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City Council honors community safety advocate

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — As boosters for the West Side go, Ruby Tafoya was a big one, City Councilor Ken Sanchez told her family at a recent council meeting.

“I really give your mom the credit first because she was the big advocate trying to keep our community and neighborhood safe and taught your dad (Louis) everything he knew about neighborhood advocacy,” Sanchez said to family members and everyone in attendance.

The late Louis and Ruby “Jane” Tafoya, among their involvements, served as co-chairs of the Crime Prevention Committee in the Lavaland Vecinos (later West Mesa) Neighborhood Association and started the Westside Weed and Seed Program, according to the city.

Now, Ruby is receiving some recognition – alongside her husband.

The City Council on May 15 passed a resolution that adds Ruby Tafoya’s name to the Louis Tafoya Community Room at the Shawn McWethy Memorial Substation in the Albuquerque Police Department’s Southwest Area Command on Los Volcanes NW, near Coors.

The resolution, sponsored by area representative Sanchez, was adopted unanimously.

The resolution says, through her community service over decades, along with her husband, Ruby Tafoya “honored and supported our police officers.”

“Ruby worked tirelessly with the elected officials, the police department, and the community towards the safety of the Westside,” it also reads.

Two of Ruby and Louis Tafoya’s children addressed the council when the resolution was taken up for a vote.

“My mom also was a big children’s rights advocate,” daughter Elena Trotter told councilors. “So she marched in the neighborhoods with my dad and the community leaders. Before you heard about community organization or community organizers there were people in the community like my mom who – they didn’t march against police, they didn’t march against the city, they didn’t talk disparagingly about cultures that were different. They marched within their community to the troubled areas and said, ‘This is our community for our kids, our families, everyone’s invited, everyone’s welcome, but we have to make it safe.'”

In fact, Sanchez thanked the family for the time they missed with their mother and father because they were so engaged in community work.

“That seemed to be their passion, their love, next to their family,” Sanchez said.