56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2024


Eleanor Chávez









     WHEREAS, the mission of New Mexico highlands university's Facundo Valdez school of social work's center for excellence in social work is to collaborate with students, practitioners, educators and community and organizational leaders statewide to respond to the evolving needs of New Mexico's diverse and multicultural people, families and communities for the advancement of racial, environmental, social and economic justice for equitable outcomes for all; and

     WHEREAS, the primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of those who are vulnerable, oppressed and living in poverty; and

     WHEREAS, the council on social work education recognizes and calls for rectifying the disparities in social, economic, racial and environmental justice that lead to inequities in access to education, health care, political representation and other opportunities; and

     WHEREAS, the council on social work education acknowledges that environmental justice issues are connected to social justice issues, and legislation is critically needed to ensure that no group or community is excluded from pertinent environmental policy decisions, suffers a disproportionate impact from environmental hazards or lacks access to available environmental resources; and

     WHEREAS, the council on social work education emphasizes that for competent practice, social workers must understand that ethics are informed by principles of human rights, critically evaluate the distribution of power and privilege in society and analyze, formulate and advocate for policies that advance human rights and social, racial, economic and environmental justice; and

     WHEREAS, New Mexico residents are hard-hit by environmental inequities, injustices and climate change, with twenty-eight of its thirty-three counties designated as drought disaster zones by the United States department of agriculture; and

     WHEREAS, the federal substance abuse and mental health services administration has identified indigenous people, communities of color, refugees, immigrants, people experiencing poverty, senior citizens, children, people who are unhoused and people with behavioral health needs as disproportionately affected by environmental disasters; and

     WHEREAS, social workers are frontline responders who help individuals, families and communities overcome trauma, grief and displacement from natural disasters such as wildfires, drought and flooding; and

     WHEREAS, the United States bureau of labor statistics identifies a total of four thousand two hundred forty social workers employed in community and social service occupations in New Mexico; and

     WHEREAS, approximately one thousand six hundred nine undergraduate and graduate students from four accredited universities, New Mexico highlands university, western New Mexico university, New Mexico state university and eastern New Mexico university, and throughout New Mexico are in the social work workforce pipeline; and

     WHEREAS, social workers stand ready to help society overcome current and pressing needs;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that, for competent practice, all social workers in New Mexico be requested to adopt and practice in alignment with the following established principles of environmental justice:

          A. the right to freedom from ecological destruction;

          B. the affirmation of ecological unity and the interdependence of all species;

          C. the right to freedom from all forms of discrimination or bias;

          D. that public policy be based on mutual respect and justice for all people;

          E. the right to ethical, balanced and responsible uses of land and renewable resources in the interest of maintaining a sustainable planet;

          F. the fundamental right to clean air, land, water and food;

          G. universal protection from nuclear testing, extraction and production and disposal of toxic or hazardous wastes and poisons;

          H. the fundamental right of all people to political, economic, cultural and environmental self-determination;

          I. the cessation of production of all toxins, hazardous wastes and radioactive materials and that past and current producers be held accountable for detoxification and containment at the point of production;

          J. the right of all people to participate as equal partners at all levels of decision making, including needs assessment, planning, implementation, enforcement and evaluation;

          K. the right of workers to a safe and healthy work environment;

          L. the right to quality health care;

          M. the right of victims of environmental injustice to receive full compensation and reparations for damages;

          N. that governmental acts of environmental injustice violate international law, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide;

          O. recognition of the special relationship of Native American people to the United States government through treaties, agreements, compacts and covenants affirming sovereignty and self-determination;

          P. the need for urban and rural ecological policies to clean up and rebuild cities and rural areas in balance with nature, honoring the cultural integrity of all communities, with fair access to the full range of resources for all;  

          Q. strict enforcement of principles of informed consent and the end of testing of experimental reproductive and medical procedures and vaccinations on people of color;

          R. opposition to the destructive operations of multinational corporations;

          S. opposition to military occupation and repression and the exploitation of lands, people, cultures and all life forms;

          T. educating present and future generations with an emphasis on social and environmental issues based on diverse cultural perceptions; and

          U. that individuals make conscious lifestyle choices to prioritize the health of the natural world for present and future generations by consuming as little as possible and producing as little waste as possible; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be transmitted to the boards of regents of New Mexico highlands university, eastern New Mexico university, western New Mexico university and New Mexico state university.

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