Photo: Councilwoman Torres
Councilwoman Jamie Torres
Photo: Councilwoman Gilmore
Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore
Debbie Ortega, Amanda Sandoval, Jamie Torres, Stacie Gilmore
Basta. Enough. A colleague on Denver City Council recently shared a post on social media that had the words “#MalincheStrong” and took a jab at four Latinas on Council; inferring that we could not band together and support her proposed map during our redistricting process. Not only is the statement about our redistricting effort flatly wrong because we have not yet voted to advance a final map; and this colleague went on promoting and reposting the graphic labeling us “Malinches”; is deeply offensive, frustrating, and damaging. Malinche is not a simple or harmless word to use in any context and certainly not to call colleagues. It is rooted in racism, sexism, and hatred and its use against one another not only exacts trauma between one another, it brings forth trauma for all Latinas and Chicanas in Denver. We are better than that.
Collectively our children and community are watching how we as woman navigate difficult situations and lift others up while continuing the work.
Denigrating people who disagree on policy matters has unfortunately become a common tactic. We have robust policy debates between the five Latinas on Denver City Council, but we don’t make it personal or pull a “traitor” card. Denver City Council, like the city, is large and diverse and it has significant issues to solve and, frankly, we don’t always agree. We all want Denver to be a great city where her residents can thrive and achieve their goals. Everything we do is relational and working through problems together, we can move the city forward.
Lack of accountability for speech or actions is on full display at the national level spurred on by political posturing, name calling, and demeaning anyone with a different opinion. This doesn’t have to be the norm. We are responsible for ending that practice or maintaining it. Lies and disinformation are destroying trust between our communities and those who serve them in government. We have known this to be a historic tragedy that in some cases is exactly why some of us ran for office, to play a role in reversing that.
We all come from struggle, protest and fight and we don’t abandon that in our current roles. But we bring maturity and understanding with us because our work is meaningless if it is not tied to best representing what our ancestors fought for, in order for us to be here today. Collectively our children and community are watching how we as woman navigate difficult situations and lift others up while continuing the work.
We committed to operate with integrity when we and our colleagues took the Oath of Office committing “to support the Charter and Ordinances of Denver” and when we developed the “Statement of Values and Conduct Commitments for Working with Colleagues and Together as a Council.” We pledge to you, Denver residents, to seek opportunities to deepen the respect for another while continuing to vigorously discuss and debate the merits of any policy before us.
Deborah Ortega, Councilwoman at-Large; Amanda Sandoval, Councilwoman District One; Jamie Torres, Councilwoman District Three; and Stacie Gilmore, Councilwoman District 11.
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