By WHITNEY HOLLAND
AFT NM New Mexico
We are sincerely disappointed to be writing this email.
Considering the extreme and on-going COVID-19 infections throughout our communities, we have made the difficult decision to ask AFT New Mexico members to NOT travel to Santa Fe this Sunday for our planned rally in support of our campaign for the 3Rs: Respect, Recruit, and Retain.
When this rally was envisioned by our sibling educators at NEA-NM, we were excited to accept their invitation to join with them in solidarity, however, the current wave of Omicron-variant cases was expected to peak and then dissipate in early January, and this has not happened.
Throughout the pandemic, AFT NM has always advocated for the safety of educators and students, and this remains our North Star. We made this difficult decision with the safety of our members and communities in mind and to allow NEA-NM to hold their rally in the safest manner possible for their members.
While we are asking AFT NM members to NOT travel to Santa Fe this Sunday, we are asking you to remain engaged with our on-going legislative and informational campaign to educate New Mexico about the challenges facing staffing of our schools and universities, at Respect New Mexico Educators.
Our campaign educates Santa Fe lawmakers and the public about the need for more highly qualified and well-trained educators to enter the profession in addition to the necessity to make significant policy changes to keep veteran educators in our schools and university.
We know this news will come as a disappointment to the hundreds of AFT NM members from across New Mexico who were making plans to attend this rally. We are disappointed, too, and are actively working to schedule an alternative event, should COVID numbers decline during the 30-day legislative session.
Our profession has been pushed to the brink over the last few years, and COVID has exposed the deep and persistent needs of our public schools and our profession. Our union has weathered these challenges, and while we are tired, we remain undefeated in our commitment to our students and profession.
As part of our Respect New Mexico Educators campaign, we have placed newspaper ads across New Mexico in the following communities: Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Santa Fe, Taos, Gallup, Farmington, Roswell and Carlsbad. We hope you will keep an eye out for the ads when you receive your Sunday paper!
Please continue to watch for email communications throughout the session on how you can engage and activate in and around the issues and values we share as New Mexico educators.