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Just Like Riding a Bike

Chainbreaker Collective celebrates 20 years with a new location

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With the COVID-19 pandemic no longer dominating daily life, Chainbreaker Collective will host its final vaccine pop-up in partnership with Presbyterian Medical Center, and use the last of a 2022 $100,000 grant from the state Department of Health’s Better Together program as it celebrates its new location.

After a three-month hiatus, the membership-based economic and environmental justice organization will host the grand opening event for its new 1519 Fifth St. building from 2 to 4 pm, Sunday, June 23 with the opportunity for individuals to receive COVID, measles, shingles and other vaccinations. The event will also feature food, music and a bike show and giveaway.

Executive Director Tomás Rivera describes the upcoming vaccine opportunity as “the last big hurrah” as members embark on a new era. He tells SFR the organization, which launched in 2004 as a bike shop just down the road from the new location, has always been a “people-centered social justice organization,” meaning the issues it focuses on come directly from leadership and members. Vaccine education and outreach rose to the top of that list during the height of the pandemic, when members heard about struggles with access and general misinformation.

“That’s really why we started doing vaccine outreach,” Rivera says. “It was about making sure that the people who were really most at risk of COVID and facing the biggest problems with COVID were able to receive care.”

He says the organization was able to secure the funding because of the trust it has built with the community and partners.

But as that to-do list piled up over the years, Communications Director Cathy Garcia tells SFR the group “basically outgrew” the former location. The group leased the new space in November 2023, and efforts to relocate began in March, she says, adding while the exact location wasn’t always certain, the area it would be in was.

“Every space has been a stone’s throw from each other,” Garcia says. “It’s been very important for us to be in the Hopewell/Mann neighborhood.”

Garcia adds the new location comes alongside new staff, including Andreas Archuleta, who will head the organization’s new Bicycle Resource Center—a revamped version of the program that existed at the previous location. The team has collected bicycles, 12 of which they will give out at the event while saving others for future events.

“Andreas is very active in the Albuquerque bike scene and the local bike polo, and they’re getting us back connected to other bike organizations like Bike Santa Fe that we have maintained connections with, but we haven’t been able to really be as robust, because a lot of our focus was on the need for tenant organizing and things,” Garcia says.

The new location symbolizes “a return to form,” she says, because in the last several years, the organization has been more focused on “the immediate crisis” of COVID-19, the Midtown redevelopment and more.

“I think a lot of organizations underwent the same shrinking during the pandemic and this sense of, ‘Oh my gosh, we better streamline exactly what it is we’re doing,’” Garcia says. “Then as the world started to improve a little bit in that sense, everyone started peeking their heads out and going, ‘OK, well, what do we do now?’”

The group will also host a table at Santa Fe Pride on the Plaza June 29, as well as several outreach events in August, she adds.

“That’s also really exciting because, now that we have a little more room to breathe, we can also start doing some of the more sympathetic organizing that we haven’t been able to do because we’ve been so laser focused,” Garcia says. “Not to say that the crisis has disappeared, but as we’re expanding space and staff, we have more space to think and be creative about what’s next.”

Rivera says he’s “excited” for the future of the organization that celebrates its 20th birthday this year.

“We’re looking forward to getting back in the community and organizing and making sure we build power for our people,” he says.

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