From the SouthWest Organizing Project
Local students, families, community organizations, and youth allies will attend tonight's meeting of the Albuquerque City Council to oppose a resolution that would seek to enact a curfew on our city's young people. Many local youth groups, including the group at SWOP, have spoken in front of the Albuquerque Public School board and other bodies against the ordinance, which characterizzes the city's young people as a danger to themselves and others.
Youth organizers and allies will hold a press conference today at 4:00 PM at Civic Plaza, immediately before tonight's City Council Meeting. Organizers who have been pursuing positive programs for youth will look to push the Albuquerque City Council towards a vision of our youth as the solution- not the problem.
"We're dead last in the nation for child well-being," says Patrick barrett, SWOP Youth Organizer. "And the solution is not to violate young people's constitutional rights. That's why we should stop seeing them as criminals and start seeing them as the future of our state."
SWOP has been organizing students around issues of youth criminalization, including the curfew ordinance, through community and youth meetings, as well as by making it a focus of our summer internship program. This resulted in 80 young people attending a recent meeting of the APS School Board, which issued a strong opposition to the proposed curfew. Youth organizers are also garnering organizational allies as well as circulating a petition against the curfew.
SouthWest Organizing Project is against the Albuquerque City Council resolution to impose a city curfew. We believe New Mexico’s youth and families are our biggest assets and possess the solutions needed to improve our communities. We believe that this resolution, which would allow municipalities to enact curfews, will further harm our youth and families. Rolling back protections in the Children’s Code during a well-being crisis will not increase public safety in our communities. In fact, throughout history this has proven to be counter-productive.
Albuquerque’s City Council previously enacted a curfew ordinance, but the New Mexico Supreme Court deemed these ordinances unconstitutional. Their decision was based on the fact that law enforcement officials were denying children their basic constitutional rights. The civil rights violations imposed by the ordinance included: