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Racism, Childhood Well-Being Focus of New Mexico Conference

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Minority populations, including those in New Mexico, have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic at disproportionate rates. (Mohamedhassan/Pixabay)
Minority populations, including those in New Mexico, have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic at disproportionate rates. (Mohamedhassan/Pixabay)
August 24, 2020

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- As parents across New Mexico grapple with the start of school amid COVID-19, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham will kick off the annual New Mexico Voices for Children conference with a presentation on policy reforms to improve child well-being.

At least 18% of New Mexico adults living with children say their kids are not getting enough to eat because of the public health crisis and recession, according to Voices for Children.

Amber Wallin, deputy director for New Mexico Voices for Children says it's especially important now to discuss systemic oppression of marginalized groups after data showed New Mexico ranked 50th for child well-being.

"Something that we've seen in the reckoning that's happening in our state and across the country when it comes to race and inequity we're seeing that in the data as well because we know that children of color in our state simply don't have the same opportunity," Wallin said.

The New Mexico Kids Count Conference will be held on additional dates in October and December and include a presentation entitled "Cradle-to-Career Education in the time of COVID-19 and Recession."

Wallin said going back to school during the pandemic has been a really tough decision for administrators, teachers and parents and more parents have signed up for homeschooling.

"We want to acknowledge that everybody is doing the best that they can in really impossible situations," Wallin said. "And so we'll be talking about ways that we can move forward as a state, given these huge challenges that the state and our families are facing."

Kids Count is a state-by-state and national effort that tracks child well-being data in four areas: economic security, education, health and family and community. For most of the 16 indicators in those four domains, New Mexico is ranked at or near the bottom nationally.

More information about the virtual conference can be found at nmvoices.org.

Disclosure: New Mexico Voices for Children/KIDS COUNT contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Early Childhood Education, Human Rights/Racial Justice and Poverty Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Roz Brown, Public News Service - NM