May 5 has been designated National Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Awareness Day. To commemorate the designation and signal the state’s commitment to the New Mexico Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives (MMIWR) task force. Governor Lujan Grisham signed an executive order on Wednesday that establishes the next phase of the task force. The order expands the membership of the original task force and brings on new representatives, including tribal representatives, legislators, and additional community partners. The task force will work to develop a state response plan addressing systemic changes that support prevention, reporting, and investigation of MMIWR incidents.
“The extreme and rampant violence that has been terrorizing Indigenous women for too long must stop,” said Lujan Grisham. “Expanding and strengthening the work of the task force to identify and implement solutions is a vital next step toward ending this crisis and achieving justice for all those impacted by this crisis. I want to thank the Legislature, Secretary Trujillo, the task force, and all of the committed stakeholders who have advocated and continue to advocate for this work to continue.”
In 2019 the governor signed legislation establishing the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force. The task force released a final report in December 2020 following a series of public meetings and original data collection. Since then, the State’s Indian Affairs Department and the task force have worked with partners to identify long-term solutions to the MMIWR crisis in New Mexico. The executive order enables the task force to continue its work by developing a plan that will detail how final report recommendations will be implemented.
The signing of this executive order comes on the National Day of Awareness for MMIW. On this day, national survivors, families, and community members connected to an estimated 5,700 missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW) will come together to recognize MMIW Day by building awareness and strategies to bring justice to victims and prevent future cases.
“Our Indigenous women and relatives continue to experience some of the highest rates of violence in the country; it is critical that we continue this work to find solutions that our Indigenous relatives deserve,” said Indian Affairs Dept Secretary Lynn Trujillo. “Through the continuation of this task force, we can ensure that we work together to take direct action and correct these injustices.”
“I am thankful that Governor Lujan Grisham has signed an Executive Order for Missing Murdered Indigenous Women & Relatives,” said Representative Derrick Lente. “This guarantees a continuation of the important work of the task force I helped to legislatively create in 2019. Bold responses and initiatives like this will bring an end to this problem that has plagued our Indigenous communities for far too long.”
The Indian Affairs Dept Secretary will serve as the Chair and will appoint representatives, convene meetings, facilitate stakeholder participation and provide strategic direction for achieving the task force goals.
Members of the task force will be appointed by the Secretary of the Indian Affairs Department.