Good Afternoon Everyone!!
The day is beautiful here in Santa Fe. Around New Mexico, we have been experiencing some unseasonably warm weather and the Junipers have begun to bloom. This blooming has caused those who are allergic to go haywire. In offices everywhere people are walking around in zombie-like states, have bloodshot eyes, and the incessant sneeze/sniffle. If you are one of these people, I hope you can still enjoy this summary and pictures from our event on February 17, 2016. Maybe you will forget your runny nose, itchy eyes, or dry mouth for a few minutes. . . Either way, thanks for spending a few minutes with us.
This year, the DWI MOS/MOH was a little different than years prior. Firstly, the day was named by the SWAT High School Interns and was entitled Day Y: Youth Taking Action. For those that may not know, anyone born in the early-1980's through 2000's is considered part of Generation Y. The Interns decided that the day was about youth and their voice, hence the Day Y title. Furthermore, they were adamant about the fact that if their generation made a conscious decision to not drink and drive, DWI would effectively be eliminated.
The Press Conference was 100% YOUTH-LED. The SWAT Interns (Molly Mannila (SFHS), Anthony Rivera (SFHS), Jose Medina (CHS), Jasmine Baez (CHS), Nidhi Kanabar (ATC), and Veronica Hutchison (ATC)) worked very hard to bring this event to their peers and the public in attendance at the Rotunda. In the weeks and months leading up to the event, we gathered together to workshop speeches and skits, write introductions for speakers, and analyze the overall flow of this Press Conference. This process was both exhausting and empowering. Seeing these youth take ownership and pride over this event was surely a sight to see. We also had some amazing speakers and performances to aid in the success of this part of the day. Special thanks to Dr. Joel Boyd, Superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools; US Congressman Ben Ray Lujan; Jennifer Romero, chair of the Education Committee of the Santa Fe Prevention Alliance; Doug Shupe, AAA New Mexico Senior Public Affairs Specialist; Santa Fe Prep student Greta Brown; ATC student Max Manzanares; and ATC student Alfredo Martinez for their speeches and performances! It is still a mystery how we fit this much awesomeness into 45 minutes!!
Immediately after the Press Conference, Nelson Alarcon, CHS drummer and student, led us into our Silent March around the Santa Fe Plaza. As people proceeded out the east doors of the Roundhouse, SF Prep students handed out 118 balloons to symbolically carry the spirit of the 118 people who lost their lives to DWI in 2015. Santa Fe Prep's Art Project, led by Francis Castillo, was a striking and powerful reminder of the dangers of drinking and driving. The presence of the NM State Police, SF Police Department, and the NM Sheriff's Office was profound! A special thank you is in order for their assistance in the event and continual work to combat DWI in our great state. Upon return to the Roundhouse, the SWAT students posed for their photo opportunity and then returned to their respective schools.
Overall, the day was a great success! The New Mexico sunshine was a large participant along with over 250 youth and an incredible amount of community support. I would like to personally thank all who helped to make this day what it was. It takes a village. We could not have done this without your time and energy. So, thank you!
-Brendon Baca (Student Wellness Action Team Coordinator)