The 2022 Wrap Up
Created by the public, here for the public
The end of the year is here. Organizations around the state are drafting their year-end wrap-up presentations. There are social media and news year-end wrap-ups, but the most popular year-end wrap-up is with music.
At the Office of American Affairs, we also want to provide the Black/African American community with a similar year-end wrap-up. In this article, we will focus on events we hosted and or participated in throughout the year and pay homage to the department’s history. Finally, we hope to provide you with some insight into what we’re planning for next year!
In 2022 our office experienced a lot of administrative and frontline staff changes. Our office has a new team from the top down. In September of 2022, Charles Reado, LMSW, MBA, became our acting, Executive Director. Under his new leadership, we have been undergoing a three-month transition. During this transition, Charles has supported our growth which involved getting back to the basics. Putting boots on the ground and engage the community. If fact, we closed out our year learning about the inception of our office from the beginning (1999) to present. Since that directive, we’ve attended the “Get Out the Vote,” event, where we got to hear from upcoming government candidates. We also participated in the 71st Annual NAACP conference in Hobbs, New Mexico.
We had the pleasure of hosting the UNM African American Student Services and the University of Utah Black Cultural Center. This event brought together other Black organizations, such as the Black Education Act Team and African American Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce. We all had an opportunity to discuss policies such as the “Crown Act,” how to create a Black student union, and more.
Earlier in the year, we facilitated discussion groups concerning the “Yazzie Martinez vs. The State of New Mexico” case. We also hosted the 2nd annual “Black Though Expo- The Criminalization of Black Youth” with guest speaker and author of “The Rage of Innocence” Kristin Henning. In addition, we participated in the Juneteenth planning committee and sponsored five events around the state. We joined Nichole Rogers, from the Office of Black Community Engagement for the City of Albuquerque in their community strategy meetings. We participated in the community input sessions for the State Health Improvement Plan for New Mexico Department of Health.
We recently participated in the “Buy Black Market” for Black vendors and people of color. In the new year we will be participating with the New Mexico Martin Luther King Jr. Commission, “MLK 2023 Dream Weekend,” in January 2023. We are also launching a “Getting to know OAAA” campaign and introducing ourselves to the public. We acknowledge we need to do more as we begin the new year, and we want to hear from you about what we are doing throughout the year.
A Short History from the beginning “NM Office of African American Affairs”
The New Mexico Office of African American Affairs is dedicated to its mission. If you’re unfamiliar with our mission, it is to study, identify, and provide change by means of support, advocacy, and resources relevant to the African American community.
The late Alice Faye Hoppes initiated the request to have the Office of African American Affairs created based on the results from a statewide needs study conducted by the Department of Cultural Affairs in 1998. The completed study revealed three disparities in the areas of young people and children, affordable housing and unemployment, and the high disproportional number of African Americans in the prison system. (Ron Wallace, 2018) The language for the bill was crafted in collaboration with several New Mexico State Representatives and community leaders.
On April 5,1999 the 44th New Mexico State Legislature enacted the New Mexico Office of African American Affairs (OAAA) under House Bill 909. At that time, an executive advisory committee was established by Executive Order under the administration of Governor Gary Johnson. This bill didn’t just magically appear in the New Mexico Legislature. The creation of this office was a community battle, one that was made possible only by the great efforts of community stakeholders and leaders. We’re all in.