Goodbye, Dr. Virginia Necochea!

August 10, 2020

Dear CESOSS Community,


It is always a bittersweet moment when positions you love, come to a close.


It has been an absolute honor to lead CESOSS over the years and I am proud of the work we’ve accomplished. From our advocacy work protecting and preserving land and water resources in our communities, to building an exemplary leadership institute for young leaders, to launching an idea that hopefully one day will become the first Acequia Education and Outreach Office in the Middle Rio Grande region, to so many more!


This work would not have been possible without the support from the community and the guidance from my Board – Alicia Chavez, Santiago Maestas, Andrea Lopez, Marcia Fernandez, and Dr. Rip Anderson. I will remain forever grateful to all of you for always believing in me and in the vision I set out for our small nonprofit.


Goodbyes are never easy, but I’ve realized that this one doesn’t feel as heart-wrenching because as one of the founding board members, I will always remain connected to CESOSS. We built CESOSS from the ground and it’s work like this that continues to be part of you. 


I am happy to let the community know that we are currently working with CESOSS founder Jorge Garcia, on a solid transition plan that ensures the work continues strong. We are also excited that Lauren Baca, previous Leadership Institute intern,  is part of the CESOSS team. Over the summer Lauren began her work with us as a Program Assistant, but will now serve in the capacity of Program Coordinator. We are so honored to have Lauren on our team!


Once again, my sincerest thanks to my beautiful community for the support, the friendship, and especially the teachings. I take that with me as I begin my new journey as the Executive Director of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) where I’ll remain committed to working alongside communities in protecting Mother Earth.


This is not goodbye for our work dedicated to achieving justice in New Mexico continues.


In Solidarity,



Call to Action: Stand with To'hajiilee in demanding access to Clean Water

WAHL (Western Albuquerque Land Holdings) is once again being a bad vecino (neighbor). Not only are they behind the massive Santolina housing development (still in the works), but now they've denied the Village of To'hajiilee, a chapter of the Navajo Nation, a right of way that would provide the community with access to much needed water. 


Last week, Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O'Malley sent out a press release detailing how despite the numerous incentives WALH has received from the county, they have declined to meet with County and To'hajiilee officials to discuss providing a right of way to the community. 


Doesn't WALH understand that access to clean water is a basic and fundamental human right? Don't they care that Native communities, especially the Navajo Nation, have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and how important water is in battling the virus? 


What can be done?

Help To'hajiilee by calling the agents for WALH (owners of Santolina), Garrett Development and Asset Management:

Jeff Garrett at, and 

Ted Garrett at, or at 480-970-4005, and tell them that WAHL needs to provide the right of way to the Village of To’hajiilee immediately, it’s the right thing to do! 

Update on Leadership Institute

Because of the pandemic and continued uncertainty our communities are facing, we have decided to hold off on starting this year's Cultivando Nuestro Futuro Leadership Institute.


We will use this time to evaluate the program and to coordinate a solid plan for the Institute moving forward. We look forward to resuming the Institute and continuing our work with emerging leaders!


If you have any questions, please email us at

De La Tierra Coloring Books

Our De la Tierra coloring books continue to reach students and teachers! A batch was just sent to teachers in Las Cruces and we've just received a large order from Mountain Mahogany Charter School!


Thanks again to the artists who contributed to the coloring book and to our friends who are helping us to promote and distribute De la Tierra!


If you would like to order a copy or have any questions, please contact us at

Welcome Lauren Baca - CESOSS Program Coordinator

Originally from Gallup, New Mexico, Lauren has lived in Albuquerque for almost five years now while attending UNM. Her pronouns are: She, Hers, and Her.  She graduated from UNM with a BA in Philosophy Pre-Law & Women's Studies. Lauren will start her Master's in American Studies at UNM this Fall 2020. Her main academic interests are in Gender Studies, Chicana Studies, Women Studies, Feminist Theory, Legal Studies, and Androgynous Studies.

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