African-American contributions honored during annual celebration

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

More than 150 Clovis residents are caravaning by bus to Santa Fe Friday for a first-hand look at the New Mexico Legislature in action.

The trip is part of the sixth African-American Day at the New Mexico Legislature.

The event, sponsored by The African-American Day Council, is intended to recognize the accomplishments and contributions African-Americans have made to the state, according to Clovis’ event coordinator Selmus Price.

Of the 150 attending, 126 are students from Clovis’ middle and high schools. Price said it’s important for students to witness history in the making.

“If we’re going to pass on any legacy, we need our youth to experience it. And this is not only for African-American people, but for all ethnic groups. If you’re going to share the culture, you need to go across group boundaries for that,” he said.

New Mexico state treasurer James Lewis is the leading African-American elected official in the state. He was elected in 2006.

Price said that Clovis is well-represented at the event each year. Clovis will also be represented in the list of entertainers for the event.

Local gospel group Forces of Harmony and recording artist David Dawson will perform during the ceremony.

Clovis resident Bestella Gardner is planning to attend the event for the third year.

“I like it. It’s very interesting to see how the legislature works,” she said.

Gardner, who has lived in Clovis since 1975 when her husband retired from Cannon Air Force Base, said it’s important for children to witness the inner workings of the Legislature.

“It’s a great opportunity for children to see how they actually do things,” she said.

Fast Facts

What: Sixth African-American Day at the New Mexico State Legislature

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday

Where: New Mexico Legislature in Santa Fe