Survey Says Latino Parents Fear Police Violence

Some Hispanic and Latino New Mexicans use the video of George Floyd’s death as a way to talk to their children about racism, according to a survey by Latino Decisions

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Hundreds of Hispanic and Latino families in New Mexico have used the video of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers as an opportunity to talk to their children about racism, according to data from a survey by the research firm Latino Decisions.

The same survey found that 77% of parents worry their children might experience excessive force by law enforcement at some point in their lives and 89% of caregivers and parents agree that they can feel pain and frustration of Black communities because they have had the same experiences of excessive force with law enforcement.

At a virtual news conference on Tuesday afternoon, Gabriel Sanchez, a researcher at Latino Decisions and associate professor of political science at the University of New Mexico, said the survey shows "optimism" that future generations will look at tragic experiences like the death of George Floyd and "make sure they don't have to deal with it as they age into adulthood."

"The survey reveals that Hispanic families in New Mexico have a strong connection to the underlying issues driving this movement toward racial equality and the dismantling of structural racism," reads an analysis of the survey. "New Mexico has a deep history with police brutality that culminated recently in the Department of Justice requiring the City of Albuquerque to reform the police force in the state's largest city, following a report that found a majority of police-involved shootings they investigated were unconstitutional."

The complete survey, commissioned by Partnership for Community Action, Somos Un Pueblo Unido, NM Voices for Children, El CENTRO de Igualdad y Derechos, Comunidades de Fe en Acción (CAFé) and Abriendo Puertas, interviewed 480 Latino parents, including 165 immigrant parents and caregivers of children, between June 4 and 12.

It is the most comprehensive study of the Latino population about COVID-19 in New Mexico, Sanchez said.

The main takeaways from the respondents show that Hispanic families were hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 50% of Hispanic families having $1,000 or less for emergencies and 38% have used nearly all of their savings.

The group of nonprofits came together in March after the start of the pandemic in order to narrow the information gap between the government and Spanish speakers as well as come up with policy recommendations to present to local, state and federal governments, according to Javier Martinez, executive director of the Partnership for Community Alliance.

For now, that looks like the groups working with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's staff, specifically with the Human and Health Services Department, to find ways to make sure that immigrant families can access support through the state, including financially.

A group of about 50 local leaders from around the state also signed a letter sent to New Mexico senators and representatives in Congress on Tuesday morning asking them to fight for "inclusion of immigrant workers and families in future COVID-19 relief packages."

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