House Unanimously Votes To Recognize Feb. 11 As African American Day

African American Day is celebrated Friday at the state legislature with a performance by Rayetta Baty, Songbird of the Southwest. Courtesy photo


The House passed a Memorial introduced by Rep. Pamelya Herndon (D-Albuquerque) to recognize February 11 as African American Day in the New Mexico Legislature. A program celebrating the day included guest speakers Dr. Finnie Coleman, President of the Faculty Senate at the University of New Mexico, Dr. Julia Brown, National President of American Association of University Women, and a special performance by Rayetta Baty, the Songbird of the Southwest. 

Statement from Representative Herndon: 

“African American day is a celebration of the many sacrifices that African Americans have made toward the democracy we all enjoy today. It is also a time to reflect upon the need to diversify our thinking to ensure that all voices are heard in every decision making process.

The African American community in New Mexico has a long and compelling legacy that dates back to 1539, when Esteban, a Spanish Moor from North Africa, traveled to New Mexico seeking gold. Today, New Mexico has a vibrant African American community with a population of approximately 55,000 Black people.

This past year has seen increased attention on police violence, systemic racism, and disproportionate health outcomes faced by African Americans. In light of this recent history, efforts to advance racial equality and civil engagement remain as urgent as ever. Everyone is encouraged to celebrate African-American day by honoring the contributions that African Americans have made throughout history, while also recognizing that the fight for racial justice and equality continues to this day.”