Over two decades ago, Robby Romero created several public service announcements for MTV’s Free Your Mind Campaign. These video clips helped to dispel long-held misconceptions about Native Peoples in Popular Culture.
These groundbreaking PSA’s and the politicized Rockumentary films that followed, placed Robby in the Front Lines of activism against ingrained prejudice, cliché stereotypes, noble savage mythology and the derogatory labels that accompany them. In January of 1994, Free Your Mind won the Industry’s prestigious CableAce Award.
In January of 2015, 21 years later, the campaign continues but this time, it’s here at home, in Taos.
In the Summer of 2014, Robby approached Robert Mirabal to join him in his effort to convince the Town of Taos to change the name of Kit Carson Park, to Red Willow Park in honor of the Tiwa/Red Willow People who have lived at Taos Pueblo for over 2000 years. Robby and Robert envisioned a musical collaboration that would bring the multi-cultural community of Taos together, culminating with a concert (in the park, of course) and Iron Horse was born.
Upon the announcement by the Town declaring the official name change of the park, incredible controversy both National and local, swirled around the decision. The Town then rescinded but made good on their original call by voting that the name would in fact be changed but to what, they did not know.
taosfriction gave it a lot of coverage at the time, but as of now the entire issue remains in limbo.
With the Superbowl looming, the ongoing Redskins Name controversy inevitably arises, whether the team plays or not, this year here in Taos, it really feels like time to put these old ideas to rest.
Last week Iron Horse filmed a music video and PSA at Dennis Hopper’s El Cortez Theater, who by the way was quite the activist himself. Young Dennis traveled to Selma to artistically document the Historical Civil Rights March. The photographs he took that day are powerful reminders that people have the ability to effect change.
Now Robby and Robert are pressing on with a petition in the works to force the Town’s hand in changing the name. The Iron Horse video will support their Summer Of The Red Willow Campaign and you can get involved and lend a hand by signing their petition when it goes online and tweeting our Iron Horse posts (all tagged and archived on one page) with the following intro: #SummerOfTheWillow #ChangeTheName. The petition will be launched on nativechildrenssurvival.org
Iron Horse will be back on the first Friday of every month with more Taos Tales. Look for them then and thanks for staying with us these past 9 weekends!
We have another giveaway today, actually two more.
How old was Dennis Hopper when he traveled to Selma?
When did Dennis Hopper buy the El Cortez Theater?
Winners get a signed cd and poster!
Photographs of Iron Horse members Robby Romero and Robert Mirabal at the El Cortez by Heather Lynn Sparrow