United New Mexicans: Lauren

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"I was born and raised in Albuquerque but have moved to other locations in the Western U.S. while pursuing higher education. It was when I left New Mexico that I realized just how special it is. My appreciation for its culture and lifestyle grew immensely. Being a New Mexican means that you are open, friendly, hard working and deeply proud of our customs and cultures. Our state has a very old history and mix of people that many other states do not. I love that there is a story behind each town, city, even different neighborhoods in Albuquerque. The progressive, open attitude of our people make us strong. If I could change something about New Mexico I would change the access to education and opportunity for growth for young people. I personally pursued other educational institutions outside of New Mexico for graduate school and willingly returned after graduation, but I feel that we lose many gifted people because there may not be as much opportunity to stay in New Mexico or incentive to return. As New Mexicans we can unite by listening. Listening to the stories and the wishes of our people and then acting on them."

(Photo by Christopher Michael Roybal)