For his wide-ranging contributions locally and statewide, J. Paul Taylor has been named the Sun-News 2019 Distinguished Resident by Diana Alba Soular click here
"From working in the registrar’s office, Taylor shifted his career sights back to his childhood goal of education, becoming a sixth-grade teacher at Mesilla Park Elementary. It was the only job opening available to him at the time. He may have been the teacher, but, as he recalls, he was a student, as well. He spent his first year overcoming a big learning curve.
“Boy did I learn a whole lot,” he said with a chuckle. “I’d gone from college students who were just back from the war and who were very serious about their education to these little sixth-graders, who seemed very little then.”
A deep write up about the life of J. Paul Taylor. This note is to congratulate Mr. Taylor. I first met Mr. Taylor at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church on South Espina for a meeting with him, my CJ professor/mentor, and staff from the J. Paul Taylor prison. My goal was to propose an idea for a creative expression Hip Hop workshop at the J. Paul Taylor prison. He was a kind man, very open to ideas. He was very encouraging and overall the meeting went real well. For the next 10 years I'd have the chance to volunteer teach at the facility through our Voices Behind Walls program which had started a couple of years before at the Delta Youth Facility in El Paso.
I've always been interested in learning more about Mr. Taylor's involvement with juvenile justice issues in New Mexico. I've heard and from time to time saw him speak on the importance of addressing the juvenile injustice issues that seemed to be deeply rooted in New Mexico. I hope to learn more this in the future. There may be a few photographs I have somewhere of J. Paul Taylor's work with some of the programs I was involved in. There's not much mention of his connection to juvenile facilities one of which is named after him, the J. Paul Taylor Center. It's something worth exploring though, especially if there are any papers or reflections documented in J. Paul Taylor's historical records.
Much thanks Mr. Taylor! I still remember that day at the Justice for Children symposium, when in a rare occurrence the facility had allowed a bunch of our participants that were incarcerated at the time to attend. You got up and asked one of our poets, "what can we do to help you? What can we do to help change things for the better?" And they answered your question. It was one of the most honest moments I'd seen in thinking about juvenile justice reform and just finally having a platform where an incarcerated youth could engage in a conversation with the public with a mic in his hand after having read his poetry. It was definitely a day to remember. Thank you for being kind to me and for encouraging me. It led to nearly a decade of connections with youth inside who were able to express themselves and document their voices. Some of them have passed on young, some of them are incarcerated for longer stretches of adult time, and some are finally expressing themselves outside the walls.What we refer to as our VOWs (Voices Outside the Walls).