When my good friend Miguel told me he and fellow artists were going to organize an entrepreneurship and art community-education program focused on building a platform for the youth leaders of San Luis, Colorado, I was super excited to get involved.
San Luis, Colorado, is not just the oldest city in Colorado; it is set in the majestic 7000 feet high plateau San Luis Valley, surrounded by the magical and sacred Sangre de Cristo mountains and the country of the great Apache people.The setting is the high alpine cultural heartland of the Rio Arriba or Upper Rio Grande Headwaters communities of Spanish-Mexican-Mesoamerican-Native American-Sephardic-Persian-Moroccan peoples otherwise known as Chicanos/Chicanas.
During the summer months there are few engaging opportunities for the youth of San Luis, Colorado therefore they often do not see a value to their land and the generational struggle for its sovereignty. This compromises the health of the community and could put the land at risk for exploitation from outside forces that do not have the interests of San Luis and its people in mind.
Due to a lack of economic opportunities, young leaders are few and far between in the San Luis community. This leaves a gap between High School aged youth and the elders. Young professionals doing social justice work in other parts of the country may be unaware of indigenous struggles like the land rights struggle in San Luis and the similarities with urban struggles on the east coast.
Though ultimately I could not make it to Colorado, Riot Alliance proudly represented Move Mountains Project as its first featured social justice project and donated proceeds from jewelry sales in Philadelphia to help the movement in San Luis!