Friday, March 18, 2016

Happy 20th Birthday to New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty

We believe every New Mexican should have an equal access to justice, regardless of economic status.  -New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty
The New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty is celebrating its 20th birthday this year. For 20 years, this organization has been fighting for the rights of low-income families in our state, and this is something to celebrate.

The tweet at the top of this post describes the NMCLP's latest victory: an injunction from a federal judge that suspends the state of New Mexico's punitive rules requiring thousands of New Mexicans to prove they are working or looking for a job in order to receive benefits under the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The ruling means the state cannot institute the work rules until Dec. 31, 2016, unless it proves to the judge that the rules won’t result in New Mexicans illegally being denied food benefits, said The New Mexican, quoting NMCLP staff attorney Sovereign Hager.

This battle with the state over SNAP rules has extended over several years, and the NMCLP has been at the forefront of the fight from the beginning. One of the biggest arguments against the state directive is that low-income New Mexicans are being forced to find a job in a state that has few employment opportunities.

Staff lawyers Sovereign Hager and Louise Pocock
The center is most commonly known for its work to protect  public benefits (we aim to protect and improve the public benefits safety net which helps struggling New Mexican families meet their basic human needs and ultimately escape from poverty). However, over the past 20 years, the NMLC has worked in some very important areas:  health care (we work to advance quality healthcare for all New Mexican children and families), workers' rights (we strive to improve pay and working conditions for low-wage earners), education (A quality education can be a reliable route out of poverty), and civil legal services (we believe every New Mexican should have an equal access to justice, regardless of economic status).

So after 20 years of very important work, we salute the NMCLP and are happy to promote its 20th anniversary celebration on Thursday, April 14, at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center 2401 12th St. NW (map), beginning at 5:00 p.m. The NMCLP will celebrate its accomplishments and honor the people who have made a difference in the organization’s work. "As we gather with old friends and introduce new partners, we will look forward to our next steps in the fight against poverty in New Mexico," said the NMCLP.

Tickets are $75, as the event is also a fundraiser for the NMCLP, allowing the organization to continue its important work.  Former Sen. Jeff Bingaman and State Sen. Michael Sanchez are featured speakers. CLICK HERE to buy tickets  For more information contact Kelsey O'Keefe ( 505.255.2840 x118

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