrum Doula Training and are now ready to serve their communities. The graduation of this third cohort of YVK doulas was a beautiful event with our Sayaain (Circle of Grandmothers) blessing each student in front of their families and support people in a moving ceremony.
In September, we partnered with the National Partnership for Women & Families, HealthConnect One, and the National Health Law Program to release “Improving Our Maternity Care Now Through Doula Support,” a report highlighting how doula support can make a critical difference in improving outcomes for pregnant and birthing people and their babies.
In addition to our direct care doula services, the IWH+RJ team offered a number of educational opportunities for families in our communities throughout the year, including:
- Herbal Medicine Workshop Series (hybrid); nearly 100 people attended the four sessions, which covered topics including herbs to support the nervous system, emotional wellbeing, and respiratory health
- Lactation After Loss (online workshop, 39 participants)
- Fertility Awareness Method (online workshop, 17 participants)
In the coming year, we’ll share more about Barrios Remedios, an exciting partnership with our friends at Barrios Unidos in Chimayo. We’re also taking time to step back and reflect on how our Full Spectrum Doula Training Program can be even more responsive to the needs of our communities, so we’re putting a pause on the training for the first part of 2023. And of course we’ll have more educational offerings and continue to be a strong voice for body sovereignty and choice at the policy level.
WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP & ECONOMIC FREEDOM
Our Women’s Leadership and Economic Freedom Program lifts up the intergenerational element of healing justice, and includes our Sayain/Circle of Grandmothers, the A’Gin Healthy Sexuality and Body Sovereignty Project, the A’Gin Youth Council, and the Engaging Young Men and Boys Project.
As sacred ancestral knowledge keepers, the Sayain are the nurturing breath that infuse and inspire the work of Tewa Women United. The grandmothers meet on a regular basis to explore how they can support community members and they are a grounding and loving presence at many of TWU’s public events.
The A’Gin Healthy Sexuality and Body Sovereignty Project was developed by community leaders and educators in 2011 as an approach to address issues of body sovereignty and personal empowerment for all stages of life. This project has served over 500 youth throughout Northern New Mexico in tribal, public and community settings.
This year the WLEF Program offered a number of gender justice/community healing initiatives, including:
- Art as Activism online panel in March with Chasity Salvador, Lavina Gray, Autumn Gomez, and rafa tarín. This panel of community artists/activists explored questions centered around how art is a transformative process and healing modality for the individual, and how this micro expands into the cosmo of the collective/ community support and empowerment.
- The “Gender Justice & Healing Book Club,” a series of four events in which 60 participants received books, highlighters, and sticky notes, then gathered online to share learnings together. We studied The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk, All About Love by bell hooks, Decolonial Love: Stories & Songs by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson Brown, and Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez.
- Throughout the summer and fall, we hosted a series of Skate/Mural events in Española for young people of our communities. These events were created with the intention of deepening community connections as well as offering a space for healthy expressions of masculinity. We are grateful to the team of Alex Jaramillo, Kevin Beltran, Joyce Shroulote, and rafa tarín for bringing this vision to life!
- In partnership with New Mexico Healthy Masculinities Collaborative, we launched the NM Healthy Masculinities Toolkit in April 2022. The toolkit is a collection of readings, workshops, and exercises aimed at helping audiences reimagine masculinities, raise awareness about the concept of healthy masculinities, and provide resources that promote self-awareness, healthy relationships, and thriving communities.