Anti-Racism Training Looks to Spark Conversation

At the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice, Senator Linda Lopez (left) interacts with her 4-year-old daughter, while Enrique Cardiel (center) and Tony Watkins (right) wait to begin the Anti-Racism Training event. Photo by John Jamison / NM News Port

The Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice hosted its second anti-racism training of 2017 on Wednesday Mar. 29, led by Enrique Cardiel and Tony Watkins.

“Racism is much more visible these days than it was before,” said Cardiel, referring to the changing political climate in the United States.

Cardiel focused on the Trump Administration’s tougher immigration policies and engaged the audience in an exercise diagramming examples of institutionalized racism in daily life.

More than 30 people turned out for the training. State Senator Linda Lopez (D-Albuquerque) attended the event with her 4-year-old daughter and teenage son.

“When I walked into the room, as folks were coming in, you could feel the peace in the room,” Sen. Lopez said. “I felt that there was an agreement amongst all of us that this is a safe place.”

Sen. Lopez recently addressed institutional racism in authoring Senate Bill 269, co-sponsored by Rep. Javier Martínez (D-Albuquerque) in the 2017 NM Legislature. The bill, now on the governor’s desk, would require state agencies to be responsible for developing their own policies decreasing institutional racism and implementing those policies. All state agencies would also be required to report annually to the legislature about their policies by the end of July.

(Editor’s Note: After this story was reported, NM Governor Susana Martinez vetoed SB 269.)

The room was filled with a diverse crowd including activists, counselors, and community leaders. Those in attendance sat in chairs forming a circle and engaged in personal conversation which created an open environment.

“On a larger level, people feel this is important and is needed now,” said Cardiel, speaking about the surprise turnout for the event.

Cardiel said his motivation for starting these trainings has been dealing with racism his whole life. He says his expected outcome is providing tools to help people deal with racism. Cardiel says his training deals with more than just survival in a racist society but finding ways to change it.

Sen. Lopez said “the visuals that were utilized for us to actually think and delve inside our minds” are important and need to be done in many other parts of the city and state.

“This is an important discussion… as we talk about institutionalized racism, it’s something that is here, but it can be changed. That’s why I’m here.” Sen. Lopez said.

The next event which Cardiel will be leading is titled “Resistencia y Regeneracion,” Thursday, April 13 at 6pm, at El Chante: Casa de Cultura LLC.

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