Swathed in scrumptious odors wafting over from tables of fresh tamales, papusas, and other homemade items, the Games resonated with a feeling of home and family. A cooking contest celebrated these neighborhood ladies who fed the room.
The afternoon began with traditional Matachines dances and then moved into more contemporary artistic expression. Performances by local poets Ralph Lazo and Molina Speaks rang in messages of heritage and community, but with an added pang of urgency that is illustrative of this time for the neighborhoods. "To fight is to win," said Lazo, Cross Community Coalition co-founder. "Re-established" by Candi CdeBaca, the group of Elyria-Swansea locals have incorporated to represent themselves in court against the expansion project alongside the Sierra Club. Interspersed were songs and speeches by area students, a reminder of whose lives are at stake as development issues become more pressing.
The message was clear: this neighborhood is vibrant and needs saving. "We're all just tiny drops of water," said Lazo, "but I look out across my neighborhood and my city and I see an ocean. And an ocean cannot be moved, an ocean cannot be cut, and an ocean cannot be washed away."
While the fight to stop the I-70 East expansion steps up to the next level, there's a feeling among some that the fight is finally gaining momentum. To be sure, the communities in Elyria-Swansea and Globeville have visibly gelled around these contentious issues that night, a feat that was made possible by a little dose of civic exercise.
Ralph Lazo performs a "speech poem," a poem that's also kind of a speech because of its urgent need for clarity.
Molina Speaks "live scribes," chanting back and forth with an involved audience.