Doña  Ana Communities United

August & September 2018  Newsletter

Warm greetings from DACU! We are excited to share our August and September updates with our supporters and friends. In this newsletter, you will find updates on our new partnership with SINC,  the Nevada Neighborhood project, the Gallagher Park project, our recent visit with our Health Equity Partnership friends, as well as updates on our  Just Community radio show!

Congratulations to former Outreach Coordinator Meredith Severtson, who is beginning a new job with Global Minnesota. We wish her the best! We are also excited to welcome new Outreach Coordinator Mairead McCarthy, who began in early September! 

Many thanks for your support and partnership.

DACU Director 
Kari Bachman
DACU Outreach Coordinator 
Mairead McCarthy

Upcoming DACU Events

DACU Team Meeting
TOMORROW: September 27, 11AM-1 PM

Timebank Get-Togethers
September 29, 6-8 PM
October 26, 6-8 PM

Timebank Orientation
October 16, 5:30-7 PM

All events will be held at the DACU office (151 S Walnut Street, Unit B13).
You'll find directions at the bottom of this newsletter.

Welcome to Mairead McCarthy!

We welcomed Mairead McCarthy, our new Outreach Coordinator, to DACU in early September! Though she will be filling Meredith's position, she is not affiliated with Border Servant Corps.  Feel free to send Mairead a welcome email at or give her a call  at 575-323-0730.

Mairead was raised in New Hampshire, in a small seacoast town. She graduated from Gettysburg College this past May where she studied Sociology, Spanish, and Latin America. She is so excited to meet the DACU community and to spend the foreseeable future here in Las Cruces! 
Photo by  Robert Yee
Outreach Coordinator Mairead (center) talks with timebank steering committee members Florence (left) and LeeAnn (right) on her first day of work.

Partnership with SINC

And here's some more great news! DACU is in the process of formalizing our new institutional home with New Mexico's Social Impact and Nonprofit Community (SINC). Based in Albuquerque, SINC supports entrepreneurs who launch socially minded ventures, thus helping social impact ideas scale up to address some of New Mexico's most pressing needs. We are so excited to develop this partnership and access opportunities through SINC. You can click here to find out more about them. 

Finally, we want to thank the Santa Fe Community Foundation (SFCF) for serving as a gracious and most helpful institutional home to us for the past two years. We are very happy to be continuing our relationship with SFCF and with our wonderful partners at the NM Health Equity Partnership located there. 

Nevada Neighborhood Project

Our Nevada Neighborhood coordinators Patricia Gonzalez and Enrique Solis and returning mapper Michael Seamster have been hard at work connecting with neighbors to improve traffic safety and build community along Nevada Avenue between Brook Circle and Laurel Street. Residents have begun sketching designs for artwork at our twice-monthly meetings and we are looking forward to creating street murals over the next several months!
Photos by Robert Yee

Michael's colorful sign points residents to the carport where we hold our meetings.

Residents observe the curve on Nevada Avenue just west of Brook Circle.

Enrique shares traffic observation data.

Residents sketch their ideas for making the street safer and more beautiful.

Gallagher Park and Pesticide Policy

Congratulations to DACU team members Shana Bachus and John Hamilton, who have been leading efforts to adopt Gallagher Park. On September 8, they spearheaded a celebration to unveil the new Adopt-A-Spot plaque at the park. The morning included a quick park clean-up (many hands made light work!), a brief presentation, a tasty early lunch, and conversation about how to make the neighborhood an even better place. City staff and elected officials were in attendance, along with residents young in age and young at heart.

These activities at the park complemented discussion a week earlier at the August 27 City Council meeting, when three DACU members and other members of the public encouraged the City to refrain from using pesticides. As a result, the mayor directed staff to prepare an accounting of pesticide use and expenses. We look forward to continuing our efforts to get the City to adopt an Integrated Pest Management policy.

Photos by Robert Yee

A young neighbor adds his own creative touch to the festivities.

James Woods, coordinator of Keep Las Cruces Beautiful, welcomes the group. 

Austin Dingle serves hotdogs he prepared on the park's new grill.

Attendees celebrate at the new sign, including Councilors Flores and Gándara.

NM HEP Partner Meeting on Navajo Nation

Last week, three DACU members traveled to Gallup and surrounding areas for the quarterly core partner meeting of the NM Health Equity Partnership. We learned about the inspiring work carried out by our sister organizations in McKinley and San Juan Counties to advance health equity. Site tours to areas affected by uranium mining and fracking sparked reflection and thoughtful conversation. The group also visited a farm focused on building soil health and engaged in discussion about issues of sobriety and race. We are honored to stand with our colleagues and the Diné people as they work to reverse the detrimental effects of generations of injustice. 

Photos by Robert Yee
Percy, Frances, and Victoria enjoy a farm-fresh breakfast in the Skeet Farm hogan.
HEP partners stand near an open-air enclosure that stores wastewater from fracking.

Just Community Radio Show

Kari continues to broadcast her live radio show Just Community on KTAL-LP every Thursday morning from 8 to 9 AM. (Tune your dial to 101.5 FM or listen to the show online.)  The show focuses on social equity and features voices not often heard in our community. Recent guests and topics have included:
  • Anita Rodriguez (Latina student, teacher, artist, chef, and budding entrepreneur with a social conscience) 
  • Meg Brauckmann and Meredith Severtson (Wrapping up a year of service in Las Cruces)
  • Shelly Nichols-Shaw (Obtaining equitable access for people with disabilities)
  • Raúl Esparza (Surviving the criminal justice system and life as a writer)
  • Grace Telles (teen motherhood, working in corrections, and mentoring young women)
  • Shana Bachus (Overcoming trauma and advocating for the community)
  • Shahid Mustafa (Growing up in Detroit and farming in the Mesilla Valley)
  • Cyrruss Easterlin (Re-airing of his show describing what it's like to live in Las Cruces for people who are blind)
You can listen to archived Just Community shows here. If you or someone you know is interested in being on the show, contact Kari to get involved!
Anita in the recording studio.

Raúl shows his warm personality!
Meg and Meredith interview together!

Shana and Mairead after Shana's interview.

Shahid at the KTAL station.

Grace shares a loving smile.

Shelly outside the KTAL station on Wyatt.
Directions to Our Office
151 South Walnut Street, Unit B13  map

You'll find DACU at the corner of Walnut and Griggs in the Walnut Business Park.  Please call before you come by as we may be out and about in the community!


City bus routes have changed! Route 6 (stops 16 and 17) and Route 7 (stop 20) still deliver passengers within blocks of our office. We are also accessible via the new Route 8 (stop 5). For more information, visit the  Roadrunner Transit webpage.

We aspire to a vibrant Doña Ana County where all human beings are valued and everyone works together as equals to realize our full potential for individual and collective wellbeing.

Mission:   Doña Ana Communities United (DACU) creates welcoming spaces for all people, especially those whose voices and stories go unheard. We build genuine relationships, carry out uplifting projects, and engage with local government.

DACU conducts two main projects. (1) Social equity mapping: Undervalued community members explore their neighborhoods and work with local decision makers to develop policies that advance health equity. Current efforts focus on the Community of Hope, Gallagher Park, the Nevada Neighborhood, and Lisa Drive in Chaparral. (2) hOurTime timebank: Members build social cohesion and practice an equitable form of alternative economics by exchanging services.