We want to reaffirm to you our commitment to calling out racism, systemic oppression of our communities, and right wing extremists. Period. Our families’ lives depend on it. We will not be intimidated into doing otherwise by anyone from the extreme right or from folx we still consider friends. That’s not who we are.
This week, new details have surfaced regarding former ProgressNow New Mexico Executive Director and Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis’ shooting of a Black man while working as a cop in Washington D.C. Davis originally founded ProgressNow New Mexico but left the organization in 2017 and while his name is attached to the organization and its beginnings, we want to state clearly that his past and present actions are not reflective of ProgressNow New Mexico values.
ProgressNow New Mexico is dedicated to dismantling racism in all forms, to listening to Black and Indigenous voices calling for the dismantling of systems that hold up racism including defunding the police, and the prospect that centering Black lives should drive every aspect of progressive political policy.
“ProgressNow New Mexico finds it imperative to continue calling out racism when we see it and holding perpetrators accountable for their actions,” said Alissa Barnes, Executive Director of ProgressNow New Mexico. “No matter who that person is.”
Part of our accountability work as an organization is to investigate bad behavior by bad actors. Unfortunately, Davis’ shooting of a Black man isn’t the only example of his troubling actions. A pattern has unearthed that continues into the present. After Davis moved to Albuquerque he had multiple civil rights complaints lodged against him while serving as a cop at the University of New Mexico.
Later, as he ran for elected office, Davis reflected on his experience as a cop, utilizing a “tough on crime” narrative, referencing his time as “zero-tolerance cop- the kind you wouldn’t want to pull you over”.
You need to know that the Proud Boys are the same people as the Boogaloo Bois, are the same people as the NM Civil Guard- the people who protected their shooter buddy yesterday. The City of Albuquerque Police Chief Michael Gier said that APD will be holding the NM Civil Guard accountable “to the fullest extent of the law, including federal hate group designation and prosecution” … but the Proud Boys are already designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Southern Poverty Law Center has done extensive pieces on the Boogaloo Bois- the armed militia group the showed up to “protect property” at a George Floyd Vigil in Las Cruces last week. These are the same people with the same ideals- to protect White Supremacy including the monuments that glorify it, like the Onate statue. Last year, we covered the Proud Boys and the Hiwaymen’s “flag-waving” rally in support of Trump, where shortly after the “rally” they pulled a gun on a community member.
Let’s face it— it’s been a crazy primary season. Some people armed themselves with hand sanitizer and face masks as they headed to the polls while others made use of their absentee ballots by mailing them or dropping them off at their respective polling places. Together, we adapted to a global pandemic and exercised our right to vote. This year, ballots are taking a little longer than usual to count, but we can already see that real change is here. Election Night Loser: The oil and gas industry.
*This morning (5/14) we were contacted by candidate Adrian Carver to change a portion of this story. Carver pointed out that his offense was civil, not criminal. While we have changed the error, we are once again disappointed in Carver for his double-down attempt to re-criminalize his opponent instead of acknowledging and reflecting on his own hypocritical and racist actions. As a progressive organization, we’ve always taken a lead on calling out racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. Usually, it’s directed at conservative political players.
Earlier this year, Donald Trump announced that New Mexico was going to be a priority target state for his campaign in 2020. It was only a matter of time before we could expect well-connected out-of-state interests to meddle in our elections like they have been doing in other states across the nation. Enter the operatives: True the Vote and the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) are two shady, out-of-state political shops that pride themselves on suppressing votes for conservative gain. And they’re coordinating to suppress the vote here in New Mexico by instituting barriers at every step of the process.
True the Vote funds lawsuits to purge voter rolls and suppress mail-in ballot efforts while PILF acts as the right-wing legal accomplice that, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, often uses false information to justify their lawsuits. And it doesn’t stop there.
It’s hard to miss: social media posts, newspaper articles, TV news segments, emails, text messages, billboards… all directing residents to stay at home unless essential services are needed to slow the spread of COVID-19. So why are anti-abortion extremists in New Mexico (and nationally) still gathering in front of medical facilities to harass women who are seeking reproductive care?
Extremists like Right to Life New Mexico, 40 Days for Life New Mexico, the Sidewalk Advocates for Life and Abortion Free New Mexico mock the severity of the COVID-19 global pandemic with their actions which, ironically, endanger their own lives and the lives of their members, in addition to clinic patients. Amid this global pandemic, these groups are seen gathering to harass women who are seeking abortion and other forms of reproductive healthcare at local clinics.
To the detriment of their members, these extremist groups are deliberately misleading their followers, spreading dangerously false information that “we’re close to a cure” for COVID-19 (See graphic below), endangering the lives of their members, the families that live with them and the public they subsequently interact with. The apparent “right to life” groups seem to have a blatant disregard for the living.
It’s no surprise that extremist marching orders seem to be coming from Donald Trump, who, despite his own advisors warning the public about the severity of the pandemic, continues a drumbeat that underplays the severity of the outbreak here in the United States.
But anti-abortion groups are no stranger to blocking access to healthcare, no matter the cost to human lives. Alongside a history of violence and bombings at abortion clinics, the exploitation of COVID-19 is one of the many disgusting and opportunistic actions this “movement” has engaged in- from the national level, all the way down to our neighborhoods.
In case you missed it, here are some more recent examples:
At the national level, anti-abortion lawmakers snuck dangerous anti-abortion language into the coronavirus bill.In several states across the U.S. anti-abortion lawmakers have deemed abortion as non-essential, endangering the lives of women across their state who are seeking medical care.
This week, hundreds of New Mexicans showed up to continue the stand for abortion access and reproductive justice. Respect New Mexico Women Coalition led the charge to help families find their lawmakers to make sure their voices were heard. The pressure is on New Mexico lawmakers to keep abortion safe and legal in our state, as the potential gutting of Roe. v Wade hangs in the balance within the coming months.
Generations of families and women’s healthcare supporters flooded the roundhouse despite the snowy and icy weather conditions. (The epitome of “… but nevertheless, she persisted.”) There is usually angst and animosity on rally/lobby days for the anti-abortion extremists.
It was an event that had been publicized for months- the Republican Party partnered with Cowboys for Trump (the GOP mouthpiece for their disgraced presidential candidate) to tout their “conservative unity” rally. It was meant to bring together anti-abortion extremists, gun extremists, and anyone from anti-vaxxers to the anti-taxers. The reality of the event? GOP staffers, a few speakers and a handful of horses. The GOP-organized event was a flop; most people inside the Roundhouse didn’t even know it was happening.