Preston-sanchez

Title/Position

Indigenous Justice Attorney

Department

Legal

Pronouns

He/Him/His

Preston Sanchez is an attorney and advocate working to create greater social equity for New Mexico’s culturally-diverse people. Currently, Preston is leading ACLU-NM’s litigation and policy work aimed at challenging the disparate and discriminatory treatment of New Mexico’s indigenous peoples.

Preston (Jemez/Laguna Pueblos & Diné) began his legal career at the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty, where he worked primarily on Yazzie/Martinez v. State, a landmark lawsuit brought against the State of New Mexico for failing to provide public school students a sufficient opportunity to succeed academically. At trial, in 2017, Preston, along with a team of attorneys, proved that major systemic failures have denied Native American, low-income and English-learner students the opportunity to prepare adequately for college and the workforce, resulting in a favorable decision by the First Judicial District Court that public education in New Mexico is unconstitutional. In light of the Yazzie/Martinez court ruling, Preston, in 2018, helped build a coalition of education and school leaders to advocate for greater funding and resources to transform the system of public education statewide. Preston continues to work with the Yazzie litigation team to implement the court's rulings.

In 2012, Preston founded the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project at the University of New Mexico’s School of Law. The Marshall Brennan Project empowers high-school students from culturally diverse and high poverty schools to become advocates for themselves by learning about the social impact of constitutional law and the skills of argumentation.

Preston grew up in the South Valley of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is a Bulldog from Albuquerque High (’03). Preston serves as a board member of the ‘Dukes Up’ organization.

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