My first memory of Javier Gonzales is walking along the Santa Fe river with him on East Alameda. He was telling me about running for mayor and was asking me about climate change and what policies he might advance to build on Mayor David Coss' initial instrumental solar projects. I remember his laughter, his smile, the sparkle in his eye and his sincere hug. I didn't know then that would be the beginning of many walks and talks.
Javier went on to ensure that the Santa Fe airport would be powered by 100% solar, enact a plastic bag ban, be a spokesperson for sanctuary cities, stand in solidarity with water protectors at Standing Rock, and and yes, stand up to PNM's greed. I heard him speak many times and he really grew into his position as mayoral spokesperson - from art openings to political events - he was personal and sophisticated. He was warm and genuine. Lots of people called him their friend.
Death has a way of sharpening and refocusing life's light. It feels important to reflect in these fleeting moments of clarity before the "reality" of life's demands once again takes over. I'd like to share a text exchange between us from 2020 when I was taking yet another tough position and was feeling "kicked about" when I reached out to my friend, Javier:
Mariel (3/2/2020): "Long time no text or speak - wondering if we can go on that walk we discussed. Hope you are thriving. You have faced being in the limelight and kicked about. I'm feeling it and want to hear how you pulled through." Javier (3/3/2020): "Always have time. I will tell you that it always seems bigger than what it is and to use this time to make sure your internal compass is healthy and calibrated (follow your heart free of emotion). Let me know what works. This week is full but next week we can take that walk."
Let the memory of Javier Gonzales be a blessing. Solace to his family and friends.