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YNMG & COVID: The Heavy Lift

Marisa Demarco
Black Lives Matter demonstrators in front of Albuquerque's City Hall on Wednesday, June 3, 2020.

We are nearly halfway through the year of 2020, it is June and reality is forever changed. While learning to adjust to life during a global pandemic, the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers has given rise to protests globally. In Episode 71, we talk about what it takes to safely navigate a pandemic and the beginnings of a revolution. It’s a heavy lift. Today we talk with a military veteran, a few activists and educators, and host Khalil Ekulona’s dad to get a deeper perspective. 

Monique Salhab, a veteran and a member of the National Board of Directors of Veterans for Peace, tells us how militarized policing has changed the country and what it means for citizens and protesters.

Ebony Booth, artist, activist and educator, talks about the body politics of race and mask-wearing, and the transformation of Downtown Albuquerque after Sunday night's protests. The city boarding up windows of businesses that didn't have any damage sends the wrong signal to people here, she says.

We hear from Khalil Ekulona’s father, Ademola Ekulona, who retired as the program coordinator with a hospital-based violence intervention program in Baltimore, and who is a Babalawo of the Yoruba tradition. Ademola sheds light on the intersection of pandemic stress and the horror of witnessing George Floyd’s murder, and how male behavior and masculinized violence affects us all.

Francheska Zamora, and educator and activist in Los Angeles, talks about her experience as an organizer and her perspective on protests and the conditions that have led to where we are today.

A local news update:

In New Mexico, state officials reported 218 new cases today. There have been a total of 8,353 cases and of those, 3,115 people have recovered. Eight more people died, bringing the statewide death toll to 383. 

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham this afternoon held a virtual press conference to address racism and structural inequity, along with black community leaders. She announced the creation of a council for racial justice to advise law enforcement agencies, though the body’s specific goals remain unclear. 

Find a full list of the resources we talk about on each episode + opportunities to donate or help online at: bit.ly/ynmghub

Did you attend a BLM protest? What was your experience? We want to know. Share your demonstration stories by calling: (505) 218-7084 and leaving us a message. We could roll them into a future episode.


Your New Mexico Government is a collaboration between KUNM, New Mexico PBS, and the Santa Fe Reporter. Funding for our coverage is provided, in part, by the Thornburg Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the New Mexico Local News Fund.

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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