If you find yourself in El Paso, driving down I-10 from either direction, you can’t miss it—a 30-foot tall golden obelisk called the “Grand Candela” standing in the Walmart parking lot memorializing last years’ tragedy on the border. 23 lives lost. Children as young as 2 months old, to older folx, some of whom walked over from Ciudad Juarez for their weekly grocery shopping. No one ever saw it coming. Even with an entire year’s passing, it weighs on our hearts.
Three states, two countries, El Paso, Las Cruces and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico have always existed as one.
This series on Black Life, and racial justice is barely scratching the surface. A few resources for you to begin your own inner work are linked throughout this piece, and the hope is you continue to educate yourself. As this is a foundational way to eradicate Anti-Blackness, and racism. Let’s get into it:
From Columbus statues being torn down, along with other monuments that crystalize and celebrate the dehumanizing beginnings of our nation, it’s taken some time to collectively confront the deeply problematic history. Many BIPOC have had to celebrate their heroes beyond the one page granted to their culture and history as taught in school and the history books.
2020 has exposed two pandemics, viral and racial. Both are disproportionately taking the lives of Black Americans. For four hundred years now, there have been two starkly different Americas. It is very literally Black, and White.
Dear ProgressNow NM Members,
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.
National attention on police violence
With protesters taking over the streets in the past few weeks following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, demonstrators have broadened their demands for justice to defund and reform police departments all over the country. With major cities like Minneapolis and Los Angeles seeking to defund their city’s police departments and allocate those funds towards departments like education and public health, the people marching the streets are pushing back on all systems of governments. Congress too, is feeling the heat— with a bill unveiled by the House and Senate Democrats. The bill, called the Justice in Policing Act, would limit legal protections for police and create a national database of excessive-force incidents as well as banning police choke holds. Locally, New Mexico looks to answer the call
Here at home the pressure on lawmakers has also been called for to institute similar measures.
ProgressNow New Mexico Statement on Councilor Davis’ Shooting of a Black Man and Pattern of Upholding Racist Institutions
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”.
The Proud Boys and Boogaloo Bois ARE the NM Civil Guard. They pulled a gun last year, Doxxed our ProgressNow Staff last week and protected their shooter buddy yesterday.
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.
Uncovering the truth: Who’s really behind Power The Future, New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, and the Big Oil money driving New Mexico politics
In the era of big-money Political Action Committees (PACs) it can be difficult to know what messaging is coming from which candidate or PAC, which is the whole point really. As New Mexicans have begun early voting (we strongly encourage absentee voting!), there have been tons of ads and stories about the big money trying to influence voters of every stripe. And while one of the bigger stories seems to be the war being waged between the campaigns of two Republican candidates for New Mexico’s Second Congressional district, one key factor we found seems to be missing from those stories.
It’s been reported that a PAC called Citizens for a United New Mexico is associated with some big names in the oil business here in the state, specifically Butch Mathews. The same AP story also lists a “GOP operative” Charles Gantt as being associated with the PAC as “Custodian of Record” and states he works with a company called Bulldog Compliance, part of a larger company Red Curve Solutions.
But none of the stories here in New Mexico have dug into who Gantt really is, and why his involvement in New Mexico politics is something we take VERY seriously. Gantt’s name appears on dozens of public documents affiliated with hard-right PACs at both the national and local levels.
“Cowboys for Trump” leader uses anti-Native American expression to call for violence against political rivals
A disturbing video has been making its way around the internet since the beginning of the week, after some high-profile politicos in the state finally made statements, media stories have begun to appear about it, but most fail to call out some of the deeper and more sinister meaning behind it. Otero County Commissioner and “Cowboys for Trump” leader Couy Griffen said in a recent video that (and we are quoting this historically racist phrase, be warned) “The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.” That phrase, originally coined by Civil War general Philip Sheridan about Native Americans and made “popular” by Theodore Roosevelt, is clearly hate-speech and a dog whistle for white supremacists. Even IF you were unaware of the historical context, the call for political violence is clearly unacceptable but in line with Griffen’s brand of far-right, alt-right thuggery. Griffen’s Cowboy group have made something of a name for themselves riding their horses and dressing in costumes around the country in support of Trump but specifically showing up to support the most extreme far-right policies of his platform like vigilante groups along the southern border and bringing guns to the state capitol.