Story and Photo By Staci Bostic-Baros
Speaking to hundreds of Women’s March participants gathered at Civic Plaza, newly elected NM Congresswoman Deb Haaland encouraged the crowd, reminding that anyone can enter politics, there are people and organizations ready and willing to help people get started, and anyone who is interested just needs to take the first step.
“It’s going to take every single one of us to take back the White House in 2020, but I know we can do it, the door is open, the ceiling is broken, and I intend to leave the ladder down for all women to run for office, I will be there to make sure that they do, that YOU do!”, she exclaimed.
There is more to do, more women are needed in elected offices, in the sciences, and CEO positions and women need to be paid equally, she said.
“To this day women and women of color are paid as little as $0.53 on the dollar compared to a white male-booo! -Don’t boo, vote. Right?!”, Congresswoman Haaland asked the crowd.
It is a historic time for women in leadership in our state and in our country because of you in 2016 we woke up the country, Haaland said.
“Here’s what happened, we elected more women than ever before to Congress; 131 women representing districts across the country, the first Hispanic women from Texas, the youngest woman in Congress ever elected, the first two Muslim women, and the first two Native American women”, Haaland cheered along with the crowd.
31 of our 70 State House Seats are held by women, five seats short of a majority with Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small, the first woman to represent the southern part of our state but our fight is not over, it is just beginning, she said.
Many New Mexicans have stated loud and clear that bridges should be built, not walls so keep marching, keep donating, keep volunteering and keep resisting, she said
“Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. said ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter’, so my sisters keep singing!” Congresswoman Haaland said before she left the stage.
We have a simple vision for this city, that working together we can continue to create a city that is safe, inclusive and innovative that works for all, began Albuquerque’s First Lady Elizabeth J. Kistin Keller, PhD.
“But we know that the most important part, inclusion is what makes safety and innovation possible in our city and what we have learned over the last year is that we can and we must do better, it’s going to take all of us working together as one Albuquerque but we have learned from all of you that we are a resourceful and a resilient bunch”, said Albuquerque’s First Lady.
As a community we have a lot to celebrate in this city and state, we are particularly excited as a city to have for the first time ever, a leadership team on City Council that is all female run, she said.
Everything needed to face our most pressing challenges head-on is right here in our community, she said.
“We’ve got the energy, we’ve got the creativity, and we’ve got the expertise to ensure that everyone in this community feels protected and respected and able to thrive.”
The City of Albuquerque’s first female Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair addressed the theme of this year’s march as the Women’s Wave, which speaks to the momentum of the women’s movement, but she also uses the term Women’s Glacier, because just like a glacier there is nothing that is going away about this Women’s Wave, said Nair.
“So I ask of you all keep speaking out, when we sit up there in City Hall it is so easy to forget all of the different issues that are so urgent to all of you, so we need all of you to speak on what is most important to you, so that we remember all of those issues when we continue to give attention across the board, whether it is ADA accessibility or backlogs of untested rape kits or making sure that our streets are safe for women and people of all levels of ability”, said Albuquerque’s Chief Administrative Officer.