Tewa Women United Statement

On Thursday, September 28, a peaceful community gathering that centered on our love for all children and Mother Earth, with prayers for their well being, was taking place in our beloved hometown, Española. Our hearts and trust were then broken by those who chose to bring violent intentions into this circle. 

Many peacefully intended people were there, along with their children. The intentional use of violence that wounds the souls/spirits are learned tools within a culture of violence. What is needed now is to tend to their physical, emotional, and spiritual well being.

Jacob Johns, a peaceful supporter who was protecting women and children, was shot. He was transported to a hospital where he had surgery and continues to be in the ICU. He took part in a morning blessing, offering a prayer song for all who gathered in peace, just hours before. Please hold him, his family, and all present in your prayers. 

Tewa Women United is committed to coming from a place rooted in love in all our actions. This is especially important in response to this incident. We are a multi-cultural, multi-racial organization that values all peoples, all cultures and ethnicities, and knows that all of us are important in the co-creation of a culture of peace and healing justice. 

Our hope is that this tragic incident is the time for our whole community to come together and find ways to be in courageous conversation and move through conflict. When one of our community members is harmed, all of us are harmed. 

This was a peaceful action organized by local community members that had been in process since Tuesday evening, September 26. Women, men, children, and elders of diverse backgrounds were holding a prayerful vigil. Like many remnants of the past, this statue of Juan de Oñate holds multiplicities of complexities. It does not tell the whole story of this place we all call home now. It should not mark a division between power over or above. 

There are many perspectives of what happened at the site of the prayerful vigil. What is important to uplift is that what happened was preventable. Gender violence, gun violence, environmental violence, and racial violence are all preventable. Yes, we can have freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, and freedom of anything without it leading to violence, dehumanization, disrespect, and ultimately, death. 

Tewa Women United has spent over 30 years addressing these violences. We have done it peacefully and from a heart space for all peoples. We can be proud of who we are as multiple identities of heritage and we can also honor others for who they are. 

We are asking our communities, our followers, our supporters, our friends, and our relatives to have courageous presence with heart-centered peace. We have done so much heart/hard work to create courageous spaces to address the many violences we face with patience, understanding, and compassion. Our choice now as a community, as a Valley, as a County, and as a state is to work together, to live together, to respect each other. Choose Peace. Choose Love. Choose Healing. Many lived narratives need to still be heard.   

For those in our community who have been impacted by this event, our Barrio Remedios / Towa Bi Woh project has remedios available to support with grief and anxiety. Please contact Pilar, the project coordinator, at pilar@tewawomenunited.org if you’d like some.