Asian Americans fill New Mexico state capitol chambers on
Community members posed for a photo with State Senator Linda
Lopez at the capitol.
When we think about participating in democracy, the
first thing that comes to mind is voting. Register to vote
now. But there's more we can do. We can keep our
elected officials accountable by speaking to them in
person. Learn how New Mexico Asian Family Center
took civic engagement one step further by organizing a
legislative visit to their state capitol in Santa Fe.
Did you know 28,761 Asian Americans make up a
small but mighty community in New Mexico? Members
from the Vietnamese, Japanese, Cambodian, Aghan
and Chinese communities made their voices heard at
the state capitol on Jan. 23 to celebrate Anti-Racism
Day, declared by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez in
a signed proclamation.
For many of the New Mexicans, it was their first time
stepping foot in the halls of the New Mexico Capitol
building when they arrived by bus to Santa Fe from
With the help of New Mexico Asian Family Center who
organized the legislative visit, 50 community members
learned about the history of racial discrimination
against people of color and the importance of forming
coalitions in New Mexico. They also received a training
which demystified the process of contacting elected
officials who must represent the concerns of Asian
American constituents too.
"I learned that we should work together to stop racism.
Also, we should talk to our representatives and
senators on issues that are important to us, and get
them to take action," one attendee wrote about their
visit to the state capitol.
Community members spoke with State Senator Linda Lopez and Representative Jim Dines to advocate for change. Topics
included anti-Asian hate and an early child education bill.
The organizers also created space for people from different Asian ethnic backgrounds to bond and learn about each other
while also building bridges with the Latinx community. Ian Tateisi talked about the Asian American youth experience while
Mula Akbar spoke about the impact of hate crimes against the Muslim community.
This may be the first visit to the New Mexico state capitol for many, but it certainly will not be the last now that they know it is
within their reach. If anyone doubted it before, Asian Americans are indeed active members of the community and they will
continue to voice their opinions.