Over the past few months, the resiliency and strength of communities all across New Mexico have been in full view as people come together to support each other through the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, the pandemic has caused disproportionate harm to communities of color, worsening disparities in health and economic well-being. Just as public policies entrenched systemic racism, they can be used to dismantle it.
During this public health emergency, New Mexico needs to do all it can to shore up essential services, take care of frontline workers, and extend a hand to New Mexicans who are sick, unable to work, or struggling to provide for their families. But falling tax revenue has put at risk New Mexico’s ability to protect our communities. While the path forward won’t be easy, lawmakers can steer us toward an equitable recovery by putting families first.
The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the brutal truth that the economic divide between the haves and have-nots – caused by centuries of discrimination and enshrined in unfettered capitalism – is not simply a quality-of-life matter. It is, in fact, a matter of life and death.
Even with social distancing, the coronavirus pandemic has made it clear how interconnected we all are – that the health of an entire community is dependent on the health of each of its members. For the community to be healthy, everyone must have access to health care, shelter, and nutritious food.
On Wednesday, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham took the necessary step of declaring a state of emergency in New Mexico in order to address the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As the state moves forward with immediate activity to address the health implications of this global pandemic, we also urge lawmakers to consider enacting policies that will help mitigate its economic fallout for families and children in New Mexico.
How much income a family earns determines where they live, what access they have to schools, food, and health care, as well as the amount of stress they experience in making ends meet. Evidence shows that tax credits for working families are critical for not only putting money back into the hands of these consumers, but also for improving their health and well-being. New Mexico's Working Families Tax Credit brings these benefits to families and could do more if it were increased.
The past decade of austerity has been hard on New Mexico’s children. Still, we are optimistic about the future because we believe in the strength and resiliency of New Mexico’s families. We know we can build stronger communities and support more resilient families and children so that they can thrive. But we can only build a stronger New Mexico if our policymakers are willing to provide the revenue we need to make these investments.
One of the best things about living in New Mexico is the abundance of great natural beauty and opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether it’s the view from just about any rural highway or one of the many state and national parks and forests, New Mexico boasts some of the most beautiful land in the nation. It is a heritage that all proud New Mexicans want to protect for future generations, a pride woven into our culture. The preservation of our public lands is a sacred trust, but it’s being made more difficult by the inaction of Congress.
A proposed rule change by the Trump administration may lead to thousands of New Mexico children not receiving health insurance and food assistance even though they're eligible -- all because of where their parents were born. Find out more about 'public charge' and what you can do to help stop these changes.
This year’s conference Childhood Trauma: From Symptoms to Systems Change, will take a hard look at ACEs – what causes them, what can be done to prevent them, and how we can promote resiliency. We will look at the importance of building trauma-informed practices throughout our agencies and organizations.