Commentary: On Monday, September 12 at 11:00 a.m., clergy from across New Mexico will lead a “Higher Ground Moral Day of Action” outside of the state capitol in Santa Fe joining with clergy in over 25 other states across the country. This nationwide action is coordinated by the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, architect of the Moral Monday Movement in North Carolina with Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr., senior minister emeritus of the historic Riverside Church, Rev. Dr. Traci Blackmon, acting executive minister of the United Church of Christ's Justice and Witness Ministries; and Sister Simone Campbell, leader of the “Nuns on the Bus”.
Because the battle for the soul of America is being fought at the state level, and
nothing short of a moral movement converging in every state capital will make possible the reconstruction we need to fulfill our nation's promise. --Rev. William Barber
Clergy will be joined by advocates, activists, union members and people who have been negatively impacted by regressive policies and extremism in our political system. After the rally, clergy will deliver the “Higher Ground Moral Declaration,” to Governor Susana Martinez and their state legislators in advance of the anticipated special legislative session to address the budget crisis, and encourage members of their communities to vote for candidates who have the highest capacity to advance a moral public policy agenda.
The “Higher Ground Moral Declaration” (currently signed by over 10,000 people of faith and 1,500 clergy) calls on elected officials and candidates for office to advance a moral public policy agenda that responds to the urgent needs of the poor, people who are ill, children, immigrants, communities of color, and religious minorities. It directs specific questions to political candidates and elected officials of both parties concerning:
● Democracy and Voting Rights – Rev. Dr. Keith Wilkes, United Methodist Church, Portales
● Poverty and Economic Justice - Rev. Steve Wiard, United Methodist Church, Taos &
Rev. David Rogers, Disciples of Christ, Carlsbad
● Workers Rights – Rev. Dr. Holly Beaumont, Disciples of Christ, Santa Fe
● Education - Father Richard Murphy, Episcopal Church, Santa Fe
● Healthcare - Rev. Lorelei Kay, Presbyterian Church (USA), Gallup
● Environmental Justice - Rev. Chan Osborn de Anaya, Episcopal Church in Navajoland, Farmington
● Immigrant’s Rights and Xenophobia - Rev. Antonio Aja, Presbyterian Church (USA), Santa Fe
● Criminal Justice – Rev. Steve Voris, Presbyterian Church (USA), Carlsbad
● LGBTQ Rights - Rev. Judith Maynard, Metropolitan Community Church, Albuquerque
● War Mongering and the Military - Rev. Todd Wynward, Mennonite, Taos
The Rev. Kay Huggins, Interim Exec. Dir. of the NM Conference of Churches states: “Although we often discuss the financial challenges facing our state, this particular moment-as immediate cuts are being considered-has united people of faith. With a common voice we lift up an appeal to remember the true, human costs before budget cuts are confirmed. Many of us are concerned that the poorest of the poor and those most easily forgotten will be harmed if our legislators and governor are not exceedingly careful in their reductions.”
James Jimenez, Exec. Dir. of NM Voices for Children, has worked with state and city budgets for many years. He recently stated: “New Mexico communities cannot thrive if our state lacks the revenue it takes to make these investments―and others―in our well-being. The way forward is for lawmakers to repeal the tax cuts and end the practice of letting the most powerful manipulate the tax code to their benefit. It’s time to focus on what helps all New Mexicans.”
The NM Moral Day of Action is a project of Interfaith Worker Justice–NM and co-sponsored by: New Mexico Conference of Churches, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry–NM, New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light; and is endorsed by these organizations: Albuquerque NAACP, American Federation of Teachers (AFT)-NM, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)-NM, Bread for the World-NM, Center for Civic Policy, Equality New Mexico, Food and Water Watch-NM, Health Action New Mexico, Mesquite Community Action Committee, Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE), National Education Association of New Mexico, Native Voters Alliance, New Mexico Community AIDS Project. New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness, New Mexico Voices for Children, NM Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, OLÉ-New Mexico, RESULTS - Santa Fe, Strong Families-New Mexico, Santa Fe Veterans for Peace, Tewa Women United, Young Women United.
The “Moral Day of Action” is being coordinated in over 25 capital cities including Montgomery, AL, Little Rock, AR, Sacramento, CA, Denver, CO, Hartford, CT, Washington, DC, Tallahassee, FL, Atlanta, GA, Springfield, IL, Indianapolis, IN, Frankfort, KY, Baton Rouge, LA, Boston, MA, Saint Paul, MN, Jackson, MS, Jefferson City, MO, Concord, NH, Santa Fe, NM, Raleigh, NC, Carson City, NV, Albany, NY, Columbus, OH, Harrisburg, PA, Columbia, SC, Nashville, TN, Austin, TX, Richmond, VA, and Madison, WI.
The Higher Ground Moral Day of Action is a part of “The Revival: Time for a Moral Revolution of Values,” a national multistate tour to redefine morality in American politics. “The Revival” challenges leaders of faith and moral courage to be more vocally opposed to harmful policies that disproportionately impact vulnerable communities.