Letter: Flores was an activist to the core

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By The Staff

We’ve lost yet another significant member of our community. On Monday, Oct. 19, Steve Flores passed away. Thankfully, he was at home with his family, where he wanted to be.

Steve was founder and president of the Northern New Mexico Hispano Coalition. He was a founding and active member of the San Miguel County Detention Center Citizen Advisory Committee. Steve’s advocacy work on behalf of those unjustly treated by the system was invaluable.

Here are just a few more of his many contributions: His initiative for the volunteer fire department in his village; his leadership around the police oversight commission and Tasers; his involvement with land grant and acequia work; his tireless lobbying of our legislators on behalf of our community, particularly those most disenfranchised; his membership on the Rio Gallinas School Governing Council (he really cared about the students); his concerns about the oil and gas industry’s potential to exploit la gente and the land and water; his faithful commitment to the Las Vegas Peace and Justice Center from day one; his vocal support for the local hospital workers and their union efforts; and his determination to get as far as he could in bringing a reintegration center to our region (to provide chemical dependency treatment, detox, and workforce training to those most in need).

He did all of this, and much more, despite a regimen of dialysis 5-6 times a day for 18 years.

Steve was an integral part of this community. And he did it all as a volunteer, never getting paid for any of his work. He simply served his community because he cared. He will be deeply missed.

For me personally, I learned so much from him about community advocacy “Steve-style.” It didn’t matter that I was an Anglo, or an “outsider.” I was fully embraced, and we worked together on many projects. Thanks to Steve, so much has been accomplished. But also, so much remains to be completed. In his memory, we will continue on with those projects.

Steve was an activist to the core. It was in his bones. We need to keep his advocacy energy alive in our community.

Our sympathies go out to Steve’s wife, Sally Flores, and their amazing children, Sarah and Estevan and Sebastian. They will be sure to keep Steve’s legacy alive. They are incredible activists in their own right, thanks in part to how Steve and Sally raised them.

We love you, Steve. Thanks for everything. Onward — in your honor.

Pat Leahan

Las Vegas Peace & Justice Center