Black Lives Matter

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As Black Lives Matter rallies continue across the country, some counter protesters and militia members are giving new life to an old racist myth – that white Irish people were enslaved in the Americas just like Africans and Indigenous people.

 


Protests are unfolding across the country over the death of Elijah McClain at the hands of police in Aurora, Colo. Now, frustration is also building over local law enforcement’s use of force this past weekend at a vigil in Aurora honoring him — frustration that was visible at a city council meeting Tuesday night dedicated to the response. 

Nash Jones / KUNM

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 letstalk@kunm.org, use the hashtag #LetsTalkNM on Twitter, or call (505) 277-5866 during the show.

pxhere via CC


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?  


Protesting racism and police brutality is nothing new. But large, sustained turnouts, especially in small, mostly white towns, is something we've not seen before. For many of these protesters, it's their first time demonstrating - ever.

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. 

Protests against racism and police brutality continue in Colorado, but there are many faces and voices that are missing. Here, four Colorado women who are Black activists and scholars share their thoughts on what this moment means to them. They’ve opted out of protests, due to health complications or because they’re participating in other ways. Scroll down for their full bios. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

The parents of an Albuquerque man who was shot Monday near the statue of colonizer Juan de Oñate in Old Town say Scott Williams, now hospitalized in stable condition, is a longtime activist for human rights and racial justice. Daniel and Denise Williams told KUNM's Hannah Colton they were on scene as tensions escalated; they say earlier they had attended a prayer gathering for the removal of the monument across the street. Scott’s father, Daniel, is a retired paramedic and says after hearing shots fired, he was headed to tend to the victim when he realized that it was his son. 

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

This Friday is Juneteenth, a national holiday in most states celebrating the end of slavery. There are planned protests around the Mountain West to keep attention on racial injustice and police brutality, including one on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM


Let's Talk New Mexico 6/18, 8a: With protests against systemic racism and violence continuing around the country, many people are questioning the role of law enforcement and imagining different ways of ensuring public safety. This week on Let’s Talk New Mexico, we’ll discuss a spectrum of changes to New Mexico’s police forces that folks are calling for, from reform efforts like banning chokeholds and training officers differently, to more radical proposals that seek to eliminate traditional policing altogether. 

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

There's growing concern about violence at anti-racism protests after an armed man shot a protester at a demonstration on Monday in Albuquerque, with a number of activists across the Mountain West saying they have been harassed.

Duke City Repertory Theater

With thousands of people in the streets for Black Lives Matter demonstrations in recent weeks, there’s been a movement across the country for theaters shuttered by the pandemic to open their lobby areas to support protestors. One space in downtown Albuquerque has answered that call. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

 

Albuquerque police have arrested the man who shot a protestor last night at a demonstration against a statue of Juan de Oñate in Albuquerque’s Old Town. The violence broke out after heavily armed men antagonized unarmed protesters who wanted to remove the monument to the violent Spanish colonizer. Police charged 2019 City Council candidate Steven Ray Baca with aggravated battery and took several militia men into custody for questioning. APD reports the victim is in critical condition but is expected to survive. 

Across the nation, Black babies have some of the highest rates of infant mortalities and birth outcomes such as low birthweight, according to a new report by nonprofit Zero to Three.

 


Nash Jones / KUNM

The Bernalillo County District Attorney's Office is not going to press charges against four teenagers who were detained on Thursday, May 28, after a Black Lives Matter protest in Albuquerque’s International District. SWAT officers took them into custody that night, saying they had fired a gun near the demonstration, an allegation the teens deny. Police did not charge them with anything, and the District Attorney's Office won’t pursue it, saying APD doesn’t have evidence to support a criminal case.

Tony Webster via Wikimedia Commons CC

For years, Albuquerque and Bernalillo County have been working on strategies so police officers aren’t the primary people responding to 911 mental health calls. After weeks of Black Lives Matter protests in Albuquerque—and just days after police shot a man in crisis, hospitalizing him—Mayor Tim Keller announced today that the city will create a separate Community Safety Department to handle these kinds of call-outs by the end of the year—without taking funding from the police department. It’s unclear what the city will do to respond to the rest of the protesters’ demands around over-policing, and calls to defund and demilitarize the police.

Dominic Smith via Flickr CC


In episode 75, we're talking data privacy, surveillance, sophisticated bots, racially biased tech and misinformation on social media in the time of COVID, BLM and the upcoming election. We check in with researchers, privacy advocates and an artist/activist, who talk about how our data is valuable to corporations or governments that want to exploit their knowledge of us for policing, political or capitalistic reasons.

Cities and counties across the country are declaring that racism is a public health crisis, including at least one city in the Mountain West.

Nash Jones / KUNM


The country is grappling with practical steps for ending police brutality and racism in policing. We explore some local ideas in episode 74, from completely burning down the system to moderate reform to minor policy changes. Community and Black Lives Matter organizers, Albuquerque’s mayor and City Councilor Lan Sena, and activists who work with and against police weigh in on what the future of public safety could look like.

Megan Kamerick

George Floyd was laid to rest in Houston this week, and protests calling for an end to racist police violence are continuing around the country and here in New Mexico. These are usually pretty loud, but one that took place in Albuquerque’s Nob Hill  on Wednesday, June 10 was quite different.

The ongoing protests over police brutality is highlighting another ongoing issue: the militarization of police departments.

At a hearing last weekend about a Colorado bill on vaccination, Dr. Reginald Washington had originally planned to make several urgent points in support of the bill. 

First, that diseases like measles are resurging, and they’re serious. (He’d know. He’s treated patients with complications from measles and pertussis.) Second, due to COVID-19, children are missing well-child visits and skipping vaccinations, putting them at risk of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. 

Sue Schuurman

In episode 73, we talk to and about militia groups in New Mexico that have floated around the edges of demonstrations against racist police violence and white supremacy. Robert Whitmon of the American Patriots of New Mexico, one such group, says they've been working with police for years. Regardless of their claims of support for protesters, demonstrators say they raise tension and anxiety, and they're already concerned about state-sanctioned violence and the possibility of retribution for speaking out. 

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.

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Justin and his buddies look like they're from a special ops team – they're wearing flak jackets and carrying assault weapons. But they aren't military and they aren't police. 

"I see myself as a concerned citizen who happens to be armed," he says.

 


This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

With protesters taking to the streets nationwide to demand justice for George Floyd and confront police brutality and systemic racism, Mountain West News Bureau reporters are gathering perspectives of people of color from around the region.

Groups of armed civilians have turned up at Albuquerque Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the last week, alarming peaceful protesters, and saying they intend to protect private property as well as people and their right to peacefully protest. A man from the New Mexico Patriots says his group has coordinated with police about patrolling these demonstrations. Several Albuquerque Police officers met with a group of armed local MMA fighters ahead of a protest on Monday, June 1.

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.

Nash Jones / KUNM

Most of the demonstrations calling for justice and an end to racist police violence in New Mexico over the last two weeks have been in Albuquerque. On Saturday morning, the more conservative, western suburb of Rio Rancho held its own demonstration with about 100 people gathering on the steps of City Hall. 

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