On November 11th, 2022, the Building Movement Project hosted a conversation with civic engagement and movement leaders based in New Mexico to discuss the challenges, opportunities, and successes of powerbuilding on, before and beyond Election Day.
BMP Consultant, Alicia Lueras Maldonado, moderated a panel discussion with Adriann Barboa, Field Director at Forward Together; Andrea Serrano, Executive Director at OLÉ; Oriana Sandoval, CEO at the Center for Civic Policy; and Laurie Weahkee, Consultant.
During the 60-minute webinar, the speakers celebrated the wins of the recent election, talked about the power of prioritizing unlikely voters, and discussed what the movement needs next to deepen support and solidarity.
Oriana- We now do have a constitutional right to Early Childhood Education in New Mexico, which is amazing and really puts us at the forefront of the country. I’m not sure any other state actually enshrines that right in our constitutional. So, that’s huge.
It was a huge undertaking. Shout out to everyone here and the participants. This was a statewide community led effort. It started a decade ago with an idea, and of course it was way too radical for the New Mexico legislators, but community kept coming back, literally community. It was like toddlers and kindergartners showing up to the Roundhouse year aYer year saying, “No. This is our vision, and this is what we want. This is how we envision transformative change for New Mexico and for our families.”
Laurie: I am really proud of the fact that a lot of the organizations here in New Mexico have really learned to deal with conflict both internally and externally.
It’s something that I think we need to continue to work with our new up and coming folks. How do you really deal with conflict and how do we really, because it’s important in terms of picking the right battles, because some of this stuff I feel we can get really caught up in this sort of liberation theology. I love a good inspirational speech. There’s nothing like it. It does fill your soul, but it’s also important to then say, well then how do we really do that? If we were to really work at that, how do we phase that in to make sure that those policies and people get like, “Ugh, we don’t want to talk about policies.”
Adriann- We are building power for our families year-round. We all have meaningful ways to contribute. We are fighting narratives that Natives are complacent. I know that our communities are craving political power and education, even in our indigenous and rural communities. We’ve been doing the work to prove it.
We took the risk and prioritized unlikely voters. In McKinley county, where our leaders did phone banking. 80% of the unlikely voters turned out in that election cycle. We have to extend beyond that “just win” mentality and stay focused on the long arc of power building.
Andrea- Resources are few and far in-between in NM. We have to work in coalition with a shared goal and a shared understanding of how to get there. If we don’t have a shared vision, we are not going to make much movement.
Watch the recording HERE.