This week we spoke with Luisa Piette, a community activist, and leader for LHP Communications in Londonderry, New Hampshire.
Luisa is a first-generation American and came to the United States to work for the federal government as a broadcaster for Voice of America. She has lived in Texas, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and is currently living in Londonderry, New Hampshire. Luisa was born in Guinea-Bissau and raised in Portugal. She studied law in the UK and has had a passion for human rights.
Luisa grew up under the Salazar regime and has seen relatives and friends tortured and killed. “I’ve seen relatives and friends of my parents either tortured or killed in prison for expressing their opinions and as a young child that was almost dramatized seeing an uncle I would see one day and then the next day he was dead,” explained Luisa in her origin story. “I vowed to fight for justice at the age of seven.” Luisa believes that if you can’t change the laws then you can’t help the people you want to help.
Using the law to advocate for equality is a way to inform people about their rights and create welcoming communities for all people. “In today’s world, there is no more excuse for folks to be divided and for people to live in one area because of their beliefs and others that live in a corner,” explained Luisa when clarifying the mission of her work.
In Londonderry, water contamination is an issue that limits residents from using their wells and getting access to clean water. “This is the reason why I went into politics and then I joined a group of concerned citizens called the Londonderry, NH Citizens for Clean Water because without water we can not have a healthy population,” explained Luisa in the issues of water sanitation in Londonderry. Unclean water can lead to cancer, kidney issues, gastrointestinal issues, and so many diseases.
“New Hampshire has the highest pediatric cancer in the nation,” explained Luisa. The cause of this issue is caused by pollutants and is an issue that politicians have set aside for years. “If Republicans would allow all voices to be heard and stop gerrymandering so more people that have different opinions can be elected to office and people that believe in environmental justice, racial justice, equality, and get elected, we would have a better oversight in these corporations,” clarified Luisa in explaining the truth behind the water sanitation issues in Londonderry.
Many wonder what is happening in our societies that allow certain groups to thrive and inhibit others from achieving their full potential and taking hold of the highest roles in the land. We have to first ask ourselves if our communities are welcoming? “The LGBTQ+ community has the highest number of homeless people in New Hampshire,” explained Luisa as she was explaining how divided New Hampshire is. From Luisa’s experiences, it seems that New Hampshire is struggling to explain critical race theory, immigrant communities and their rights to asylum, and the history of New Hampshire. Simply getting more Democrats in the pipeline does not make Londonderry less racist. “When I moved here, they made me go five times to the DMV before I got my license and I had all my paperwork with me. I’m married to a Caucasian man and I took him with me one time and I was literally hiding behind him so he could help me get my license,” explained Luisa when explaining the complexities of diversity, equity, and inclusivity within New Hampshire. “The government is racist.” This is the reason why people of marginalized groups do not come to New Hampshire. The politicians that govern New Hampshire are hostile against marginalized communities and fail to promote inclusivity for all people.
The goal for Luisa and for other activists in the New Hampshire community is to encourage others to recognize Hispanic Heritage Month, Black History Month, Pride Month, and make sure that all populations are well represented. “Think globally and act locally,” said Luisa as her last message for inspiring others to recognize the issues that exist within our world, and to act in ways that make the world better than how it was before.
Londonderry, Citizens for Clean Water Facebook Page
Town of Londonderry, New Hampshire
Testimonials on Acts of Racism in America
Londonderry Community For Science