New Mexicans urged Rep. Melanie Stansbury to join the call for a ceasefire in Israel’s war on Gaza by staging a die-in outside her Albuquerque field office on Monday.
On a concrete sidewalk in front of the jet black office tower called “The Citadel,” about 35 people lay on the ground, covered with large white sheets marked with fake blood to visually represent at least 11,078 Palestinians killed by Israel after 45 days of airstrikes and a ground invasion which began Oct. 28, according to Palestinian health officials in Gaza.
As Stansbury begins her break for the Thanksgiving holiday, activists wanted to remind the representative and staff that people outside the Uptown office “have not forgotten” about Palestinians, said Dina Afek, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace Albuquerque.
“We have not moved on. We cannot let her move on,” Afek said. “While Americans are enjoying meals and time with families, Palestinian families are literally being torn apart and completely wiped out. They are without food, water and medical supplies. Israeli hostages are still in great danger.”
Stansbury on Oct. 27 called for a “humanitarian pause.” But some want her to join the 41 members of Congress who have called for a ceasefire.
The distinction between a “humanitarian pause” and an actual ceasefire is important because after the potential hostage release deal, the bombing would likely resume, according to the Washington Post.
The congressional group calling for a ceasefire includes fellow Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabe Vasquez, who on Nov. 16 posted on social media calling for “a lasting, effective ceasefire.” Vasquez previously called for a “humanitarian pause.” Source NM asked a spokesperson what changed his mind, and they said a week ago they would provide comments but didn’t, and also did not respond to a request yesterday. We will update this story if we hear back.
On Friday, Nov. 17, a spokesperson for Leger Fernández pointed to her previous statement which called for a “humanitarian pause in the fighting.”
“As the U.S. supports Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas’s terrorist attacks, Israel must protect against the innocent loss of life,” the statement read, in part.
Two days later, Leger Fernández posted on social media in support of the Biden administration’s “work to achieve a multilateral temporary ceasefire that allows for the release of some hostages and for humanitarian assistance to flow.”
“A lasting peace cannot be built upon the rubble where children are buried,” Leger Fernández said.
A spokesperson for Leger Fernández confirmed she supports a “temporary ceasefire, the release of hostages, and facilitating humanitarian assistance.”
Group criticizes call for ‘humanitarian pause’
The most recent action in front of Stansbury’s office was co-sponsored by Youth United for Climate Crisis Action (YUCCA), an Indigenous-founded and youth-led movement focused on advancing climate and environmental justice.
In a letter YUCCA tried to hand her on Monday, the group said Stansbury’s call for a “humanitarian pause” late last month was “meaningless and hollow.”
“It did nothing,” the letter states. “Your failure to take more courageous action has had devastating consequences.”
As of Tuesday evening, a spokesperson for Stansbury had not yet responded to a text message seeking comment for this story.
YUCCA endorsed Stansbury in 2022 during her run for office, and the organization’s letter states they “have no problem publicly revoking that endorsement if you do not stand for what is right when it matters most.”
“This, representative, matters most: A ceasefire is what we need, now. You are late, five weeks late,” the letter states.
In previous letter deliveries to other members’ field offices in Santa Fe, staff allowed organizers inside to present the paperwork, including the staff of Sens. Ben Ray Luján and Martin Heinrich, and Rep. Leger Fernández.
In October, the state director for Sen. Martin Heinrich’s office came out to meet with hundreds of people marching on Marcy Street in downtown Santa Fe.
When a smaller group of protesters occupied Heinrich and Luján’s offices in Albuquerque, they were arrested.
Monday’s demonstration ended without any arrests or confrontation.
On a concrete sidewalk in front of the jet black office tower called “The Citadel,” about 35 people lay on the ground, covered with large white sheets marked with fake blood to visually represent at least 11,078 Palestinians killed by Israel after 45 days of airstrikes and a ground invasion which began Oct. 28, according to Palestinian health officials in Gaza. (Photo by Austin Fisher / Source NM)