Governor signs bills to help missing and murdered Indigenous women

The state Attorney General’s Office will now have a dedicated specialist in its office focused on missing Indigenous people, and an annual event will bring the families of those people together each year to provide support and resources. Both come as a result of legislation (Senate Bills 12 and 13) signed yesterday by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in an Albuquerque ceremony with state and tribal leaders. “This critical step forward will help unite our communities and New Mexico’s anguished families,” state Sen. Shannon Pinto, D-Gallup, one of SB12’s sponsors, said in a statement. “A very special thanks and recognition goes to the relatives of the Missing and Murdered, whose tireless and dedicated focus on this issue helped to get us to this place.” Lujan Grisham’s statement noted that “while these measures will not on their own bring an end to this crisis, they are important tools in our continued fight to deliver answers to families across the state and hold those responsible accountable. I thank the members of New Mexico’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives Task Force for their continued dedication to identifying solutions and delivering answers.” According to the governor’s office, New Mexico has 926 missing people; that data stems from the task force’s report at the end of 2020, which provided the first attempt at quantifying the longstanding crisis. (from the 2/25/22 issue of Morning Word, Santa Fe Reporter)