MISSION: Southwest Research and Information Center is a multi-cultural organization working to promote the health of people and communities, protect natural resources, ensure citizen participation, and secure environmental and social justice now and for future generations

Voices from the Earth Volume 1 Number 1
Call to the Land, the Past, the Soul

"It is an honor to read with young writers — when communities support young voices we assist them to develop… and that enriches us all."

— Pat Mora, 21 July 2000

Pat MoraSRIC has previously provided support and organized poetry readings featuring the works of Jimmy Santiago Baca and Pat Mora. Through a grant awarded by the New Mexico Endowment for the Humanities, SRIC has assisted in highlighting voices from local communities that speak to a myriad of social issues affecting Chicana/o people. Creativity and artistic expression often enables artists, writers and poets to tell their stories — stories about the struggles faced by individuals and families, and stories from people who are from land-based communities with close relationships to water, soil and living cycles.

Voices like Jimmy Baca and Pat Mora are not only important to Hispano people but to the general public alike. The work of these individuals is essential in creating a multi-cultural learning experience to support each of our efforts to make positive contributions in our lives. One important component of the project illuminates the work of aspiring young adult writers and poets. It aims to give talented youth public exposure by reading in a public setting as part of a tandem presentation with an accomplished author as a role model.

One such event, "Desert voices/Voces del Desierto" was held Thursday, August 24, in Santa Fe at Site Santa Fe. The program was an interactive presentation that showcased the work of Mora, a nationally acclaimed author of poetry, non-fiction, and children's books. Pat Mora, a native of El Paso, Texas, speaks often at conferences, universities, and schools about creative writing, leadership and multi-cultural education. Pat is active in having April 30th celebrated as Dia de los ninos/ Dia de los libros, a celebration of children, books, languages, and cultures. For more information about Pat Mora please visit www.patmora.com.

The August 24 evening program featured the talent of young poets Sabina Zuniga and Erin Bad Hand, students, respectively, at University of New Mexico and Colorado College.

Forgive Us

						The land used to be a part of
							the family.
						we knew it would be ther
						when we needed.
						to eat, to live, to love.

						We took care of it,
						in return, we were given life.

						Then like back stabbers
						we took advantage
						we asked for more
							--than she could give.

						She gave us life,
						in return,
						we trampled her skin with
							asphalt and steel.
						No longer did the delicate
						of horses, pulling an old
							wooden cart
						with a farmer, his family, and
							his crop,
						tread the beautiful land.

						We must drive miles, and
						in order to see,
						to feel,
						to love the land
							--the way it used to be.

						To get away from the asphalt
							and steel,
						to once again
						welcome our mother back in
							our arms
						to say,
							"Forgive us."
						Only, she is too old, and worn,
							--and tired.

						Instead, we get the response of
							a white plastic bag
						Rustling in the wind,
						Caught between branches.

— Sabina Zuñiga


I feel your words like
							White sage smoke
									Curl around my body,
							Settle on my clothes,
					In my hair
							Fine rivulets of you
									Slide themselves
							Through my fingers
					Leaving the scent of 
					Unanswered prayer.

— Erin Bad Hand

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"Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truththat the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man would have dreamt would have come his way."
– W.H. Murray in The Scottish Himalayan Expedition.

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