Howdy and Hola from Denver!
Betty got here late last night and wasted no time getting majorly lost not far from -I am not kidding - "Gun Club Road" while searching in vain for the city center. One funny thing about the drive in from the Denver airport is that downtown shines and beckons like Oz, but the rest of the metro area is SO QUIET. She couldn't see the Rockies in the darkness, but now she can, and they are a comforting presence that reflect the sunlight mysteriously.
When Betty lived in Santiago, Chile, she loved how it would be scorching hot on the ground and you could still see lots of snow in the mountains. Today is unseasonably mild downtown, but there's that snow blanket, outlining the spikes and crags on the horizon!
Downtown Denver is low to the ground and maintains a trading post feel. It's very quiet on the streets during the day. Betty is scared of the Coors-sponsored brand of Republicanism that has great influence, financial and therefore cultural, in Colorado. Ultra-evangelical and right-wing Colorado Springs isn't far from here. The immigrant rights struggle in this state continues to face great adversity from outspoken hate groups and frightened or closed-off politicians. Of course, Betty has not actually MET Denver's boogeymen, and all the Coloradans she has encountered have been startlingly, midwesternly friendly. She misses New York, but not the quiet grimaces.
Today Denver visited El Centro Humanitario Para Los Trabajadores, a unique workers' center and member of NDLON that has members from all of the world (this morning Betty met workers from Mexico, Peru, Australia, Russia, and the U.S.). Betty was inspired by the members' spirit, but dispirited by the lack of financial support the center has faced because people don't want to provoke the Minutemen, who are active in Colorado (which, remember, is the home of Tom Tancredo). The workers have made the space their own (they painted it inside and out and constructed the offices and lockers inside), and although job season has been slow this winter, remained in optimistic spirits. I want to highlight the work of their women's group, which runs successful sewing and cooking business (and let Betty try some yummy Tamales), and beautifies the center with their art, like this awesome Spongebob pinata.