The New Mexico Health Equity Partnership, (HEP) believes every New Mexican should have the opportunity to lead a healthy life, live in neighborhoods where our children and families thrive, and have a say in the decisions that impact their communities and their lives. In this newsletter, we focus on environmental justice. The history of environmental racism and injustice has exacerbated how Black, Indigenous, and communities of color are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. We must advance environmental justice to ensure the health and wellbeing of present and future generations, all beings, and the planet.
In this newsletter we highlight author, Valerie Rangel’s book, “A History of Environmental Justice in New Mexico: Counting Coup”, which takes the reader on a journey that starts with the history of land use which transformed New Mexico’s landscape and paved the way for an era of mass resource mining, extraction, and environmental degradation. The book highlights the victories and on-going battles over sacred sites, presents public health and environmental concerns, as well as the perspectives of local residents.
We also uplift the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium’s efforts to seek justice for the unknowing, unwilling, and uncompensated innocent victims of the July 16, 1945 Trinity Test in South Central New Mexico. The 75th anniversary of the trinity test was last month and the TBDC produced a commemorative video. Additionally, we share resources connected to Anna Rondon’s, NMSJEI participation in the international launch of the uranium atlas.
Recognizing the importance of communities telling their own narratives and shaping their own futures, we also highlight storytelling tools (video, murals, etc.) shared at a recent virtual gathering by Together for Brothers and Doña Ana Communities United.
We hope you’ll take a moment to read the HEP newsletter.
A History of Environmental Justice in New Mexico:
“A History of Environmental Justice in New Mexico: Counting Coup” takes the reader on a journey that starts with the history of land use which transformed New Mexico’s landscape and paved the way for an era of mass resource mining, extraction, and environmental degradation.
This book highlights case studies in which environmental degradation has resulted in controversial battles regarding health disparities in disenfranchised communities of color throughout the state. There is a need to voice present struggles and concerns of New Mexican communities and disseminate knowledge of these issues to a wider audience. The stories of strife and struggle shared in this book have shaped the character of the people, their traditions, and reactions to environmental and social issues within New Mexican communities. The book highlights the victories and on-going battles over sacred sites, presents public health and environmental concerns, as well as the perspectives of local residents.
This is a particularly poignant time in history, to share the voices of New Mexico’s communities of color; their successes, adaptation, survival and reactions to forced changes and the pressures of the dominant society that continue to persist. There is great concern for the immediate present health dangers and the integrity of natural systems. Together, with a revived sense of reverence for sacred places, environmental stewardship, and belief in the interconnectedness of the web of life on Earth, New Mexico communities continue to battle for justice
You can read the full book summary prepared by author, Valerie Rangel, here. You can also view a lecture Valerie conducted regarding the book here.
The blurb is an abbreviated version of the full book summary written by author - Valerie Rangel
Policy & Advocacy
Seeking Justice for the Unknowing, Unwilling, and Uncompensated Innocent Victims
of the July 16, 1945 Trinity Test
The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium (TBDC) is committed to seeking justice for the unknowing, unwilling, and uncompensated innocent victims of the July 16, 1945 Trinity Test in South Central New Mexico. In 2017, the TBDC released a Health Impact Assessment to inform the public and policy makers about the health outcomes that would develop if the Amendments to the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act were to include the Downwinders of New Mexico. The HIA report has been beneficial in providing information about the health needs of the Downwinders and how the Amendments would address those needs. TBDC recently produced a 75th Commemorative Video of the Trinity test, called: TRINITY DOWNWINDERS: 75 Years and Waiting, which can be accessed here.
TBDC has wanted to memorialize all the people they know of who have lost their lives because of the overexposure to radiation from Trinity. A small group went to the Trinity entrance gate on the evening of July 16th and hung 75 glow sticks to recognize the 75 years of suffering. They hired musicians to play music as they reflected on our losses. To learn more about the trinity nuclear testing, please check out an Op-Ed featured in the New York Times on July 16. You can donate to support TBDC’s efforts here.
Information re-shared from Tina Cordova
The International Launch of the Uranium Atlas
Anna Rondon, NMSJEI participated in the international launch of the uranium atlas, along with Larry King, Dine, and Ian Zabarte, Western Shoshone. Ian and Anna participated at 1992 World Uranium Hearing in Austria where over 200 countries were represented. Please check out the resources below.
HEP partners, Doña Ana Communities United (DACU) and Together for Brothers (T4B) joined the Native Youth on the Move cyberhuddle at the end of July to lead workshops on Storytelling and Sustainability. The intention was for NYM and HEP partners to cross pollinate ideas, share tools, and plant new seeds for community-led solutions for change.
Through T4B’s workshop, partners learned the importance of telling the stories of their ancestors and selves to bring healing and enable them to let go of generational trauma. Stories can also be used to tell the story of the collective and move to action to create positive change in communities. DACU shared a video which told the story the community developing a street mural at the intersection of Tornilla Street and Picacho Avenue in Las Cruces. The intent of the mural was to slow traffic, and it worked! Not only did the mural slow traffic but it beautified something that people drive on. The neighbors noticed the colors and it brought about happiness. The mural also provided an opportunity for neighbors to get to know each other and tell the story of their neighborhood and culture.
Please check out T4B and DACU to learn more about their creative story telling techniques via videos, zines, murals and more.
Partner Capacity Building Opportunities and Events
Santa Fe Community Foundation - The HEP’s institutional home, the Santa Fe Community Foundation (SFCF), is committed to supporting nonprofits in achieving their missions with excellence. The SFCF’s Philanthropy HUB has been designed as a learning and gathering place for the philanthropic sector. The HUB's programs strive to: 1) deepen philanthropic practice; 2) build nonprofit capacity; 3) provide support for professional advisers; and 4) provide platforms for learning about social issues in community. Upcoming trainings and presentations include:
If you are a HEP network member and you have an upcoming training, workshop, or other capacity building opportunity open to community members and organizations, please send information about it to David Gaussoin and the HEP team can include it an upcoming newsletter.
Program Director of Education and Opportunity Santa Fe
Santa Fe Community Foundation
Posted July 8, 2020
The Program Director of Education and Opportunity Santa Fe serves as a Subject Matter Expert to the Foundation’s Educational Success and Career Pathways Area of Interest (AOI) and oversees all aspects of Opportunity Santa Fe: Birth to Career. Opportunity Santa Fe (OSF) is a collective impact effort working to achieve birth to career success, wellbeing, and equity for all Santa Fe children, families, and communities. Opportunity Santa Fe takes a stand for equity in the community and says it proudly! OSF believes in centering youth and people of color in solutions and is committed to creating multilingual and multicultural spaces where intentional collaboration, learning and joy are fostered.
To apply: Submit email application including a 1) cover letter describing motivations and specific qualifications for the position, 2) resume, and 3) three references (including at least one former or current employer and one community partner or colleague).
Please email applications to firstname.lastname@example.org with SUBJECT: Program Director of Education and Opportunity Santa Fe.
Deadline to apply: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled.