COVID-19 spreads most easily in confined spaces with lots of people, so at least a dozen states have released hundreds or thousands of prisoners early to reduce outbreaks in incarcerated populations. In New Mexico’s largest state prison in Otero County, about 80% of inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus. In April, the governor announced that some prisoners would be released to stem the spread of COVID-19, but the state prisoners still in Otero County are not eligible for release because they have a sex offense on their record. Journalist Jeff Proctor with the Santa Fe Reporter and New Mexico In Depth published a report last week about the coronavirus outbreak in the Otero County Detention Center. He spoke to KUNM’s Kaveh Mowahed about why only 71 inmates have been released statewide, and why none of them were in Otero County.
Groups Call For Meetings As US Lab Preps For Weapons Work - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press
Several groups are asking state and federal officials to hold semi-annual public meetings as Los Alamos National Laboratory prepares to resume and ramp up production of key components for the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile.
Let's Talk New Mexico 7/2, 8a: Across the nation, people are calling for the removal of monuments and place names that glorify leaders who brutalized Brown and Black people. On Let’s Talk New Mexico this week, we’ll discuss the long history of resistance to Albuquerque’s Juan de Onate statue, the Santa Fe plaza obelisk, a White-centric mural at the University of New Mexico, and more. What do these monuments mean to you? How do they uphold narratives that contribute to the continued oppression of Native Americans and other people of color? What should be the role of public art in telling the whole truth about complex colonial histories? Join the conversation: email email@example.com, use the hashtag #LetsTalkNM on Twitter, or call (505) 277-5866 during the show.
Governor Keeps Restrictions In Place As COVID Deaths Reach 500 – KUNM, Albuquerque Journal
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said coronavirus restrictions will remain in place and warned that if cases and the rate of spread continue to rise she may roll back openings as other states like Texas and Arizona have.
Tribal communities in New Mexico have been hit especially hard by the coronavirus, due to deep social and economic disparities resulting from colonization. Now, the pandemic threatens to make those disparities worse by hindering the 2020 Census count that will affect how much federal funding goes to tribes over the next decade. Shaun Griswold, urban Indigenous reporter with New Mexico In Depth, reports tribes are playing catch-up after public health shutdowns along with geography and other factors have led to low Census response rates so far. He told KUNM’s Hannah Colton that an undercount could mean a difference of millions of federal dollars going to basics like housing and education.
While many in New Mexico are experiencing economic hardships during the pandemic, a new study released Tuesday, June 30, focused on its impact on Hispanic families. The results show widespread pay cuts, layoffs, and small savings accounts depleted. While some have turned to unemployment benefits or federal stimulus money to get by, undocumented immigrants are not eligible for those supports. New Mexico lawmakers are asking the state’s congressional delegation to work to include undocumented immigrants in the next round of federal relief.
New Mexico residents who receive food assistance will continue to get the maximum amount allowed for their household size through the end of July. The state got a month’s extension on a federal program meant to keep people fed during the pandemic.
The student-run newspaper at the University of New Mexico ran an editorial last week calling out “Journalism’s problematic love affair with objectivity.” In it, the Daily Lobo’s editorial board argues that mainstream White-led news media often perpetuates racism and “actively sides with the oppressor,” and that one way reporters do that is by unquestioningly repeating police narratives.
Daily Lobo News Editor Lissa Knudsen spoke with KUNM News Director Hannah Colton about how she says a dedication to the notion of objectivity can lead reporters to obscure the truth.
In episode 82, we discuss how the question “How are you?” is part of documenting changing people and a changing globe. The answer reveals a lot about us. Are we good? We hear from a high school athlete who is worried about going back to a crowded campus, a woman who lost her mother to COVID-19, an anti-police brutality activist who sees focused protesters demanding positive local change, a community organizer whose family was torn apart after their activism, and an advocate who networks community groups to pay people to make masks. We know everyone out there is working hard in one way or another. So, how are you?
In episode 81, we check back for new developments on some of the impactful stories from YNMG from the past couple of months. What opportunities have been missed to make things better in this urgent time? Who's falling through the holes in the system? And what's still in front of us to do?
We come back to life’s essentials like housing and education in episode 80, and the systemic problems that can easily slip past us if we’re not vigilant. As we continue to endure, it's easy to drop the ball on issues New Mexico has been battling for years. Today we hear from journalists from around the state on how the pandemic is affecting schools and teachers, the affordability of housing, and whether the corrections system is fulfilling its human rights obligations.
Let's Talk New Mexico 6/25, 8a: Teachers, parents and students are facing tough questions about what classes will look like as the pandemic stretches into the fall. The struggle for equity in the system is ongoing; a judge next week could decide whether the state will stay under court order to fix racial and socioeconomic disparities. And some programs meant to serve marginalized students had their budgets cut in this week’s special legislative session. This week on Let’s Talk New Mexico, we’re talking K-12 education, and we want to hear from you. What systemic changes do you want to see in public schools? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call in live during the show at 277-5866.
Navajo Nation President: New Mexico Still Failing Students - By Cedar Attanasio. Associated Press/Report For America
The leader of one of the largest Native American tribes in the U.S. has called on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to end efforts against a court ruling ordering education improvements for members of his tribe and other vulnerable groups.
A bill that requires all law enforcement officers in New Mexico to wear body cameras passed out of the state legislature Monday and now awaits Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s signature. Research out of George Mason University last year, which reviewed 70 studies on the body-worn cameras, found that the devices don’t have a significant or consistent impact on most officer behavior, or how community members view the police. KUNM’s Nash Jones spoke with Barron Jones, Senior Policy Analyst with the ACLU of New Mexico, about whether mandating police body cameras statewide is a meaningful step for New Mexico to take as it seeks to reform policing in response to renewed calls for change here and across the country.
It’s a weird time. We’ve got a global pandemic, an uprising against racist police violence and a special legislative session dropped in the middle of it—the likes of which no one’s ever seen before. Maybe one that people still aren’t seeing because there have been so many access issues. In episode 79, we dig in to bring you what’s new and developing with the emergency legislative session. What bills have been passed, what is on the way and what is being held until January are just a few of the topics we cover. We talk with journalists from New Mexico PBS and the NM Political Report. We also hear from an advocate who is on the forefront of voting rights in tribal lands.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865 when enslaved people in Texas learned they were free, almost two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had officially outlawed slavery. Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate Juneteenth in Albuquerque this weekend, filling Roosevelt Park with music, dancing and barbeque.
In episode 78 we discuss what’s happening in Santa Fe at the legislative special session. It’s a unique situation up there; COVID-19 precautions have led to a locked-in session with no opportunity for citizens to attend in person. But first, we hear from organizers of the Albuquerque Juneteenth celebration commemorating 155 years since the official end of slavery in Texas, with the entire United States following soon after.
Firearms and other deadly weapons are prohibited in Albuquerque parks and recreation facilities under a new administrative order issued Friday by Mayor Tim Keller’s office. The rule excludes law enforcement officials and applies to any city property used for public school-related activities, including Civic Plaza.
The New Mexico Legislature encountered many technical hurdles during its first day of the emergency special session called to patch up a budget thrashed by coronavirus. But the Roundhouse is also closed to the public due to concerns about viral spread; lawmakers, staffers and the media are the only ones allowed in the building. The doors are locked. There was a small group of protesters outside on Thursday wanting to go in and see their lawmakers in action. KUNM’s Nash Jones spoke with Khalil Ekulona, host of Your New Mexico Government, about a session that’s hard to access in every way.
In episode 77 we dive into the state’s special legislative session that started today. The primary reason for the emergency meeting is to address the unexpected budget shortfall brought on by COVID-19 and the decimation of oil and gas markets that provide much of New Mexico’s public funding.
In episode 76, we discuss criminal justice reform, from policing to prisons. We get a preview of the Albuquerque mayor and a city councilor plans to remake the public safety system. A criminal justice reporter tells us about COVID-19 in state prisons and reminds us that there is little race or ethnicity data to show us who is affected. But first, YNMG Executive Producer Marisa Demarco tells us what it was like to be at a protest this week where someone she knows was shot by a man trying to protect a statue of a genocidal Spanish conquistador.