Strong Families New Mexico

Strong Families New MexicoAsk a person “Who is in your family? What makes your family strong?” You will hear stories of love, connection, struggle, hope and togetherness.  you will hear about identity, community, biology, and the relationships beyond biology that make our families possible.  In New Mexico, our families are defined by our communities and reflect our values, culture, and experiences.  Our families come in all shapes, sizes and ages; biological and chosen; living in one household, many households, or across national borders; documented, undocumented, or mixed status; with children or without.  

It is this diverse array of families in cities, pueblos, rural areas, and through the valleys and mountains of our state - that make our state strong.  

Strong Families New Mexico, a state based program, of Forward Together, works to shift culture and create new policies that recognize the many kinds of families in our state.  We are a network of organizations and individuals working in alignment to build a better life for all our families and generations to come.   

New Mexico Partner Organizations

Respect ABQ Women

Respect ABQ Women

We did it!

In November of 2014, Albuquerque voters defeated an attempt to limit access to abortion by a huge margin on a special election November 19th.  Together we respected Albuquerque women by maintaining access to safe and legal abortion. Together we sent a clear message that New Mexicans respect that personal decisions about abortion should be in the hands of women in consultation with their family, their doctor and their faith.  

Strong Families New Mexico and our partners Young Women United and  New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice were leaders in all aspects of the campaign strategy.

The campaign ran a dynamic, effective grassroots campaign that was rooted in our New Mexican communities. It reflected the lived experiences of our families and ensured that communities of color, people of faith, and young people were deeply engaged in all aspects of the campaign. It built off the principles of our Strong Families work, bringing a proactive and inclusive frame to a winning campaign.

Check out this amazing radio interview with Tannia Esparza and Denicia Cadena from Young Women United.  They break down the impact of the ballot measure in both Spanish and English in ways that can help other communities facing similar attacks.

Strong Families Legislative Report Card

Strong Families New Mexico Legislative Report Card 2013

Announcing the first ever Strong Families Legislative Report Card! The Strong Families New Mexico Report Card examines 18 pieces of legislation introduced during the 2013 regular session that would have direct impacts—positive or negative—on families in New Mexico.  The Report Card also provides information on individual legislators’ responses to these bills and evaluates and grades each chamber of the legislature.

This report addresses legislation affecting families in four major areas: education equity, health equity, economic justice, civil rights and criminal justice. A final category, anti-family legislation, examines bills that reinforce or increase disparities between families in our state.

By focusing our efforts on families living at the intersections of racism, economic injustice, gender oppression, sexual orientation discrimination, and other inequities, we seek to lift up and support all families.  We use the report to clearly state what we want and evaluate whether the legislature is doing the best job possible.  It is one of our many tools to increase the rights, resources, and recognition of all families in New Mexico.

NM 2014 State Legislature – Strong Families Alignment

Below are highlights of the 2014 NM legislative session and how Strong Families New Mexico Partner organizations worked together to make impact on the issues and policies that matter to our families and communities.  

Report Card Launch Day

On January 28, 2014 the partner organizations listed above participated in launching the first Strong Families Legislative Report Card.  Highlights from the launch day include:

  • 43 individuals attended, including staff of organizations, members/volunteer leaders, youth activist and students. 94% People of Color, 15 were under the age of 24
  • 100 report card packets were dropped by teams to legislative offices
  • Teams had lobby visits with 44 legislators. Highest priority issues were those that would be revisited in 2014 session: early childhood education, minimum wage, GED privatization, Drivers Licenses
  • Telemundo, Spanish language media covered the launch

Men of Color Initiative (MOCI) Legislative Briefing

The Men of Color Initiative in partnership with Strong Families NM held the first Legislative Briefing on The State of Men of Color in New Mexico. Panelist shared experiences, research and recommendations about how to address the needs of and improve outcomes in Education, Employment, Health and Justice for boys and men of color in New Mexico. 

  • 5 legislators attended the briefing and agreed to hold in district briefings about the topic.  Many more expressed support and a desire to advance a shared agenda

#AdultEdWorks #PrepaPaTodos

Senate Bill 44 gets signed into law!

Encuentro New Mexico works year round to provide Adult Education classes for Latino Immigrant Families.  One of the classes they offer is the GED or General Equivalency Diploma.  In 2013 policy changed that privatized the test in NM.  The changes that were implemented in January of 2014 more than doubled the cost of the test and made a sharp shift to computerized testing only.  But what do we do when our communities education is under attack? We stand up and fight back!  Encuentro, with the support of many partner organizations supported Senate Bill 44, which creates the High School Credential Certificate.  This bill provides an alternative to the GED, increasing accessibility for rural and low income communities. 

Encuentro held an Adult Ed Day at the state legislature, to support SB 44, here are some of the highlights of that work

  • Encuentro led in bringing over 40 participants to Adult Ed Day
  • Teams had lobby visits with 19 legislators in support of SB44 the High School Equivalency certificate
  • Delivered 200 postcards in support of SB44 to Governor’s office
  • 4 SFNM groups moved together on Adult Ed Day to build work: Encuentro, El Centro, YWU, SFNM; SB 44 was an issue that several of our orgs supported at launch and beyond
  • Telemundo, Spanish language media covered the story
  • Over 100 Calls to Governor and more than 50 emails in support of the bill. 
  • SB 44 Signed into law!

Anti-Racism Lobby Day

NM Asian Family Center coordinated the Anti-Racism lobby day at the roundhouse.  Organizations from across the state participated in a press event and a rally in the roundhouse.  NM Asian Family Center conducted an advocacy training with scavenger hunt to bring families directly to the legislative process and decision makers

  • Working Families Tax Credit bill was a priority of their advocacy

Lottery Scholarship Belongs to us!

Advocacy throughout legislative session led by NM Coalition for Equity and Justice with strong support from YWU, MOCI, NMDIA students and SFNM Staff .  Here are some highlights from this work. 

  • Lottery Scholarship Lobby day included 18 students and allies from different parts of the state attended and made legislative visits with 14 legislators
  • Delivered 112 cookies and cards demanding lottery solvency w/o increase in course load or GPA
  • NMCEJ and YWU with students lobbied for amendment that successfully withdrew front loading from Lottery bill

Sum of all parts:

Together Strong Families partner organizations aligned our civic engagement work, took collective action, and built the leadership of individuals and organizations.  Some highlights of these efforts include:

  • 5 specific lobby days in which we advocated for Strong Families bills and issues that crossed sectors, communities, family formations and needs. 
  • 100+ individuals from staff, students and community engaged in legislative advocacy on issues important to and directly impacting their families and communities.
  • 82+ direct contact with legislators
  • Partner organization aligned their work, learned from each other and supported cross sector issues, Strong Families Style!