Chain of Command

I’ve been talking a lot recently about how much more progress we could make, as a community, if we stopped bickering about the things we disagree on and started taking proactive action on subjects where there is consensus. What does a grassroots groundswell actually look like in Santa Fe? Well, we saw one culminate just last summer.

I spoke with Thomas Rivera of the Chainbreaker Collective, a member-run group that has been around since 2004. “We have about 400 dues-paying members here in Santa Fe,” Rivera explains, “the bulk of whom are low income people and people of color, mostly residing in Hopewell-Mann neighborhood and the Airport Road corridor.”

Chainbreaker’s longest running and most well-known initiative has been the Bicycle Resource Center, which, in its 12 years, has provided over 2,000 bikes to people in the community who cannot afford cars. For the past several years, the group has primarily focused on public policy regarding transportation, being integrally involved in fighting the regularly proposed cuts to Santa Fe’s already bare-bones transit system. Rivera says, “Transit is always at the top of the list for cuts, and that’s something we’re going to do our best to make sure doesn’t happen, because it would devastate our community.”

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