By Priscilla Cordova,
On Saturday, March 18th, we’ll be celebrating the one year anniversary of the Sand to Snow, Mojave Trails and Castle Mountains National Monuments with a pop-up photo exhibition at Division 9 Gallery that I am curating as part of my internship with the Hispanic Access Foundation.
Hispanic Access Foundation is working to make sure that the new monuments are accessible to Latino communities who make up at least half of the residents near the monuments. Conjointly, we want to bring the monuments to the people of Riverside and San Bernardino. With this in mind, we gathered photographs that convey a taste of what these lands have to offer to create this photo exhibition.
Five photographers from the desert will be sharing their images of the monuments with Inland Empire residents, along with stories about their explorations of the Sand to Snow, Castle Mountains and Mojave Trails National Monuments. The photographers are: Mariana Maguire, Frazier Haney, Jack Thompson, David Lamfrom and Mark Lundquist.
The other artist whose work will also be on display is that of my uncle, Cosme Cordova, whose exhibit, titled Lodo Creations, will be displayed through March 31. He is a multimedia artist who is committed to the preservation of Latino culture.
I was fortunate to participate in another event hosted by organizations in the California Desert Coalition to clean up an area overlooking the Mojave Trails National Monument. The experience was an eye opener to the realization that we have such beautiful varying landscapes just around the corner. It was refreshing to see a community gathering together to create a nature trail to preserve these public lands and ensure their beauty can be enjoyed for generations to come.
I am learning that although these monuments were protected using the Antiquities Act, they could face threats from the President or members of Congress interested in removing some or all of the protection afforded to them. Even the Antiquities Act, which allows Presidents to protect public lands of special historical or scientific significance, is under threat. I encourage others to get to know these places because I hope that, when you do, you will be heartened and inspired, just as I was, to engage in their stewardship and speak out for their protection.
For more information about Monumental Anniversary events including a tour of a WWII Training Camp in the California Desert to a Fun Run/ Walk, visit 3monuments.org/oneyear and maybe I’ll see you there!