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The election is done, and democracy has emerged the victor, bloodied and bruised in a manner fitting the epic fight that was.
For those privileged enough to be insulated from the daily struggles of racism, xenophobia, homophobia and sexism, this election nakedly exposed them and their enablers. That, for many, was enough to spur participation in record numbers.
When all the votes were counted, the relief was visible in street parties and social media feeds across the country. Women, and particularly women of color, cried as they danced and held their daughters watching as Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, clad in suffragette white, stood before the world as the first woman of color ever elected to a national office in our country.
It was a historic and very visible demonstration of the changing face of America’s electorate.
Here at home, the face of our politics is changing too.
For the first time in New Mexico history, women will hold a majority of seats in the State House of Representatives. Women already held more than two-thirds of the seats on the state’s two highest courts, and voters saw fit to return all three women running in 2020. And of course, New Mexico has been led by female governors for the last 10 years.
Voters on Albuquerque’s West Side elected our state’s first African American state senator, Harold Pope, Jr. He spoke with our editor, Tierna Unruh-Enos, for this edition about the historic nature of that election and the struggle to elevate the Black voice in a state with so many overpowering narratives.
Statewide, LGBTQ candidates took a record number of seats in the State Senate (Carrie Hamblin of Las Cruces will join Sens. Stefanics of Santa Fe and Candelaria of ABQ), State House and locally. One of those rising stars, Representative-elect Britney Barreras, is an intelligent, progressive voice who inherits a South Valley seat long held by older and more conservative Democrats, perhaps marking an important shift in generational politics. She talks with The Paper. in this edition as well.
Federally, we elected our first Hispanic U.S. Senator in 40 years and sent an all-female delegation—including two women of Native American heritage—to Congress.
Ethnically, New Mexico is one of just six “majority-minority” states; one in which minorities outnumber whites. But our identity is much more complex than the tri-cultural Native-Hispanic-Anglo narrative we learned in school, as the elevation of more African American and queer voices to powerful positions demonstrates.
The people in power are starting to look like the people they serve, and that marks an important moment in New Mexico politics. New Mexico’s power structure is changing, and the leaders featured in this edition are here to write the next chapter. We think this story is so important, we gave an entire edition to it.
As the state’s largest independent voice for journalism, The Paper. has an obligation to take on more of these in-depth stories, as told by the people living them. We hope you find it informative, and we hope you’ll share it with a friend. Let us know what you think by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. [ ]