MLK, Cesar Chavez street name debate divisive in Roswell

A proposal to rename two Roswell streets after civil rights icons Martin Luther King Jr. and César Chávez is bringing attention to a growing dispute in the city. A public meeting in the city’s downtown library last week, according to the Roswell Daily Record “illustrat[ed] a deep ethnic divide” in the city between Hispanics and Anglos. The newspaper reports that “19 people who appeared to be Anglo” spoke in opposition to renaming the streets while four people who were “clearly Hispanic” spoke in favor. No final decisions were made, and some city councilors are characterizing vocal opposition to the street renaming proposal as racial in nature. The Associated Press spoke to one city councilor who had a theory on the opponents of the name change.

Organizing to improve ‘abysmal’ turnout in changing Roswell

ROSWELL — In southeast New Mexico, advocacy groups like Somos Un Pueblo Unido are making efforts to get the Latino vote out. Recently, we reported on Somos’ efforts to help permanent immigrant residents apply for U.S. citizenship and vote in next year’s elections. Getting new people to register to vote marks one big step, but it doesn’t guarantee they’ll actually cast a ballot. Those who say they want to make Roswell’s conservative politics more reflective of its growing Latino population stress that the ballot box is essential. Both Chaves County, which includes Roswell, and nearby Lea County are now majority Latino.

New Roswell businesses reflect increased Latino population

ROSWELL — Count Saul and Claudia Rubalcaba among a growing demographic that’s changing Southeastern New Mexico. Both came to the state 15 years ago from a town just outside of Chihuahua City, Mexico. As they settled into a new city, Claudia started working at a restaurant called Taqueria Jalisco while Saul worked as a plumber fixing sprinklers. Last year, the married couple got an offer from Taqueria Jalisco’s owners—move to Roswell and manage a new franchise on the south side of the city. “In the beginning we said no,” Saul explained in an interview on a recent weekday sitting with Claudia in a booth in their restaurant.