The New Mexican

A 24-member panel, including two state legislators, the head of the New Mexico NAACP and a leading proponent of early childhood education in New Mexico, has been named by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to her Council for Racial Justice.

The council, which Lujan Grisham said would be formed in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in the custody of Minneapolis police earlier this summer, will advise the administration and look closely at state institutions and how they deal with systemic racism and issues of fairness and equal opportunity.

“In New Mexico, our multicultural heritage is both an opportunity to move forward and a mandate to reflect on where we’ve come from as a means of shaping an equitable future for all,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement.

According to a news release, the council will begin meeting in the coming weeks.

The council’s central committee includes:

u Stephen Archuleta of Taos, a community activist and former director of juvenile justice for the state Children, Youth and Families Department.

u Charles Becknell Jr. of Rio Rancho, dean of the African Studies Department at the University of New Mexico.

u Dawn G. Begay, Native American coordinator for the city of Albuquerque’s Office of Equity and Inclusion.

u Johana Bencomo of Las Cruces, a city councilor

u Bishop David Cooper of Albuquerque, a senior pastor at New Hope Full Gospel Baptist Church

u Joseph Cotton of Hobbs, president of the New Mexico NAACP.

u The Rev. Donna Marie Davis of Albuquerque, pastor at Grant Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church

u Rabbi Robert Lennick of Santa Fe, executive director of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico

u Jennifer Lim of Albuquerque, co-leader of the National Asian Pacific Women’s Forum

u State Sen. Linda Lopez, chairwoman of the Senate Rules Committee and a small-business owner.

u Sebastian Margaret of Santa Fe, a Soros Justice Fellow who is launching the Disability Project at the Transgender Law Center.

u Darshan Patel of Albuquerque, a doctor at University of New Mexico Hospital and an organizer of White Coats for Black and Indigenous Lives.

u Alexis Maria Rael of Santa Fe, who is pursuing a Master Business Administration at the University of New Mexico.

u Jaclyn Roessel, who works with the state Indian Affairs Department to deliver cultural equity training for the fulfillment of the state Tribal Collaboration Act.

u Arsenio Romero of Deming, superintendent of Deming Public Schools.

u Allen Sanchez of Los Lunas, president of CHI St. Joseph’s Children and a leading proponent of early education in the state. He also is executive director of the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops.

u Corrine Sanchez of San Ildefonso Pueblo, executive director of Tewa Women United.

u Terrance Smith of Albuquerque, a community organizer working in youth sports.

u Micele Ali Surodjawan of Albuquerque, a high school senior and a DECA 2020 national qualifier.

u Alexandria Taylor of Albuquerque, deputy director of the New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs. She serves on the board of the ACLU of New Mexico.

u Austin Weahkee, a Native organizer who works for the Native American Voters Alliance.

u State Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton of Albuquerque, majority leader of the state House of Representatives.

u Janene Yazzie, a community organizer and human rights advocate.

u Kimberly York of Las Cruces, a onetime clinical social worker for Las Cruces Public Schools. She serves on the Office of African American Affairs’ executive advisory board.

In addition, Lujan Grisham named five people to the health subcommittee, seven members to the public safety and law enforcement subcommittee and seven members to an education subcommittee.

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(2) comments

Kathy Fish

I'm not seeing the esteemed councilor Renee Villarreal's name on this list? A glaring omission.

Mike Johnson

Alas, my stellar resume was left on the cutting room floor, and I had such great plans for "input" in this.........[lol][lol][lol][lol]

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