Community Activism Creates Legacy in Riverton, WY
In 1986, Manito (Chicanos of New Mexican origin) residents living in the South Park Barrio of Riverton, Wyoming were frustrated at the city’s neglect of their neighborhood. After various attempts to incite action among local leaders to address road conditions in the barrio, the residents took it upon themselves to improve the then dirt roads that ran through their side of town. Most of the residents in the barrio demonstrated a communal activism not seen often in Riverton and worked tirelessly for weeks to pave the roads and create sidewalks. The community did not rely on outside sources; instead, they used the skills they had to perform manual labor and domestic tasks to complete the project. Barrio residents in 1986 carefully documented this historic event through photography, video, and poetry. As an important moment in Wyoming’s social justice history, a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the South Park Paving Project is planned for July 2016. As part of the larger Following the Manito Trail: Los nuevomexicanos en Guayomin research project, Herrera and Fonseca will work with the Manito community in Riverton to ensure the success of this important event by documenting both the historical and the contemporary materials of the South Park Paving Project. Our research methods include the collection of oral histories and archival documents (both from families and government/state agencies) and the digital documentation of communities through photography and video. Our goal is to create a visual and historical representation of the Manito people who live in this region as a way to highlight and celebrate the ways in which they have engaged in community activism.
Director Levi Romero, Director Vanessa Fonseca, Producer Adam Herrera, Research Assistant Trish Martinez, Research Assistant Robert Perea
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