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NM’s Minority Groups Form Alliance to Address Concerns, Beginning With Elections

The New Mexico Human Services Department decided to place more requirements on people on food stamps resulting in minority groups forming an alliance.

It is well documented that New Mexico has some of the highest percentages of poverty and hunger in the country. Recently, the New Mexico Human Services Department decided to place more job and training requirements on people receiving food stamps. In response, members of the Native American, African American, Latino and Jewish communities created a new group called the New Mexico People’s Solidarity Alliance.

“We looked out across the landscape and didn’t like what we saw. We didn’t like what was happening in our communities, villages, and our neighborhoods. We didn’t like seeing the huge pockets of poverty and the large sections of our communities struggling to survive,” said Conroy Chino from Acoma Pueblo, and a longtime news reporter in the Albuquerque TV market. “We didn’t like seeing our families and our children going unfed and hungry.”

A press conference was held recently at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque and it was highlighted with the signing of a Declaration of Unity by members of the alliance. The five pressing topics of hunger, poverty, jobs, healthcare and education are the major concerns, but the alliance feels they can be addressed most directly through participation in the upcoming elections.

A spokesperson for the alliance, Kathy Gorospe from Laguna Pueblo and president of the New Mexico Indian Bar Association, stated the alliance is united in an effort to elect New Mexico leaders of character, integrity, ability and vision who are committed to delivering results for all New Mexicans. The alliance desires that the state’s leadership commit to ensuring excellence in education, reinvesting in infrastructure, preserving a social safety network, providing accessible healthcare, assuring economic justice, and creating economic opportunity for all New Mexicans.

Reverend Darnell Smith, President of the Fellowship of African American Ministers in New Mexico said, “As we look around us, and look at state government, we are quite troubled by the fact that people of color are always left out and continue to be the ones that are never included. So we come together with great excitement and anticipation to join this alliance, this solidarity group, in order to make a difference in our state. The members of our organization are pledging our total support. We stand ready to march along the roads, the highways, and the byways.”

“We have an increase in the number of people living in poverty, and we know that poverty has a greater impact on minority communities than other communities,” remarked New Mexico Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gary King. “When we look at what’s happening to our education system, it’s not serving the young people and it’s certainly not serving all of the communities of New Mexico.

“If people band together, if they work together they can take their communities back. We can get New Mexico back on the right track if everybody works together,” said King, who is the current New Mexico Attorney General and whose running mate for Lt. Gov. is Debra Haaland of Laguna Pueblo. “Our diversity is our strength. Deb and I are committed to the same vision. We need equality for all the people of New Mexico and equal opportunity for all people to be successful.

The Alliance declared a list of their Principles of Unity: Diversity deserves inclusivity; community is unity; economic security must be accessible to all families; hunger and poverty are unacceptable; affordable health care for everyone; workers need protection; time to invest in a world class public education system; teachers are worthy of support; support for training and re-training; and preserve New Mexico’s natural resources.

“We are tired of being poor, we are tired of our children going to bed hungry, we are tired of being jobless with minimal healthcare,” remarked Lovie McGee, President of the African American Cultural Association. “We are tired of our kids being poorly educated, depriving them of the ability and the skills to learn and earn. Simply put, we are tired of being ignored and overlooked.”