Thursday, May 17, 2012
House Republicans Abandon Bipartisanship on Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District spoke on the House floor today in opposition to a partisan House Republican bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. Below are his remarks as prepared.
“Madam Speaker, it is with great disappointment that I rise today in opposition to this bill, not because the issue of violence against women is not real, but because this House bill does not do enough to address domestic violence and to protect women.
“Sadly, instead of taking action on the bipartisan bill that has passed the Senate and that meets the need to protect America’s women, the Republican majority has chosen confrontation over compromise with a bill that is seriously limited, including in the protections it offers to Native American women.
“The Senate version is a comprehensive bill that addresses the seriousness of violent crimes targeted toward women, including in Indian Country. I represent 17 of the 22 Native American tribes in New Mexico and I will tell you that tribal families are all too often ravaged by domestic violence. Unfortunately, violent crimes committed on tribal lands go unprosecuted more often than they should because of loopholes in existing law and neither this bill nor the manager’s amendment adequately protect Tribal communities.
“It was my great hope that House Republicans would rise to do the right thing. Don’t hide behind excuses. Do the right thing. Let’s close the loopholes that allow abusers to get away with violence, especially against Native American women. It is not right that abusers game these loopholes to abuse their victims. Reject this bill and take up the bipartisan Senate bill.”
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
3/6: District Court Judge Alisa Hadfield Kicking Off Election Campaign
District Court Judge (Family Court) Alisa Hadfield is kicking off her election campaign with a reception at Scalo Northern Italian Grill in Nob Hill on March 6, 2012 from 5:30 to 7:00. Please join Michael and Traci Cadigan, Judge Susan M. Conway, (Retired), Madeline Dunn, Jack Carmody, Michael Hart, Peter Johnstone, Esteli Juarez-Boyd, Robert McNeill, Steve Paternoster and Gregg Velasquez in supporting this great Democratic judge.
Judge Hadfield, a lifelong Democrat, joined the Family Court bench in 2010 after being selected by the Judicial Nominating Committee and appointed by Governor Richardson. She has previously served as a district attorney, public defender and a family lawyer in private practice. She is also an avid rock climber and outdoorsperson. Judge Hadfield’s experience, compassion and common sense help families struggling with marital and domestic violence issues.
Please join us at Scalo to support Judge Hadfield on March 6 from 5:30 to 7:00. Make checks payable to the Committee to Retain Judge Alisa Hadfield. Please visit www.judgehadfield.com for more details.
Saturday, October 08, 2011
10/8: 20th Annual Barrett Foundation Fundraiser at Hotel Albuquerque/Casa Esencia
From the Barrett Foundation:
Our annual fundraising event, Swing into the 20th Gala/After Party, is set for Friday, October 8, at Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town, as well as Casa Esencia –- Albuquerque’s most exclusive cocktail lounge and dance club. This year’s fundraiser is different from all others, because the pubic can attend both the Gala and After Party: Clubbing for a Cause, or just the After Party, so people of varying interests and demographics can participate. This is a chance to make a real difference in the lives of the ever-growing population of homeless women and children right here in Albuquerque.
The $50 Casa Esencia After Party ticket equates to a safe night's shelter, food and clothing for a woman and her children -- plus you get to dance the night away in the city's swankiest venue to both a DJ and live music! Of course if you want to start the night a bit earlier and make an even bigger impact, you can attend the Gala first, at 6:00 PM, and then finish the night, from 8:30 PM to midnight, at Casa Esencia, located on the same property as Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town.
Tickets for the Gala including entrance to the After Party: Clubbing for a Cause are $100, with a suggested donation of $50 to be collected at the door of Casa Esencia. Signature martinis, dinner, a silent auction, a live auction and live music are all a part of the fun at the Gala. For more information go to barrettfoundation.org or call 505-246-9244 ext. 103.
Barrett Foundation: Brother Mathias Barrett founded the Barrett House in 1985. Brother Mathias was a legendary friend of the homeless; his life's work was providing shelter to the homeless men and women throughout the United States. Throughout the years the Barrett House shelter has expanded to provide not only emergency housing but to also offer transitional services.
Barrett Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization in Albuquerque, New Mexico, helping homeless women and children build better lives. In addition to food, clothing and shelter, Barrett Foundation provides case management, critical skills training and the support needed to plan and establish a more stable future for themselves and their children.
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
New Executive Order by Susana Martinez on Law Enforcement Invites Racial Profiling
By now you've probably heard about Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's latest executive order giving state police the green light to stop and arrest anyone who looks "suspicious" so they can check their immigration status and report it to the feds. Any arrest for any crime, no matter how petty or manufactured, will do. Martinez claims this will protect us from an imagined multitude of criminals who cross the border to ... work and feed their families. I wonder if Susana could provide any statistics on the percentage of people without papers who actually engage in any crime to speak of. I doubt it. Facts just seem to get in the way of most right-wing propaganda.
Let's face it, there's really no need to issue such an order, other than to foist more fear-based propaganda onto the people -- to scare Americans into thinking we need a creeping, right-wing police state to keep us "safe" and to scare undocumented folks and minorities in general into staying in the shadows like hunted animals. Win-win for a governor who's seeking to make a national name for herself like her patron Sarah Palin has done, and to hell with what happens to New Mexicans in the process.
The fact of the matter is that -- in the real world -- police can and do ascertain the legal status of those who populate our jails. They have for many years now. Real criminals get checked and reported. But what this order does is offer shelter to the kind of state cops who revel in acting out their bigotry or bullying nature by targeting "suspicious" individuals in order to hound and intimidate them, sometimes just for fun.
This order helps whip up an atmosphere of fear and mistrust. And it gives the bad eggs in state law enforcement more free rein than they already have to single out, follow, stop, scare and arrest people whose looks they don't like -- based on even the most petty or imagined "crimes" -- and demand their papers. And bad eggs certainly DO exist within law enforcement, despite what Susana, Darren White or others may prefer to believe. Even if these bad eggs don't actually end up arresting and checking the papers of folks they target, they can still keep them in a state of fear by looking like they might.
A Damper on Reporting Crime
As a side "benefit," Susana's order will no doubt result in a growing reticence on the part of undocumented people to risk detection and deportation by reporting domestic violence or other crimes they experience or witness -- because they might get arrested by mistake or by design by a law enforcement officer who responds to the call. This includes young folks who would benefit from the Dream Act because -- even though for all intents and purposes they have been raised as loyal Americans and identify as such -- they were brought into the country at a young age by parents without papers. Why put yourself in jeopardy? Better to remain silent and let the real criminals get away with their crimes. This helps nobody except the criminals, no matter what Gov. Martinez claims.
Martinez's order includes language that states, "it is essential that victims of, and witnesses to, crime are able to report those crimes and that they be assured access to our criminal justice system without fear of deportation or other immigration consequences." However, once unleashed, does anyone really believe that some state law enforcement agents won't abuse their increased powers to do just what Martinez's language says will not be done? The governor's spokesman has also said state police will not ask about the immigration status of motorists stopped for traffic violations such as speeding. Uh huh. Well, it is quite easy to come up with some other minor infraction that will do the trick in making a simple traffic stop into something that justifies an arrest -- and a demand for documents.
Others Weigh In
Yesterday, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico (ACLU-NM) strongly condemned Governor Martinez’s order, which also rescinds Governor Richardson’s 2005 order instructing law enforcement to refrain from inquiring into a suspect’s immigration status.
According to Peter Simonson, ACLU Executive Director, “This executive order invites racial profiling by giving an incentive to police to arrest people who look and sound 'foreign'. New Mexicans should not have to fear that a broken taillight or other pretextual stop will lead to their arrest because of the color of their skin. Gov. Martinez has created an SB 1070-like policy, contradicting her own commitment to keep our state from following in Arizona’s footsteps.”
Today, Democratic Party of New Mexico Chairman Javier Gonzales weighed in on the matter by saying, "Arizona here we come. This executive order opens the door to racial profiling in New Mexico and that is never acceptable. Obviously anyone convicted of a crime deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, but this executive order does nothing to help police and prosecutors accomplish that goal."
What it does do is give Martinez another splash in the national media and stoke the image she's carefully crafting as a "tough" right-wing operator. Politics before people.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
7/17: Rio Rancho Westside Forum on 'Domestic Violence to Safety'
From The Westside Forum, Sponsored by the Social Action Committee of Unitarian Universalist Westside Congregation, Rio Rancho, New Mexico:
Saturday, July 17 at 3:00 PM: "From Violence to Safety." Sandie Lucero of Haven House, the Sandoval County center for domestic violence victims, will give a presentation on the problem of domestic violence and the many services for domestic violence victims and abusers that Haven House offers. Find out what can be done for you and what you can do.
WHERE: "From Violence to Safety" will be presented at Unitarian Universalist Westside Congregation, 1650 Abrazo Rd. (about a mile west of Unser Blvd, corner of Inca) in Rio Rancho. The event is free, and all are welcome. To see a flyer with a map at the bottom, click here.
The Westside Forum is held on the third Saturday of each month. It covers important and timely topics, and it is open to the public.
Friday, June 04, 2010
6/7: Take a Stand Against Mayor Berry's Arrest Policy and Immigrant Scapegoating
From El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos:
Join faith leaders, domestic violence survivors and community members to take a stand against Mayor R. J. Berry's policy and immigrant scapegoating.
WHAT: Interfaith Service/Peaceful Rally, Albuquerque
WHEN: Monday, June 7th, 4:30-5:00 PM
WHERE: NW Corner, City/County Building, 5th and Marquette
- To take a stand against divisive, anti-immigrant/ anti-Hispanic rhetoric being used for short-term gain in the political arena.
- To take a stand Against Mayor Berry's policy that will lead to increased racial profiling, will create barriers for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and will lead to an increase in needless deportations that are separating our families.
Thursday, April 01, 2010
April 8-10: UNM Law School Production of Vagina Monologues to Support Female Victims of Domestic Violence and War
From UNM School of Law:
Students and faculty at the UNM School of Law will present an annual fundraising production of the Vagina Monologues at 7:30 PM on April 8-10 in Room 2401 at the law school, located at 117 Stanford NE in Albuquerque.
All proceeds from the production will go to ENLACE Comunitario and the Democratic Republic of Congo to help female victims of war. Tickets cost $10, or $5 for students and can be purchased at the door. Click here for more information.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Domestic Violence and Animal Cruelty: Legislature Designates Today “New Mexico Link Awareness Day”
The NM Legislature has designated February 10th “New Mexico LINK Awareness Day” to honor and remember all the victims of family violence in our state and to raise awareness of “The Link” between domestic violence and animal cruelty. “The Link” refers to the connection between animal abuse and human violence that has been proven in numerous psychology, sociology and criminology studies. Understanding “the Link” allows law enforcement, animal control officers, social workers, lawyers, judges and others in society to not only identify violent behaviors, but also gives insight into effective prevention techniques and appropriate treatment for abusers and victims.
Senate Joint Memorial 27 (SJM 27) was sponsored by Senator Eric Griego. Senator Griego points out the importance of recognizing The Link in a statement released today: “Animal abuse is often an indicator of other types of family violence including child and/or spousal abuse. The more aware we become to the links between the various types of family violence, the better equipped we are to stop all violence in a household.”
Some disheartening facts about The Link from nationwide studies:
- Up to 71% of women (with companion animals) entering women’s shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened their animals for revenge or to psychologically control them.
- 68% of battered women reported violence towards their animals. 87% of these incidents occurred in the presence of the women, and 75% in the presence of the children, to psychologically control and coerce them.
- Between 25% and 40% of battered women are unable to escape abusive situations because they worry about what will happen to their companion animals should they leave.
- Abusers kill, harm, or threaten children’s animals to coerce them into sexual abuse or to force them to remain silent about abuse.
- Disturbed children often kill or harm animals to emulate their parents’ conduct, to prevent the abuser from killing the pet, or to take out their aggressions on another victim.
These facts point to a real need for more awareness of “The Link.” As the recognition of this proven link between all types of family violence becomes more well-known in New Mexico, there will be more opportunities to stop or prevent family violence. For example:
- Detection of animal abuse in a family could lead to the detection and stopping of child and/or spousal abuse, if the signs are recognized and reported to the appropriate authorities.
- Earlier detection of animal abuse by children can mean successful intervention in the “cycle of violence” via proven therapy treatments such as AniCare Child.
- Acknowledgement of the importance of animals in a family structure will lead to more domestic violence shelters accepting animals, which will allow more battered women to leave their abusers.
SJM 27 passed the Senate by a vote of 22-17, with 3 Senators absent.
Coming Up in June: The 7th Annual Governor’s Conference on The Link Between Animal Abuse and Human Violence will be held in June of this year. The conference is free and open to any member of the public interested in reducing the incidences of violence in NM’s families. This year’s conference will focus on raising the awareness of The Link, and encouraging cross-reporting of family violence by law enforcement, child care workers, veterinarians, animal control officers, etc.