June 4, 2020
Dear New Mexico,
I want to begin by offering my sincere condolences and prayers to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and to all whose lives have been stolen as a result of racism and brutality in this country.
I am committed to transparency, accountability, and excellence and stand in solidarity with all New Mexicans who advocate tirelessly for greater diversity, stronger inclusion, and absolute social equity and justice. Systemic problems require systemic solutions, from laws and regulations on the federal level to local level, to organizational policies and procedures, to individual reflection and improvement. It is through transparency and accountability that we challenge and confront systemic racial discrimination and social injustice. By focusing on collaboration and partnerships with our stakeholders, and improving transparency and accountability in government, we contribute to systemic solutions. However, we won’t truly reach excellence in this regard without further reflection and a commitment toward initiating actionable strategies and goals that contribute to persistent progress.
As we navigate through the uncharted waters of the COVID-19 global health crisis, we find ourselves battling not one, but two viruses – one of the body and one of the soul – it is now, more than ever, vital we work together to chart a path forward to recover from the devastation caused by the pandemic, while working toward eliminating endemic racism plaguing our society. These issues are not occurring in isolation, it’s no wonder people of color and vulnerable communities have been so disproportionately harmed by the pandemic and corresponding economic crisis. We have to do better as a nation, a state, and as individuals.
New Mexicans are hurting, communities are feeling fractured, angry, hopeless, and afraid. Over 500 peaceful protests, vigils, and demonstrations have taken place across New Mexico and the voices of the vast majority demonstrated out of love and concern. These voices are being heard despite the destructive behavior of few who seek only to distract from the message of progress. I want to be clear, to all New Mexicans in pain and who are rightfully outraged, your State Auditor stands with you.
We must continue to raise our voices against all forms of bigotry and hate and reject all representations of racism and expressions of racist behavior. We must actively work to remove the barriers that keep us from moving forward. To successfully dismantle the foundations of systemic racism, undo racist structures, and reform racist institutions we must take immediate, thoughtful, and deliberate action.
Office of the State Auditor
It is not enough to feel outrage. It is not enough to express concern. It is not enough to heap praise on the work others are doing. We can no longer make excuses for a lack of engagement or lack of progress. We must initiate and participate in actionable efforts to create and hold space for those who are oppressed, listen to those who are disenfranchised, and learn from those with lived experiences of injustice and suppression. As to my role, I will be listening and identifying opportunities to shine a light on the issues that contribute to the systems that promote racial discrimination and social injustice in New Mexico to better inform state leaders on those issues that perpetuate the ills of our society all while continuing my fight against waste, fraud, and abuse.
Brian S. Colón, Esq., CFE
New Mexico State Auditor
The Office of the State Auditor, as a constitutionally established office, is bound to protect and uphold the laws of the State of New Mexico. The New Mexico Human Rights Act protects New Mexicans from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, age, physical or mental disability, spousal affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, childbirth or condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, or serious medical condition. If you feel you have been discriminated against based on any of the protected classes you are encouraged to file a charge with the New Mexico Human Rights Bureau using the link provided here: Filing a Charge of Discrimination