COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – Colorado and national Latino groups greeted Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) with a mariachi serenade of the classic tune “¿Dónde Estàs Corazón?” (“Where Are You, Sweetheart?”) and poster-sized love notes in a heartfelt ask for him to conduct public town halls and engage with the community. Sen. Gardner has avoided attending public town hall meetings in person this year and his constituents are using creative, peaceful tactics to invite civil dialogue on matters of concern such as the environment, public health, and civil rights.
The serenade was performed on Tuesday, April 18 at the exclusive Cheyenne Mountains Resort in Colorado Springs where Sen. Gardner was hosting a “members only” coffee town hall. The Sol de la Tierra (Sun of the Earth) mariachi band filled the air with a repertoire of traditional Mexican ballads while community leaders and members quietly held poster-sized love notes designed by local artist FALCO in an attempt to urge Sen. Gardner to meet with constituents.
“Our Latino communities are rooted in a deep heritage of cultural conservation and preservation. This peaceful, poetic, and music-driven action sends a message to Sen. Gardner about our shared values toward the love and protection of our Mother Earth, the health of our families, and our relentless faith in bridging differences through words and song! We refuse to believe we cannot reach the Senator and we continue to hope he will comply with his mandate to protect and represent his constituents by opposing actions that rollback public health protections, which disproportionately impact our communities,” said Irene Vilar, Founder & Director, Americas for Conservation + The Arts.
“This peaceful and creative action to seek a discussion with Sen. Gardener is fueled by the grave concern of Latino leaders over actions that the Trump Administration and lawmakers have already taken, and those actions still to come. We are facing the worst executive and legislative assault in history against the common-sense safeguards we all depend on to protect our environment and health, especially in communities of color, which are disproportionately affected by pollution and its effects,” said Linda Escalante with Voces Verdes. “At risk is the water we drink, the air we breathe, the health and future of our children.”
Public opinion is clear in Sen. Gardner’s state—over two-thirds of Coloradoans supportrestricting climate-causing emissions from existing coal plants and three-fourths support regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant. In 2015 alone, FEMA disaster spending in Colorado was nearly $35.4 million.“Current attempts by the Trump administration and Congress ignore public opinion and science, and promise to rollback all advances towards curbing emissions. This is a threat to public health and the prosperity of all Americans. Colorado as many other Western States, has borne the brunt of a decade of record breaking temperatures, floods, wildfires, low snowpack, and severe drought,” said Hilda Nucete, Protégete Program Director out of Conservation Colorado.
Colorado ranked fifth in the nation as a creator of wind energy jobs and 10th in the nation for solar jobs in 2015. This is the type of sustainable economic advancement that Senator Gardner and the federal government should support, instead of reversing course and returning to the dirty past of coal-burning power plants and fuels that make our climate unstable and place the health and prosperity of our communities at peril.