Taylor Velazquez

Student Reporter

Taylor is a junior at the University of New Mexico where she is studying political science.  She is a lover of books and a proud dog mom. She's been published in Albuquerque The Magazine several times and enjoys writing about politics and travel.  Taylor’s sights are set on Washington, D.C., where she plans to report on Capitol Hill.  

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

  Young people in the last decades have had to study more than academics—they’ve had to learn what to do when a person shows up to your school with a gun and starts shooting. And unfortunately those types of skills could help you anywhere these days—even on Capitol Hill. As the American pandemic of gun violence grows, so do the arguments about what can be done about it. Often those arguments are about the Second Amendment, but do we have the right to bear arms ... right? Or are we arguing about it wrong? NoMoNo hits part two of our look at gun violence.

Courtesy of New Mexicans To Prevent Gun Violence

As of Friday, May 14, there have been nearly 16,000 deaths due to guns so far this year in the United States, according to data from Gun Violence Archive. Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic, protests about racial equity, and the general election dominated our attention, but that doesn’t mean that other serious matters like gun violence disappeared. Data from the archive shows that nearly 20,000 Americans died by guns last year—the highest total number of deaths in at least the last two decades. The problem didn’t go away. Our attention did. In episode 29 we take a look at the problem of gun violence in America, where we stand and what can be done about it.

Melanie Stansbury Campaign Website

The special election for the 1st Congressional District is fast approaching. KUNM continues interviewing the candidates for the seat, and today we speak with Melanie Stansbury. The Democratic candidate shares her views on systemic racism, water conservation, and homelessnes. 

KUNM: This past year with the pandemic we have seen our economy take hits, can you explain what creating more meaningful jobs look like, and how that could impact New Mexico's future? 

Mark Moores Campaign Website

 

New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District is looking for its next Representative after Deb Haaland was chosen to serve as the Secretary of the Interior earlier this year. KUNM is interviewing all the candidates this week. We first sat down with Republican candidate Mark Moores to talk about crime and immigration policy.

 

KUNM: My first question is, what are the biggest challenges New Mexicans are facing now?

 

New Mexico Economic Development

The State's Economic Development Department announced a new position that focuses on connecting underserved communities and their business leaders to resources. Reporter Taylor Velazquez spoke with Shani Harvie about her new role as the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator and how she hopes to grow New Mexico's local businesses.

MivPiv via CC / IStock

People who are incarcerated faced a lack of resources when it came to access to health care and PPE during the pandemic. A couple of bills before lawmakers in New Mexico during the last legislative session could have addressed those problems, but prison reform has been placed on the back-burner for another year. KUNM’s Taylor Velazquez spoke with Lalita Moskowitz from the ACLU of New Mexico about the dangerous conditions inside private prisons.

Narih Lee / Wikimedia Commons


Let's Talk New Mexico 3/18 8am: March is Women’s History Month, and we are taking a look at  how the suffrage movement here in New Mexico continues to inspire activists today 

 

On the next Let’s Talk New Mexico, we’re discussing the role women have played in New Mexico's history, and  how women today continue to strive to break the glass ceiling.

QuinceCreative / Pixabay

 

Early last month, President Biden extended a repayment pause for student loans until October 2021. In the meantime, college seniors graduating in the midst of this pandemic are also dealing with the stresses of a weak economy and fewer job opportunities. Patrick Watson from Mauldin Economics sat down with reporter Taylor Velazquez to talk about the likelihood of student loan forgiveness and the future of the job market.

 

Elliot Alderson / Pixabay

As the COVID-19 pandemic stretches on, New Mexico's homeless population has been on the rise and has been for quite some time. Additionally, many families are struggling to make ends meet in this time of uncertainty. 

Mayor Tim Keller and the City of Albuquerque have launched a new free public service program that aims to help residents access the city's resources for rental assistance, housing, and managing other financial needs. 

Delaney Brigman


Many first time voters have a lot on their mind this election cycle. College students are coming of age in an unprecedented time, with the COVID-19 pandemic, civil uprisings for racial justice, and accelerating climate change. They're trying to figure it all out while keeping up with remote classes and assignments. As part of our Voices Behind the Vote series, UNM freshman Delaney Brigman spoke with KUNM about why voting is important to her and what young people want from their politicians. 

courtesy of Dr. Assata Zerai / University of New Mexico

On Wednesday, the University of New Mexico Board of Regents approved a new official seal design. The decision comes after years of advocacy by Native American students and faculty who said the old seal, featuring a conquistador and a frontiersman, celebrated genocide and colonial oppression. But the Regent’s final selection is not the design that won a popular vote, and that has many people feeling left out of what was supposed to be an inclusive process. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

The University of New Mexico Board of Regents is expected to vote on Wednesday, Oct. 20 on a new official seal design. The move follows many years of campaigning by students and faculty with the UNM Kiva Club and the Red Nation, who say the old seal, depicting a frontiersman and a conquistador, celebrates genocide and conquest. But the old seal is far more the only symbol at UNM that reflects racism against Indigenous people, says Alysia Coriz, a Native American Studies major and co-president of the Kiva Club. She spoke with KUNM earlier this year about how she would like to see the university address other instances of racist imagery on campus, including places named after violent colonizers. 

Vicki Moore via Flickr CC

As things stand, students across New Mexico will return to school in the Fall and follow a hybrid model. Teachers, parents, and students alike are concerned about safety, and funding is tight. One pioneering outdoor gardening elective is being cut. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM News

People out in the streets protesting police brutality and systemic racism face the health risks of being in large crowds during the coronavirus pandemic. Health officials recommend wearing a mask, keeping your distance and getting tested regularly if you're attending mass gatherings. 

creative commons

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham issued a stay-at-home order this week, closing any non-essential businesses and sending their workers home. However, home may not be the safest place to be for those who live with their abusers.

People who face domestic violence are experiecning this pandemic just like the rest of us, but they also carry the weight of protecting themselves and possibly children from abuse.

Hannah Colton / KUNM News

There are about 4,000 to 5,000 homeless youth in Bernalillo County alone, making them especially vulnerable during this coronavirus outbreak. 

The state decision to close school until April 6, means those kids will also lose the security that education provides them.

Senior Airman Nathan Maysonet / Laughlin Air Force Base

New Mexico has a gun death rate higher than the national average, and two-thirds of those deaths are suicides. The Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order Act being heard this legislative session is controversial. Opponents say this bill is a form of gun control and violates the U.S. Constitution, but its supporters say it's a necessary step in mental health care.

unmflickr / Flickr

Reports of sexual assault and misconduct at the University of New Mexico have been on the rise since the school entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, according to recent crime statistics. 

Tom Arthur / Wikimedia Commons

Early voting has begun in Albuquerque, and for the first time, voters can register and vote all within the same day. This could help historically underrepresented groups access the polls more easily.

Some voters may not know they are eligible to vote, like New Mexico’s homeless population. 

 

Bernalillo County Clerk Linda Stover said a home address isn’t necessary for someone to register to vote. People just need a mailing address, and that can be a post office box or a shelter. 

Jing via Pixabay / Creative Commons License 2.0

 

The Healthy Soil Act was signed into law earlier this year and it created a grant of $175,000 for farmers and ranchers to maintain soil health by doing things like: keeping the soil covered, maximizing biodiversity, and integrating animals into land management.

Walt Stoneburner via Flickr (cropped) / Creative Commons License

In New Mexico 75 percent of kids are children of color. A new Kids Count report found these kids are disproportionately affected by what's called concentrated poverty, which means that least 30 percent of residents in an area live at or below the poverty level.

Alan Levin via Flickr / public domain

Bernalillo County’s Peer Drop-In Center for folks looking for help with things like counseling, addiction, and job searches is now open in southwest Albuquerque. It's the first of its kind in the community.

There are stereotypes about people who seek help when they're in crisis or dealing with addiction, said Evan Gonzales, program specialist with Bernalillo County Health Services.

Jim Clark / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / public domain

Conservation groups are criticizing the Trump Administration’s new Endangered Species Act rules, saying they weaken the law. They’re concerned the rules will do more harm to New Mexico’s endangered and threatened species. 

cabriolet2008 / Flickr

 

New Mexico schools are experiencing a widespread shortage of teachers. In the Albuquerque Public School district alone there are 300 teacher vacancies. 

The New Mexico Highlands University School of Education is awarding over half a million dollars in scholarships for students who want to teach or get advance teaching degrees.

TheHilaryClark / Pixabay


Women don’t become firefighters at nearly the rate that men do in the U.S. Now, forest service officials in New Mexico are working to have crews that reflect our communities.

The Women in Wildland Fire Bootcamps begin in September and they train women in wildland firefighting.

Element 5 Digital via unsplash.com


The beginning of the school year is fast approaching and school supplies can be expensive, especially for women who are getting out of jail or prison and reconnecting with their families. Crossroads for Women in Albuquerque is holding their annual backpack and school supply drive and it ends this week.

User: 12019 via Pixabay / Creative Commons License

Fire officials are pleading for campers to safely put out their campfires this Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Around the country, abandoned campfires are the leading cause of wildfires. So, how do you know you have successfully put out your campfire?