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. 

Bernat Armangue / Associated Press

For families around the world trying to evacuate loved ones from Afghanistan, time has run out. Mohmmad Ismail  served as an interpreter for U.S. forces in Afghanistan and like many who worked for the United States, he was threatened by the Taliban. He came to Albuquerque in 2013 on a special visa, but his family members stayed behind. He worked with the State Department and U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján from New Mexico to get his family and other family members related to Albuquerque residents during the evacuation period, but he was unsuccessful. 

Mohammad Ismail

Mohmmad Ismail served as an interpreter for U.S. forces in Afghanistan and like many who worked for the United States, he was threatened by the Taliban. He came here in 2013 on a special visa, but his family members then faced threats. Eventually they followed him to New Mexico, where he works with children on refugee status for Albuquerque Public Schools. Now the Taliban are targeting his relatives who are still in Afghanistan and he is asking New Mexico politicians for help to get them out.

  

Yasmin Khan / KUNM

Let’s Talk New Mexico 8/19 8am: This summer marks the 50th anniversary of the 1971 Chicano-led rebellion against police brutality and racism that began in Albuquerque’s Roosevelt Park. The rebellion is a key, but often overlooked, moment in New Mexico’s Chicano history.  Fifty years later, it serves as a reminder of the long record of police violence, resistance, and collaboration by people of color in our state, and remains especially relevant in the wake of the 2020 Black Lives Matter uprising. 

New Mexico Decedent Image Database / University of New Mexico

One of the first steps in pursuing justice in a homicide or missing person case is identifying the deceased person. A tool created by researchers at the University of New Mexico is making that process easier. The New Mexico Decedent Image Database includes 150 million images of whole-body CT scans. The database is the first of its kind in the nation.

Yasmin Khan / KUNM


 

Dozens of people braved the 100-degree weather last Sunday in Roosevelt Park to remember the Chicano-led rebellion against police brutality and racism that was sparked there on June 13, 1971.  The rebellion is a key, but often overlooked moment in New Mexico’s Chicano history.  Fifty years later and in the context of the 2020 Black Lives Matter uprising, the rebellion serves as a reminder of the long record of police violence, resistance, and collaboration by Black and people of color in the state. Chicano community elders Richard Moore and Joaquin Lujan, formerly part of the Chicano rights organization the Black Berets, recounted how the rebellion started.  Lujan explained that besides police repression, the rebellion was triggered by widespread racism against the Chicano community.

Sandor Csudai / Creative Commons


Let’s Talk New Mexico 5/27 8am: Asylum seekers who arrive in the U.S. are often fleeing violence at the hands of police or gangs in their home countries. However, once they arrive in our country, they continue to face the threat of violence, including while in detention. A lawsuit recently filed against a private detention center here in New Mexico claims guards sprayed asylum seekers with a chemical agent to stop a peaceful hunger strike protesting living conditions in the facility. International law says states must protect asylum seekers and refugees, not harm them. On this week’s Let’s Talk New Mexico, we will  be talking about this lawsuit against CoreCivic in Torrance County, and what these private detention centers mean for New Mexico.

Creative Commons

Let's Talk New Mexico 5/13 8 am: Some of New Mexico’s immigrant workers are undocumented and often employed in low-paid but essential jobs, such as early childhood education. And, despite the myths to the contrary, they pay taxes! In 2017, undocumented workers paid almost $70 million in New Mexico state taxes and $12 billion to the U.S. in federal taxes, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

Allen Ellison / Flickr

Let’s Talk New Mexico, Thursday, 3/4, 8a: Hundreds of New Mexicans say their utility bill costs have spiked recently, especially after the ice storms earlier this month. On the next Let’s Talk New Mexico, we’ll be discussing current and upcoming changes in gas and electric rates, and how utility companies and consumer advocates plan to help New Mexicans deal with these additional costs during the pandemic and beyond.

christian.senger (flickr.com/photos/15181848@N02) / CREATIVE COMMONS

 


Let's Talk New Mexico 1/28, 8a: The state legislature is considering two new bills that could have a dramatic impact on New Mexico’s communities of color. House Bill 70 seeks to update our state’s domestic terrorism laws, but civil rights organizations claim that it targets communities of color, and that prosecutors should use existing laws at their disposal to hold white supremacists accountable. At the same time, New Mexican activists working to reform prisons and immigrant detention centers are pushing for House Bill 40 which would ban private prison contracts in our state, including at immigrant detention centers. 

On Monday, the FBI warned of armed and potentially violent protests planned in all 50 state capitols starting this week, running through at least Inauguration Day on January 20. The FBI advised police agencies to increase security at statehouses around the country.

Yasmin Khan / KUNM

 


Poll workers spend their day checking in voters, printing ballots and helping people understand the voting process. For Albuquerque poll workers Henry Dryden and Ave Freeman, that last part is key – even though they aren’t old enough to vote yet.  

Sarah Trujillo / KUNM

Poll workers are key to any election: they help voters cast their ballots, answer questions, and ensure things run smoothly at voting centers. Bernalillo County Clerk Linda Stover oversees the county’s approximately 1,000 poll workers. She spoke with KUNM’s Yasmin Khan about what voters can expect at the polls Tuesday, including the presence of partisan poll watchers and challengers, and COVID-19 precautions. 

Yasmin Khan / KUNM

First-time voting is a family affair for Fabiola Landeros, a civil rights organizer with El Centro de Acción y Poder in Albuquerque and a new citizen. She and her son Santiago Carrillo and his girlfriend Kameron Peña, both 20, visited an early voting site on Albuquerque’s Westside on Wednesday to drop off their mail-in ballots. All three were voting for the first time, and they shared their experience with KUNM as part of our Voices Behind the Vote series.

Yasmin Khan / KUNM

New voters are an influential voting bloc in national and local elections. A diverse sector of citizens, new voters include people who turned 18 since the last elections, adults who have never voted in the past, and newly naturalized citizens. Mohammad Ismail, 30, came to the U.S. seven years ago on a special visa for military interpreters working in Afghanistan. He told KUNM voting for the first time is a big step as a citizen and a way to grow roots in his new home country. 

Isabel Calderon

Newly naturalized citizens could sway the outcome of this years’ presidential, senatorial, and gubernatorial elections, according to a new report by the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA). It says 5 million people across the country have become new citizens since 2014, with 3 million becoming citizens since Donald Trump’s election.

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.