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Rep. Haaland Talks Racial Justice With ABQ Organizers On Election Night

Screenshot of Livestream Feed
Via "Deb Haaland for Congress" Facebook Page

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland on Tuesday cancelled her election watch party to instead stream a conversation with local community leaders organizing for racial justice. During the online event called “Be Fierce: Say Their Names," the congresswoman expressed solidarity with the organizers who said they envision continuing their work through protest and creating spaces for people of color.

With polls nearly closed Tuesday night, Democratic Rep. Deb Haaland hosted an online event with three young Albuquerque Black Lives Matter organizers: Hossanna Scott, Keiran Freeman and Kaelyn Shaw.

Haaland, who ran unopposed in Tuesday night’s Democratic primary for her congressional seat, said on the event’s Facebook page that she’d cancelled her watch party because there were “bigger issues at hand.” 

“The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery have shined a light on the racial injustices still alive in our country,” Haaland said as she opened the event.

The congresswoman, a Laguna Pueblo member, shared that she got her start in organizing by working to increase Native American voter participation. When asked why she got into community organizing, Hosanna Scott said she and other Black folks in New Mexico had felt alone. There’s not a huge Black community here," Scott said. “And we cannot continue to see our brothers and sisters die. It’s super traumatizing, it’s super taxing on who we are as people.” 

Scott says the group will keep their recent anti-racism and anti-police violence work going. “We are a movement, not a moment,” she said on Tuesday’s livestream.

When asked how elected officials can support them, organizer Keiran Freeman urged Rep. Haaland to help facilitate a dialogue with local police, who are part of what he called “a broken system.” 

After forming just last week, the group helped lead the peaceful protest on Sunday, May 31, that drew thousands. Organizer Kaelyn Shaw says they raised over $2,000 on day one for supplies. By the day of the protest, that amount had more than doubled. Hossanna Scott says the group has contributed funds to The National Bailout among other groups and plan to continue to give back financially to local Black organizations. 

Rep. Haaland concluded the event by assuring her constituents that she’s an ally to racial justice organizers and that these conversations will continue. 

Nash Jones (they/them) is a general assignment reporter in the KUNM newsroom and the local host of NPR's All Things Considered (weekdays on KUNM, 5-7 p.m. MT). You can reach them at nashjones@kunm.org or on Twitter @nashjonesradio.
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