Warm Cookies of the Revolution raise pressing matters in Elyria-Swansea and Globeville through performance and food.

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Kevin J. Beaty
Cookies made by the I-70 Reroute Planning Committee that are made to look as if they were made with ingredients sourced from a superfund site.
The Stompin' Ground Games danced into the Swansea community center on Saturday, celebrating conglomerated neighborhoods Globeville and Elyria-Swansea. Warm Cookies of the Revolution, the "civic health club," has been holding events like these each month in a new neighborhood, like in January when they used comedy to discuss homelessness, immigration, and queer history. Though the events often tackle tough issues, this month the Games were particularly heated, said founder Evan Weissman. That's because his event was expertly placed within eyeshot of the I-70 viaduct just days after a lawsuit was filed against the project by the Sierra Club and local activists.

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.