Tomorrow’s Moral Monday begins at 8:30 with two committee hearings on Healthcare & Early Childhood Ed; at 10am Sen Tom Udall, Marcela Diaz, and others speak on immigration & sanctuary issues; at noon celebrate outside with music, poetry, and food from a local taco truck. Also included in this post: a summary of a conversation with SF City Councilor Renee Villarreal.
I warned you yesterday that Roxanne and I had to scale back and focus a bit on some paid work. We are hoping some of you will write to us and offer to help Retake Our Democracy. To highlight possible roles for volunteers and make it easier to keep track of coming events, we revised the website to create an Events and Opportunities page for coming events, trainings, and actions. Click here to explore. The page begins with requests for volunteers to take on some specific tasks. Take a look and tell me if you’ve got a bit of time: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moral Monday, Feb 6, 10am-2pm. at the Roundhouse – Focus on Immigration & Sanctuary with Sen Tom Udall and Marcela Diaz. On the launch of Retake the Roundhouse’s KSFR radio program (11am Saturdays), I interviewed Marcela Diaz from Somos Un Pueblo Unido and Allegra Love from the Santa Fe Dreamer’s Project. They spoke of the critical need for New Mexicans and all Americans to form alliances with our immigrant neighbors. Tomorrow’s Moral Monday at the Roundhouse will focus on Immigrants and Sanctuary with Sen. Tom Udall and Marcela Diaz speaking at 10am in the Rotunda about what you can do. Locally, there is much that can be done to help advocate for expanded Sanctuary policies in Santa Fe. Thinking that Santa Fe is the progressive city different, I assumed passage of this resolution was a slam dunk. But in conversations with numerous leaders in our community over the weekend, I found that there are several City Councilors on the fence with some looking to our City Attorney for guidance on how to vote. It’s not clear what the direction from the City Attorney will be. Somos Un Pueblo Unido has assembled a legal team to clarify the constitutional underpinnings to the resolution. I will share their brief as soon as it is ready for distribution. Click here for more on how to be an advocate.
An Illuminating Conversation with Santa Fe City Councilor Renee Villarreal. I don’t think I have ever had a 90-minute, one-on-one conversation with any public official, and certainly not a conversation of such substance and range. The purpose of the call was to clarify Renee’s role in kicking off our Town Hall on Feb 11, 3:30-5:30 pm at the Center for Progress & Justice, 1420 Cerrillos Rd., Santa Fe. I laid out Retake Our Democracy’s plan for a sustained neighborhood-based ‘Community Conversations’ canvassing campaign (details Monday). The canvassing campaign would be designed to engage a far broader representation of residents in neighborhood-level community thinking and planning, leading to City Council District-specific Town Halls where a People’s Platform for Santa Fe would be developed.
Renee liked the idea, but offered a caution: plans must be realistic as the City is in poor fiscal shape. She advised how through this highly participatory and grassroots canvassing and community meeting process, residents could become involved in the City’s just launched participatory budgeting process and from that achieve a better understanding of the City’s financial constraints. This then could result in a more realistic People’s Platform. She also pointed to ways in which our engaged activists could play important roles in maintaining the myriad of Santa Fe amenities through the Adopt-a-Park initiative. We spoke of how the canvassing process could be about identifying issues and goals, but also about engaging residents in group actions to help maintain a park, a trail, or an acequia. It isn’t all about what the City can do for us, but about what we can do for the City. After all, the City really is us.
In our conversation, both of us lamented the regressive nature of the Soda Tax to fund expanded early childhood programs, but in that conversation she allayed my concerns that the tax may not benefit south side, low-income, families of color. Indeed, there are provisions to ensure these communities will be well served and that the program would infuse all early childhood programs with research-program improvement opportunities coordinated by SFCC’s world class early childhood education program. We talked about the absence of ideas about more progressive tax structures that might provide revenue to the City to expand badly needed services. As a result of this conversation, one of the calls for volunteers in the Events & Opportunities page is seeking a researcher to examine innovative ways that other cities have generated revenue in creative and progressive ways.
Lastly, we talked about the challenge the City faces in enforcing the living wage ordinance. I had heard from several advocates that the City was dragging its heels on this, but Renee pointed out that there simply aren’t enough attorney’s on City staff to address this issue. Especially lacking are attorneys with experience in constitutional or employment law. This led us to talk about the concept of a Legal Collective through which local attorneys would inventory their expertise and provide pro bono services on specific issues, much as Marcela Diaz has convened attorneys to work on Sanctuary law and Dan Cron has organized attorneys to support those arrested in non-violent direct actions. Retake Our Democracy would like to play a supportive role in trying to assemble a broad coalition of legal expertise to support non-profits and the city on issues related to different forms of justice.
This summary barely touches on all we spoke of and points to the critical importance of residents reaching out and speaking with their elected officials. The door to progress is largely slammed shut right now at a Federal level, but there is much we can do in our local cities, if we just dig in, talk, read, learn, and take action. Tomorrow I will report on the Feb. 11 Town Hall and the Community Conversations Campaign we will launch that day.
Roundhouse Citizen Activism: Monday, Feb 6
Moral Monday is not the only action at the Roundhouse on Monday. Two absolutely critical bills are being heard at 8:30am in separate hearings. These bills are central to Retake Our Democracy’s Justice Agenda, an assembly of 20-25 bills that collectively reflect the values and vision of Retake Our Democracy. (A draft of the Justice Agenda including the bills that comprise it, will be shared in a post next week and will be unveiled at Retake Our Democracy’s Moral Monday, Feb 20, noon-2pm.)
I encourage everyone to come to the Roundhouse tomorrow, Feb. 6, a bit before 8:30, pick one of the hearings below, and make your presence felt. Then come hear Marcela Diaz and Sen. Udall at 10am. After that, head outside, have a taco, listen to some live tunes, and hang out.
SJR 3, Permanent Funds for Early Childhood, Senate Rules Committee. Mon., Feb 6, 8:30am, Roundhouse Room 321. Sponsored by Senator Padilla, SJR 3 is scheduled to be heard Mon., Feb. 6 in the Senate Rules Committee. This joint resolution proposes an amendment to the New Mexico Constitution to increase the distribution from the Permanent Fund by 1.5% to 6.5%. Click here for more on this bill and how to advocate from home as well as at the Roundhouse..
Health Security Act: House Health & Human Services Committee, Mon., Feb. 6, 8:30 a.m.,Roundhouse Room 315. Show up to advocate on behalf of this critical bill to ensure that all New Mexicans can access health coverage. Click here for more on the Health Security Act.
Finally, the two videos below on racial bias are very short, entertaining, and eye-opening. The first 5-minute video shows a highly diverse group of young adults taking a racial bias test and then discussing the results. The second video is even shorter (3 minutes) and talks about the underpinnings of the racial biases that all of us have. Alert: there is an F bomb in the second video, so those who could be offended should stick to the first video. Together they are very illuminating. Retake Our Democracy is planning a series of events that will help us all learn more about out biases and how to overcome them. In my conversation with City Councilor Renee Villarreal yesterday, she provided info on an excellent training in ‘implicit bias.’ Retake our Democracy will invite this trainer to be part of our training series. We are also planning a training on White Privilege offered by Standing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ). Details on both very soon. But for now: watch and learn.
In solidarity, Paul & Roxanne