The voices of the lawmakers were filled with emotion as they recounted their personal histories — sometimes gripping reflections of race, culture and ethnic traditions.

One spoke of the stripping of Native language and cultural traditions from her family members during the era of boarding schools and how she is still grappling to come to terms with that history.

Another, who is Hispanic, said his parents never graduated from elementary school but bought themselves opportunity through hard work and perseverance. “They did not have equity,” he said.

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Sen. Harold Pope Jr. reacts as House Minority Whip Rod Montoya begins a debate about critical race theory Thursday during a Legislative Education Study Committee meeting at the Roundhouse.

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Public Education Deputy Secretary Gwen Perea Warniment, at a hearing earlier this year before the Legislative Education Study Committee, has been named the panel’s new director.

General Assignment Reporter

Robert Nott has covered education and youth issues for the Santa Fe New Mexican. He is assigned to The New Mexican's city desk where he covers a general assignment beat.

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