Only days after Trump announced plans to gut the Violence Against Women Act, Gov. Martinez proposes to cut almost one-third of state funding for NM’s Rape Crisis Centers. This blog recommends actions on this and provides details on the obscene Rape Kit Backlog. In addition, an action alert for Friday as UNM hosts white supremacist Milo Yiannopoulos and more….
We Must Remain Astonished. We marched with and for women on Saturday, across the world. But we are back in our daily lives now, and our daily lives include any number of assaults against our most basic sense of justice. When policymakers turn their backs on justice, and when our Governor proposes to gut the state’s network of Rape Crisis Centers by slashing almost 1/3 of their funding, we must be astonished. When our state allows a Rape Kit Backlog to persist for years, despite millions of federal dollars being awarded to address the problem, we must be astonished. And when a white supremacist is invited to speak at our state university, we must be astonished. And while these assaults on our sense of justice are coming rapidly, we can NEVER become accustomed to them. We must take action each and every time. This issue summarizes the proposed cuts in Rape Crisis Centers in NM and Planned Parenthood’s urgent call to sign an online petition, with more action promised soon. It also includes the first piece produced by our Research Action Team, an analysis of NM’s Rape Crisis Kit Backlog prepared by volunteer Mary Ann Amos. We also encourage you to support student organizations at the University of New Mexico this Friday as they organize a protest against the appearance of Milo Yiannopoulos, a white supremacist. In our discussion of this action below, we also reference a Facebook post from a Carlsbad City Council member that is astonishing and close to home. We need to oppose these misogynist, racist comments at every turn. It is important to understand that the Constitution’s protection of freedom of speech prevents the government from stifling speech, not people stifling other people. So without that legal protection, what astonishes and offends us must be opposed and shut down with our actions. Read on.
Martinez Proposes Huge Cuts in Rape Crisis Centers Statewide. Sign the Petition Below. In her proposed budget, Governor Susanna Martinez has recommended to the Legislature a cut in Sexual Assault Services of $670,000.00. This would cut almost one third of all the funds Sexual Assault and Rape Crisis Centers have for services to survivors. Planned Parenthood and Retake Our Democracy are calling on the State Legislature to hold Sexual Assault Services harmless – just as they are holding harmless the Children, Youth and Families Department during this Legislative Session. Martinez has said her proposed budget emphasizes “three things above all others” — education, public safety, and jobs. Apparently, rape victims are not part of Martinez’s view of public safety.
These services would be stripped from survivors of sexual assault when they need it most. Retake Our Democracy and Planned Parenthood will be looking for other actions, and we will announce those in the next few days. But for right now this is the most important thing folks can do, and we need hundreds of these signatures ASAP! Please encourage your friends and family to sign this petition: bit.ly/SaveSAS.
Milo Yiannopoulos at UNM. Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) is collaborating with Retake Our Democracy in developing a training series on a range of issues. We will be announcing the series over the next few weeks. But SURJ is more than a training group, they are a group of activists who are on the forefront of explicit opposition to racial injustice. They are supporting University of New Mexico student organizations who are offended by the appearance on their campus of Milo Yiannopoulos, a gay white supremacist who is speaking at UNM, 6pm, Friday, Jan. 27. If you do not know about Yiannopoulos, click here to a Bloomberg article entitled, Milo Yiannopoulos, The Pretty Monstrous Face of the Alt-Right. One important request: this protest is being organized by and for students of the University of New Mexico. They are the ones who will live and study at their university after this protest is over. It is imperative that if you attend, you follow the directions of those student groups that have organized the protest. If you can’t make it to ABQ on Friday, there is contact information for registering your voice with the President of UNM. Click here for more on this.
Supreme Court Hearing. New Energy Economy vs. PNM. THIS MORNING! Weds, Jan.25, 8:30am. New Energy Economy will be facing off against PNM in a battle over the energy plan for much of our state. We cannot succumb to PNM’s greed and willful disregard for our planet. Let’s pack the courtroom! Click here for details. We are going to video tape segments of the hearing and try to stream them to our Facebook page. Worst case scenario, we will provide video tomorrow.
Carlsbad City Council Member Needs to be Recalled: JR Doporto is a Carlsbad City Councilor. He tweeted on Sunday: “Just want to give women a heads up! You have rights! A right to cook and a right to clean up. Today is Sunday and the NFL Playoffs our on (his spelling). I suggest you stop your bitching/protesting during this time. Because you also have the right to get slapped.” He later said he was sorry if anyone was offended. How about telling him how offended you are? We will try to identify folks in Carlsbad who might want to do more than call. Can you say “RECALL.” City Council address: 101 N, Halagueno, Carlsbad, NM 88221 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: (575) 887-1191. You can also comment on this post on Retake Our Democracy’s Facebook page. Click here.
New Mexico Election Reform Legislation. Our lobbying guide and summary of bills has been updated and now includes six election reform bills being advanced by Common Cause and Retake Our Democracy. Click here for information. While we have detailed information on the bills, we do not have information about how you can get alerts. Will likely have that today and will update the page. We also have bill summaries on other issues coming tomorrow.
New Mexicans for Money Out of Politics has an important 1-Hour Conference Call Wednesday, 1/25 (TODAY), at 5:30 pm with Ben Gubits of American Promise, the leading organization promoting a 28th Amendment to overturn Citizens United. Call 641-715-0700. Then provide Access Code 665688. The call is for anyone interested in helping with or attending the 3-hr training by American Promise on 4/1 in Santa Fe.
The NM Rape Kit Backlog
Retake Our Democracy formed a Research Action Team comprised of at least 40 volunteer researchers. We have developed a detailed protocol for developing what we are calling Research Action Kits, kits that are designed to provide you with both information and tools to take action. This is the first kit that is being published, prepared by Mary Ann Amos. It includes a detailed description of the scope of New Mexico’s, cites how other states have addressed this issue, and provides three videos that put a human face on rape and the forensic examination process a woman must go through for a rape kit to be prepared. It is hard for a man to comment on this, but I am going to try. Rape is really a man problem; no rape is a woman’s fault, but it is women who must bear the scars and must summon the courage to raise their voice against the horror to which they have been subjected, almost always by a man. For a state to allow a lack of funds or a lack of will to provide every possible support for women who have been sexually assaulted, slashing funds for clinics and ignoring a deplorable rape kit backlog is immoral. While we have not yet identified the legislation that will be introduced to address this backlog, trust that the moment we identify that bill it will be shared with you and we will vigorously advocate on its behalf. So, please click here for Mary Ann Amos’ full report and please do use this link to protest proposed cuts in funding to New Mexico’s Rape Crisis Centers.
“According to the Office of the State Auditor, NM has the highest number of untested rape kits per capita of any state, with 20% of these untested kit from sexual assault on minors.”
And please, remain astonished: sign the petition about the proposed spending cuts to our Rape Crisis Centers, call UNM and raise your voice against racism and misogyny, and look for a future post to identify how you can act to support elimination of this shameful Rape Kit Backlog.
Paul & Roxanne