Yasmin Khan

Reporter

Yasmin Khan covers worker's rights in New Mexico, with a focus on Spanish-speaking residents. She is finishing her Ph.D. in human geography and women & gender studies at the University of Toronto where she studies refugee and humanitarian aid dynamics in Bangladesh. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from UNM. Yasmin was director of The Americas Program, an online U.S. foreign policy magazine based in Mexico City, and was a freelance journalist in Bolivia. She covered culture, immigration, and higher education for the Santa Fe New Mexican and city news for the Albuquerque Journal. 

Yasmin Khan / KUNM

 

New Mexico has the highest percentage of Latinx and Hispanic voters of any state in the U.S.; according to the Pew Research Center, nearly 43% of eligible voters in the state are Hispanic. Isabel Calderon, a Peruvian graduate student, lives in the Barelas neighborhood near Downtown Albuquerque with her two young sons and her elderly mother. She spoke about the importance of exercising her right to vote as an immigrant and what issues she’s keeping in mind this election. 

Yasmin Khan / KUNM

 

Protesters in Albuquerque were out multiple nights in a row after the verdict in the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor was announced September 23. A Kentucky grand jury declined to bring charges directly related to Taylor’s death after Louisville officers shot and killed her during a late-night raid on her apartment in March. On Thursday evening, the second night of protests in Albuquerque, about 50 people gathered in front of the University of New Mexico bookstore.

Elliotte Cook

Albuquerque lost an influential anti-racism activist and educator this summer. Bahati Myhelatu Ansari died from lymphocytic leukemia at 72 years old on June 27, 2020. She was the founder of the “Racism Free Zone” program for schools, which she started in Oregon about 30 years ago after her sons experienced racist attacks in junior high school. KUNM's Yasmin Khan met up with Ansari’s son Elliotte Cook at his mother’s favorite spot in Albuquerque, Tingley Beach, to talk about his mother and her legacy.

Mrs. Gemstone via Wikimedia / Creative Commons


Let's Talk New Mexico 9/8, 8a: Voting rights are the bedrock of American democracy, yet for many people, that right is not a reality. Voter suppression has a long history in the United States and has largely affected people of color and women. On this week’s call-in show, we will focus on the white supremacist roots of voter suppression and how they affect the COVID-impacted 2020 election. We will explore felon voter laws and the fragile history of voting rights for Black people and Native Americans.

Yasmin Khan / KUNM

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. 

Pax Ahimsa Gethen / Wikimedia Commons


Let's Talk New Mexico 6/11, 8a: June is Pride month, and in the midst of mass demonstrations for racial justice and an ongoing pandemic, this year’s celebration will undoubtedly look different. On this week's call-in show, we look at the black roots of Pride, including the 1969 Stonewall uprising that paved the way for LGBTQ rights today. We’ll hear about the contributions of Black and Brown trans and cis women, and trans people of other genders, in the local and global Pride movement. And we'll ask how the Black Lives Matter movement influences this year’s events. We want to hear from you! How do you celebrate Pride? Email letstalk@kunm.org, use the hashtag #LetsTalkNM on Twitter, or call in live during the show at 277-5866.

UNM Center For Southwest Research

On Friday night, June 5, Amelia Brown says they and their friend were shot at by two unidentified men outside Presbyterian Hospital on Central at 9:15 p.m. Brown helped coordinate supplies for a Black Lives Matter protest on June 1 in Albuquerque, and has attended several marches in the last couple weeks. On Friday evening, they were walking to a vigil at UNM, from the site of another demonstration at Civic Plaza downtown that they say had ended before they arrived. Brown says they don’t know who shot at them, but that they are one of several local black activists being targeted and surveilled by both police and groups of armed civilians in recent days.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

 

Every day for over a week, masses of people in Albuquerque have showed up in public to condemn state violence against black people and call for systemic change. Though national narratives have characterized Black Lives Matter protests as volatile and prone to violence, Albuquerque saw thousands of people all week peacefully marching, mourning individuals killed by police, celebrating black culture and speaking out. The events this weekend had different organizers and drew different crowds. City administration made it harder to get to many of them, blocking access to most of the Downtown area with concrete barricades starting Friday.

Yasmin Khan / KUNM

 

Hundreds of masked protesters in white coats, green scrubs, and street clothes gathered six feet apart for a "die-in" yesterday outside the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Library to highlight anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism embedded in the health care system. Protesters honored the memory of George Floyd, denounced police brutality and white supremacy in medicine, and demanded change in their institution.

Mauricio de Segovia

Hospital staff are some of the most exposed essential workers during the pandemic, but cleaning staff who work in coronavirus units at UNM Hospitals say they don’t have the same access to personal protective equipment (PPE) or training on how to stay safe at work as other staff. While UNMH has COVID safety practices in place, staff say they don't reach employees who don't speak English or have regular internet access. Cleaning crew members are asking for hazard pay, better PPE, training on new cleaning chemicals, and paid quarantine leave if they are exposed.

Wikimedia Commons via CC

Hospital custodians and houskeeping staff say that even though they clean the COVID wards and are in the room with patients, they aren't given adequate personal protective equipment. Three people we spoke with said because it is commonly known among other hospital staff that the sanitation workers are more exposed to the virus, they are treated unfairly and subject to discrimination.