Strong Families New Mexico
Why New Mexico?
Forward Together chose New Mexico as a field site for Strong Families because in the current economic and political climate, families in New Mexico are struggling, with women and young people in communities of color and indigenous communities bearing the greatest burden. New Mexico is a majority-minority state. The poverty rates for Latino and Native American families (20% and 25%, respectively) are about three times that of white families. These disparities become even more stark in rural areas of Northern and Southern New Mexico.
Women in New Mexico face significant barriers to accessing timely and affordable reproductive health care. While New Mexico has many laws in place that safeguard a woman's reproductive options, the current Governor is anti-choice and has proposed changes that would restrict Medicaid access for women and families. 91% of counties have no abortion provider, which is higher than the national average.
Young people are also facing significant challenges. New Mexico has the highest rate in the country of young mothers under the age of 20. While comprehensive sexuality education laws are in place, implementation varies by school district, and school culturally relevant curricula and programs for immigrant and indigenous youth are rare. The high school graduation rate is 60%, compared to 70% for the United States overall. New Mexico has no laws against bullying and harassment of students based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and no nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBT students.
SFNM is a regional program of Strong Families – a 10-year national initiative led by Forward Together to change culture and policy to improve conditions for the most marginalized women and families. Strong Families brings together groups from across a wide spectrum of social justice movements to advance a united vision of uplifting families of color, low-income families, immigrant families, indigenous families, and young families, linking issues and communities together using a unified progressive family frame.
Respect ABQ Women
In a historic victory, Albuquerque voters defeated an attempt to limit access to abortion by a huge margin on a special election November 19th. 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 truly New Mexican: it reflected the lived experiences of our communities 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 Strong Families partner 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.
Up Next: Strong Families Legislative Report Card
Look out for the first ever Strong Families Legislative Report Card to be release January 2014. 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, and other inequities, we seek to lift up and support all families. We’ll use the report to clearly state what we want and evaluate whether the legislature is doing the best job possible. It will become one of our tools to increase the rights, resources, and recognition of all families.
New Mexico Partners
- Media Literacy Project
- Young Women United
- Tewa Women United
- New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
- All Families Matter
- El Centro de Igualidades y Derechos
- Enlace Communitario
- Men of Color Alliance
- New Mexico Dreamers in Action
- Women's Justice Project
- Families United for Education
- Hoy Recovery Program Inc.
- La Plaza Encuentro
- New Mexico Asian Family center
- Organizers for the Land of Enchantment