Here is the statement I read on the House Floor tonight, in support of HJR1, which allows New Mexico voters to vote yes or no on whether or not we tap into the Land Grant Permanent Fund for Early Childhood Education.
Tonight, the House of Representatives is debating HJR1 –if passed in the House and Senate, can send a constitutional amendment to New Mexico voters. This constitutional amendment would give voters an opportunity to vote on whether we should tap into the Land Grant Permanent Fund to invest in Early Childhood Education. I just got done speaking on the floor in full support. Here is my statement.
“I want to thank the sponsors once again, for working tirelessly for keeping up the momentum, and bringing this legislation back to this House floor.
I rise today, not only to support this legislation, but to also speak to the underlying issue that fundamentally cripples this state.
I don’t want belabor you with questions, and stats—but instead of just some reflections that I’ve written out, which is helpful for me to better articulate, especially after sitting here listening.
I want to speak to, and what I’ve always described as “New Mexico’s “identity crisis,” and that is—the issue of institutional and structural racism.
Now, I’m not talking about the explicit racism and the discrimination that exists in our world, or the ugliness of what our country has and is experiencing.
What I am speaking to, is the construction of policies and practices that have been implemented, sometimes not even intentionally, and yet have lead to outcomes that place racial groups on an unequal playing field.
This history is complex.
This history is messy.
Some of that complex and messy history also includes the Land Grant Permanent Fund.
This fund is fundamentally based on inequitable and unfair policy practices.
The lands that generate revenue for this fund, are funds that come from the lands that were seized from Native American’s, and like Rep. Lente eloquently touched upon earlier, this goes as far back as treaties like the Guadalupe Hidalgo, and from Spanish and Mexican claims—Ancestry of which I come from.
No one in this body was a part of designing this system, but what was created by the thought processes of those from our past, governing under a very complex and a very messy history, we not only perpetuate it unconsciously, but we are also now left responsible to not only address it,
but to confront it—as uncomfortable that that might be.
I am here to speak and stand for those who were left out, and in many times, silenced.
But I am also here to speak on behalf of those voices we are silencing today, by not giving our communities an opportunity to voice their vote for their future.
New Mexico’s future.
Today, we as a legislative body in 2020—now have an opportunity to rewrite this complex and messy history.
Today, we as a legislative body in 2020, now have the opportunity to completely reimagine a new New Mexico, one that lives into abundance, and not operating from a place of scarcity.
This legislation, while it does not eradicate all this messy and complex history, rather is the first step to rewriting it.
I stand here today, inviting you all to join me in being bold enough to rewrite this complex and messy history with me.
I invite you today, to vote yes, and to trust New Mexican’s enough to consider their own future—that they, unlike our ancestors, can be in control of their own destiny.
WE know, and you and Rep. Martinez have shared with us time and time again, that this investment in early childhood education, signals a clear commitment to healing centuries long institutional racism in our state, fulfilling a promise to our kids that their health, their quality of life, and their futures not only come first, but are integral to the healing that we all need to move forward.
The healing we all need from that very complex history.
The healing we all need from that very messy past.
Thank you to the Gentlemen from Bernalillo, for bringing this issue to us once again, and for keeping it going.
I have supported it before.
I will support it today.
And I will support it every single year until our people can lend their own voice.
I ask and urge the membership of this very privileged body, to join me in supporting it as well.
Thank you, Gentleman. Thank you Madame Speaker.