89.9 FM Live From The University Of New Mexico
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

YNMG & COVID: The Bitter Work

Hannah Colton / KUNM
Black Lives Matter protesters march in a rainstorm in Albuquerque, June 1, 2020.

The work of recognizing and confronting racism – in oneself, others, and the system – is difficult and uncomfortable. In episode 72, we talk about the bitter work we are all being asked to do in this time of uprising. We hear from the founder of an inclusive leadership organization, a UNM professor, a socialist community organizer in Albuquerque, a media consultant in Washington, D.C., and we have part two of Khalil’s conversation with his father.

We hear from Don Owens, communications director of the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, about it's so hard to bring about major policy change in the U.S. 

Kawya Esperanza, an organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation in Albuquerque, speaks on the entrenchment of power by the wealthy elite in the U.S., and why she urges people to support a third party in addition to turning out for public demonstrations. 

UNM Associate Professor of Native American Studies and American Studies Melanie Yazzie speaks about white supremacist violence against Indigenous people in border towns in New Mexico. She shares her experience at a Black Lives Matter protest in Gallup this week, where she says protesters were alarmingly outnumbered and surrounded by a show of force by police and armed civilians. 

Sean Leavitt, founder of MacLens Inclusive Leadership, breaks down implicit bias and how to start talking to people in your life about the racism they may not realize they're perpetuating. 

And Khalil Ekulona’s father, Ademola Ekulona, shares what it was like for him growing up in the 1950s in New Jersey, and his hope that millennials and Generation Xers won't put up with injustices. And he poses a hard, necessary question for everyone: "How true are you to being a human being that recognizes other human beings as being worth the effort it takes to stand up for their rights?" 

A local news update:

Yesterday, New Mexico health officials announced 331 new positive test results for COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 8,672. Otero County Prison Facility accounted for just over a third of those new cases, with 116 new positive results among people held by federal agencies and 13 among New Mexico Corrections Department inmates.

There were four more deaths, including a state inmate in Otero County, and the statewide death toll is now 387. 

In terms of counties, McKinley County had 77 new cases, followed by 52 in San Juan County, 28 in Doña Ana County, and 19 in Bernalillo County. As of today, 175 people are hospitalized and the state has designated 3,206 COVID-19 cases as recovered.

Santa Fe police are investigating a possible hit-and-run of a protester during a Black Lives Matter demonstration Friday, according to the Santa Fe Reporter. No arrests have been made or charges filed in the case, though the Santa Fe Police Department has made contact with the accused driver and labeled the incident as aggravated battery.

And a Santa Fe Reporter food survey found people in the post-COVID era have upped their take-out intake, are wary of sit-down meals and are hyper vigilant in wanting to know about eateries' COVID-19 safety practices.

Find a full list of the resources we talk about on each episode + opportunities to donate or help online at: bit.ly/ynmghub. And here's what we got for today.


How are things going for you? We'd love to hear about it. Share your pandemic 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.

CORRECTION July 8, 4:30p: The spelling of Sean Leavitt's name and the name of his organization, MacLENS Inclusive Leadership, have been corrected. 

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.
Related Content