Youthful Activism And The World

Felina Romero Proves Her Mettle

August March
6 min read
Youthful Activism and the World
Felina Romero (Eric Williams Photography)
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A few weeks ago, Weekly Alibi reported on a meeting held in early February at the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice. The meeting was all about current citizen concerns amidst efforts to reform our local police department.

Many citizens attended, from local activist leader Tom Dent to several citizens whose interactions with APD have been less than positive. The story we wrote about the meeting ended up gracing the cover of that week’s
Alibi and some of the protesters and activists were portrayed on that cover. They represent the heart of a struggle to bring justice to the metro area, and their ongoing work with the local police is just one part of the bigger picture with regard to citizen activism in the city.

Though many spoke that day—and topics varied, as each citizen spoke from their personal experience—one person seemed to stand out in that gathering of disconsolate Burqueños seeking a better future.

Felina Romero addressed the meeting a couple of times. Each time that she did, the young local community organizer used a hopeful tone and balanced her criticism of the system with words that pointed to brighter tomorrow.

Ms. Romero

At 20 years old, Felina Romero is relatively new to her chosen role as an activist. She is a voice for youth in this town but she also increasingly finds herself in a leadership role, as the city juggles several controversies including the establishment of community policing.

Romero is also actively involved in other issues that affect the Duke City, from child hunger to education, from the tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women all the way through to the progressive Democratic proposal for
a Green New Deal.

As a member of
Youth United 4 Climate Crisis Action and the founder of locally based environmental social media group Save our 1 World, Romero recently returned from a protest held at the US Capitol Building in Washington DC, a political action where she was arrested—to begin planning further activities in the Albuquerque area.

Last Friday, she stopped by
Weekly Alibi headquarters to talk about her history and future, her intent and what it’s like to be a young human on the cusp of radical change in a world that is rapidly accelerating toward an unknown and potentially dangerous outcome.


Romero arrived at
Weekly Alibi on her longboard. It’s a well-used model with phat tires and the activist handles it with aplomb; she’s got solid technique and knows how to plant while retaining an ever so slightly forward-leaning posture that guarantees inertia but also demonstrates circumspection and keen awareness.

Upstairs in the conference room, our reporter wonders about the red handprint Romero has painted on her face, as if to cover her mouth. She says it’s a way to recognize and honor the
missing and murdered Indigenous women that our culture must reckon with. As she explains, she stashes her skateboard in a corner of the office, sits down at the main table and produces a wealth of documentation about her latest work as an organizer and activist.

Picking It Up

Romero says she got involved early when she began to “learn about the environmental impacts the Earth currently faces. I had a teacher who made me write an annotated bibliography on environmental ethics,” she further recalls about her environmental awakening, which she says happened about two years ago, when she was 18 years old.

“What really stuck out to me was when my sister took me to Redondo Beach in California. I began to see the amount of trash piled up on the streets. I realized that people are just laying in the sand, moving through the surrounding garbage and that has become normal to them. They don’t see it as a big deal anymore.”

In order to account for what she saw as errant human behavior, Romero began picking up trash—first in California, then back at home in New Mexico.

“There was a lot of trash at the beach. There’s trash in the ocean, in the animals, too. Whales who filter feed just suck that stuff in. After thinking about that, I went home and I started picking up trash around here. I would tell people about all the trash I picked up within a few blocks of home. I did that all last summer and decided to start my own organization to teach people to conserve, to take matters and actions into their own hands and to awaken their environmental conscience. It’s called Save Our 1 World 19; it’s on Instagram [at].”


Although Romero has been actively involved in more than a few political environmental actions across the state and in the region this year, her recent work in the US capitol was memorable, she told
Weekly Alibi.

“I applied for a scholarship with the
Sunrise Movement, a national youth climate change crisis organization. I got the scholarship, and they seriously paid for everything, so I could attend a series of workshops and trainings over four days.”

Romero says the experience focused on training facilitators for the movement, whose overarching goal, according to their website, is to build “an army of young people to make climate change an urgent priority across America, end the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executives on our politics, and elect leaders who stand up for the health and well being of all people.”

“We were told we were going to the Capitol on President’s Day to deliver public messages to members of Congress who are failing in the area of climate change. We told Senators to step up or step aside.” The group also hung banners denouncing those Senators with poor records on climate change who were present that day. “We had three speakers scheduled to speak,” she continued. “but they shut it all down. We started
to sing ‘Which Side Are You On.’”

Ultimately the group holding up the bigger banners was arrested, according to Romero.. After being released and returning to Albuquerque,
Weekly Alibi asked Romero if it was all worth it.

She said, “We are all really concerned about our health and well-being. We want to be able to breath clean air and drink clean water. So, yeah, it’s always worth it to peacefully protest.”

Romero concluded by telling our reporter that she is currently planning an Earth Day event to potentially happen at our city’s Civic Plaza.
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