It’s been a busy week for the HRA.

Monday, it came to our attention that the City Charter Commission was making six recommendations to the governing body to vote on during the special council meeting on Tuesday evening that was considering and voting on the new 3% excise tax on home sales. These other recommendations were changes to the City of Santa Fe Charter. Any modification of the Charter requires approval of the governing body before they can be added to the ballot in November ballot for all Santa Fe citizens to vote on, which is a requirement to change the city Charter.

One of the six recommendations was the addition of an Office of Equity and Inclusion and a new Human Rights Commission for the city. While the community and HRA would welcome these changes, there needed to be a delineated plan for how they would be implemented and paid for, etc. Luckily, HRA was able to enlist volunteers to write the governing body before the meeting, and thankfully, the Governing Body did not vote to include this specific recommendation on the ballot.

If it had(passed), our city would be dealing with a mandated mess with no roadmap to success. And, if the amendment failed, our efforts towards a fully funded, empowered, and prepared OEI and Human Rights Commission would suffer a devastating setback. Make no mistake, this amendment could have failed without the power of a public information campaign to explain the value for our city. Failing to pass this initiative could have placed our community and state two steps back in the fight for equality, inclusion, and shared values. In today’s political environment, a campaign unprepared could become a lightning rod for hate and discord. Watch for an editorial piece in the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Then, on Wednesday, the HRA Board voted on four new members to join our current board. These new Board members are a welcome addition and are united in our mission of bringing HRA to a new place of importance for the Santa Fe LGBTQIA2+ community.

You’ll hear more about them individually in a special newsletter – for now, here are their names. Please join me in welcoming:
Tim Struck
Oona Bender
Katharine Clark
Carolyn ‘Dusty’ Pruitt

And finally, get ready for our 2nd annual Halloween fundraiser – The Vamp Motel on Saturday, October 28. We are attaching sponsorship info for this event. Please take a look and consider becoming a sponsor.

Yours in good health and solidarity,

Kevin A. Bowen