During 2010, Generation Justice hosted it’s first virtual town hall entitled “Speak Your Vote.” This virtual space ensured that youth, whether or not they could vote, had a voice in the 2010 Gubernatorial Election. In the course of a month, “Speak Your Vote” received 77 written or video blogs from youth in every corner of New Mexico, and 2,335 individual visits to the site. The blogs and vlogs were then sent to each candidate before the elections. Candidate Dianne Denish (D) responded to the youth’s questions and opinions via the “Speak Your Vote” site.

With the success and overwhelming support of the “Speak Your Vote” virtual town hall, Generation Justice saw the need to create a permanent virtual town hall space where youth and adults could come together to discuss their opinions, but, more importantly, where New Mexicans could be mobilized around some of the most pressing issues facing our state. With that, Generation Justice created NewMexicoSpeaks.com. NMSpeaks has served as site of discussion and mobilization around issues like immigration, corporal punishment, education, and early childhood development.

Youth Producer Lucia Martinez speaking at the “End Corporal Punishment” rally.

A Successful Campaign to End Corporal Punishment

One of the campaigns that NMSpeaks was utilized for in 2011 was around the issue of  Corporal Punishment and New Mexico House Bill 172 (which sought to ban corporal punishment in schools). Through our site, we were able to engage both youth and adults around the ideologies and power dynamics contained within the debate around corporal punishment in our schools. In a matter of one week, working with other community organizations, we had over 1,300 people visit the site, 30 blogs, helped coordinate a rally on corporal punishment, and forwarded the blogs to the governor. We’re happy to say the governor did indeed sign HB 172, banning corporal punishment in New Mexico schools.