Monday, August 13, 2012

David Beckmann's Visit to Albuquerque in 1994

Almost  18 years ago, in September of 1994, Bread for the World President David Beckmann was a featured speaker at a joint conference we organized with the New Mexico Lutheran Office of Governmental Ministry, or LOGM, (now Lutheran Advocacy Ministry, or LAM).

David Beckmann & Richard Rohr
The other featured speaker was Father Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest who founded the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque.  Emily Bauermaister Abbott was our Bread regional organizer, and I had recently taken the grassroots leadership role in Albuquerque from Rev. Howard Corry, Lutheran campus pastor at the University of New Mexico.  Nima Ward was the LOGM director. Ruth Hoffman has since replaced her as director of this very effective state legislative adovcacy organization.

David Beckmann talks to KOB-TV
I can't remember how many people attended, but my guess is that we must have had at least 100 participants, and possibly more.  Most were from Albuquerque, but some folks drove here from Santa Fe, Farmington and Las Cruces.

We put together several great workshops on very interesting topics, including migrant worker rights, world hunger, advocacy, etc..

Our team did such a good job promoting the conference that the local NBC affiliate, KOB-TV, came out to interview David for the early newscast on Saturday afternoon.

I happened to find a cassette tape (YES, a CASSETTE TAPE!) with David's keynote address during lunch.

Below is an excerpt from September 24, 1994.
I've been struck that Bread for the World in New Mexico has had a real influence on your delegation.  On this year's main campaign, A Child is Waiting, which is a campaign to get guaranteed full funding for the WIC program as part of health care reform, Sen. Jeff Bingaman and Rep. Bill Richardson are cosponsors of the legislation.

Sen. Pete Domenici doesn't always vote with us, but he has repeatedly shown up at Bread for the World events. He makes it his business to get to these receptions.  He knows about the Bread for the World presence  in New Mexico. And we're not talking about a lot of people--I' think it's 200 members in New Mexico or something like that.

And there's a little group that meets once a month, so that they remind each other to write letters.  But even though it's just a little group, Sen. Domenici knows you're there, and because of that, he's a real leader on international child survival issues.  He's a fan of the WIC program, and he came to WIC's 20th Birthday Party on Capitol Hill.  He knows that Bread for the World in New Mexico is a real presence to deal with.  
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