McKinley Mutual Aid: Responding to COVID-19 as a Community, 6.8.20

PRESS RELEASE – Responding to COVID19 as a Community

New Mexico First: What advice do you have for other communities that are coming together to co-create a response to COVID-19?

McKinley Mutual Aid: We started with our existing networks of the folks and we’ve cultivated trust with over the years or months. You have to have strong trust among those you know and then the work organically grows. We don’t force it. That’s part of the decolonizing process. We’re looking through the lens of a family of networks, not the corporate framework. We co-create with allies, co-workers, and collaborators and have seen the natural alignment and growth. We have a beautiful sunflower bouquet of networks that is rooted in a family of networks.” ~Anna Rondon, Executive Director, New Mexico Social Justice and Equity Institute.

Communities receiving food boxes and supplies from McKinley Mutual Aid

Communities in New Mexico, like many across the country, are organizing to provide relief directly to community members. Neighbors helping neighbors is hardly a new phenomenon in our country and state, but the COVID-19 crisis has elevated the importance and impact of these groups to augment the efforts of government systems and nonprofit organizations. Drawing upon their intimate knowledge of their communities, expanding upon existing relationships, these groups can move quickly and effectively to link people who need help with those who can provide it.

There are many examples from New Mexico communities that can serve as guides, whose organizers are willing to share their experiences with others. Here are just a few. Please share information about efforts in your community. Contact

McKinley Mutual Aid is one inspiring example of what communities can accomplish when they work toward a common purpose. The group delivers food boxes, water, cleaning supplies, and personal hygiene products to many communities of McKinley County including the Sovereign Indigenous Nations of the Navajo (Diné ) & Zuni (Ashiwi) peoples, as well as those neighboring communities on the borders that share resources, relatives and lived communal experiences. To track their current efforts, follow their Facebook page. A recent article by Brenda Norrell with Censored News, highlights the relational systemic approach to mutual aid in McKinley County. The effort has also garnered national press.

Doña Ana Communities United has started a free program initiative called Cruces Contigo. Cruces Contigo is a way for Las Crucens to help each other combat isolation and loneliness during this time of physical distancing, due to COVID-19. All of this is done in the comfort and safety of members’ homes. Each resident is paired with another participant; both agree to check in on each other a few times per week. This can be done by text, email, video call or phone call. Anyone can become a Cruces Contigo member. If you want to join, please visit the website and take the short survey. Please contact coordinator Adalis, at (915)314-0746(call/text) or email at Follow on Facebook.

Fight for Our Lives, a youth-led organization in Albuquerque, is leading a community coalition that is looking out for neighbors by delivering care packages to those in need. Go to their Mutual Aid page, and a request form in Spanish and English will pop up. All information is confidential. If you don’t need a care package, you can volunteer to help or donate groceries, supplies or cash to make these available to others in need. For more information, email

In Santa Fe, Earth Care’s youth and parent leaders are coordinating a mutual aid network in partnership with community members Red Nation, DSA-Santa Fe, and Fathers New Mexico. ‘We recognize that we have the opportunity and responsibility to create a grassroots response that strengthens our community’s connection, social capital, and resilience – while centering the needs of our most vulnerable and building power to address structural inequalities.” Forms in Spanish and English are available online to request or offer support. Online donations are welcome.

Roanhorse Consulting (RCLLC) has developed a listing of resources for Native Communities, including direct service and grassroots organizations that are working with and for Native communities in their own areas. In addition to information about the groups’ mission/work, RCLLC is also asking: what are you doing to support your communities during this pandemic? How has your mission/work pivoted with the pandemic? And are you accepting donations or funding to provide this additional support to your community?

COVID-19 Emergency Funds

Con Alma Health Foundation has launched a COVID-19 Emergency Assistance project. Grants will support New Mexico nonprofits that are providing basic needs, including health care, food distribution, emergency housing and financial aid, to people most impacted by COVID-19. Grants will be awarded on an expedited, rolling basis starting Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Apply for grants.

In addition to the grant awards to nonprofits, Con Alma will collaborate with the New Mexico Health Equity Partnership, an initiative at the Santa Fe Community Foundation, to collaborate with others working on COVID-19 recovery efforts to: leverage resources; prevent duplication of efforts and services; identify and address underserved needs; and create a plan for the equitable recovery from COVID-19 that focuses on long-term policy and system change strategies that address health disparities and advance health equity.

Census 2020. Get Counted!

Why is the Census Important? Counting everyone in New Mexico is critical because this count is used to determine the distribution of federal dollars and political representation for New Mexico for the next ten years.

Who is Counted? Everyone who lives in New Mexico is required to be counted. Parents, grandparents and caregivers, please remember to include all your babies and children on the census form.

What is the Process? The 2020 Census is EASY. It asks just 10 questions and takes 10 minutes to respond. By April 1, 2020, households should have received an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. You’ll then have three options for responding: online, by mail, or by phone.

Join the Team! Encourage your family, friends and community to respond to the Census. ICountNM has many information resources you can post and share. Census-takers are still needed in Eddy, Lincoln, Los Alamos, McKinley, and San Juan County. Apply here.

McKinley Mutual Aid: Tip for Civility: Trust-filled, relationship-based approaches help achieve productive change.

Business gurus and organizational and leadership development consultants have written several best-selling books based on principles that many New Mexicans have long understood and practiced. Trust-filled, relationship-based approaches are the most durable and impactful way to achieve productive change. If engagement is low and positive outcomes seem distant, it is likely that trust and mutual accountability are in short supply. If we are willing to have honest conversation and adjust our approaches based on feedback, a few simple but profound questions that we can ask ourselves and members of our community can help reset the tone and strengthen relationships. What am I doing to build and sustain trust?Have I done anything that suggests that I am not a reliable person?What can others count on me for?What do I need to count on others for?How do we create repair when there has been a disconnect between expectations and actions?The Tip for Civility section is authored by Lilly Irvin-Vitela, President and Executive Director of New Mexico First. She invites you to connect! Email her using the button below.

Our Mission. Our Values. Our Mission
To be a catalyst for positive change by engaging citizens in policy and enabling action.

Our Core Values: Meaningfully engaging New Mexicans in public policy; Striving for and respecting consensus; Pursuing and respecting diverse points of views; Ensuring inclusion and transparency; Rising above partisan politics; Changing policy to improve people’s lives; Creating an informed citizenry that is powerfully motivated; Reaching out statewide including rural and tribal communities; Partnering with others; Promoting civility and Democracy at its best!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *