The second annual Indigenous Comic Con at Isleta Pueblo in Albuquerque brought together Native artists, actors, filmmakers and storytellers to talk about telling their own stories after years of having their culture appropriated by mainstream fantasy and sci-fi.
New Mexico is usually last on everything that has to do with children. So it was unusual for the state to lead the country with a law designed to stop the practice of punishing kids when their parents don’t pay their lunch bills.
I found Lee Francis through business accelerator Creative Startups and attended the first indigenous comic con that he produced in late 2016. That’s where I met Jon Proudstar and learned about the history of Tribal Force, and Lee’s role in resurrecting it despite the controversial themes it tackles.
I answered a call-out for stories from NPR West for women new to political life who were running for office and found Kate Noble, who ran unopposed for a school board seat in Santa Fe, but definitely has her eye on bigger political offices in the future.
The decision to create a new national historical park in New Mexico focused on the effort to build the first atomic bomb was hailed by many in the town of Los Alamos, but it also remains an intensely controversial subject. How will the story be told? What will the National Park Service include?
This NPR story delves into a campaign by children’s advocates riffs on the state’s tourism campaign, New Mexico True, with a series of ads called New Mexico Truth to highlight that the state has the highest level of child poverty in the country.
I returned to this event after reporting it for Marketplace the first year to look at this through the lens of a state struggling to diversify its economy and tap into its strengths.
This Land Is My Land: The Story of Reies López Tijerina on Latino USA
The history of New Mexico is incredibly complex and it echoes down to the realities of the state today. We’re familiar with the dispossession of Native Americans in the West. But for many Hispanos and Latinos, there was a wave of dispossession after the Mexican-American War in 1848 when the border basically crossed them. This story focuses on the legacy of an activist and preacher who tapped into these deep wounds and founded a movement that culminated in the takeover of a courthouse in northern New Mexico in the late 1960s.
Removing Tattoos Of Abuse on Latino USA
This is one I’m particularly honored to have done. Dawn Maestas tells LatinoUSA about her own history of abuse and how she helps other women break free by removing the tattoos their abusive partners left on their skin as a form of branding.
Grandparents Raising Grandkids on Latino USA
More than 2.5 million grandparents across the country serve as primary caregivers for their grandchildren, often due to divorce, teen pregnancy, drug addiction or incarceration. For this story on LatinoUSA I visited one grandmother raising her autistic grandson in Albuquerque’s South Valley.
Forget The Elevator. Try Pitching On A Ski Lift on Marketplace
I joined entrepreneurs and funders at the Taos Ski Valley for this innovative twist on the business plan competition. Startups had to pitch their ideas while riding up the mountain on a chair lift.
This aired on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday ahead of the final episodes of “Breaking Bad” airing on AMC. It features several entrepreneurs tapping into the show’s wildly devoted fanbase with tours, merchandise and even fake meth candy.
Diplomas Behind Bars on Latino USA
For this story on Latino USA I visited the Gordon Bernell Charter School located in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Albuquerque. It’s one of only a couple of schools in the country where inmates can get high school diplomas while serving time.
Addiction in New Mexico: La Cultura Cura on Latino USA
I produced most of this episode, including finding all the sources for the main story, recording the interviews, logging the tape and writing the script. I also connected Latino USA with Angela Garcia, poet Carlos Contreras and musical group Mala Maña, whose music was featured on the episode.
Two Women for Peace on PeaceTalks Radio
I interviewed Sister Peggy O’Neill, an American nun who went to El Salvador at the height of the civil war and never left. She now runs a center in Suchitoto focused on healing through the arts. The interview is part of a show on women working for peace. A half-hour version is here.
Stories for KUNM
A discussion with the director of the New Mexico Innocence and Justice Project, a man exonerated after 30 years on Alabama’s death row, and a woman who’s eyewitness testimony helped convict an innocent man.
A conversation with artists an entrepreneurs about leveraging the state’s strengths in the cultural and creative sectors into economic development that provides more jobs.
I was the guest host on the weekly call-in show, doing live interviews with two guests in the studio and one on the phone, while also fielding listener calls.
The announcement by German company Schott Solar in June 2012 that it would close its large manufacturing plant in Albuquerque was a blow to the local economy, and seemed to be part of a larger downsizing trend in solar. But I wanted to highlight that there are other sectors of this industry that continue to grow.
Ed Mazria has a storied reputation in the architecture world, having written the Passive Solar Energy Book used by builders worldwide. He delivered the annual lecture for the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects about the necessity of changing how buildings are designed since they are the biggest contributors to climate change.
The Valles Caldera National Preserve is one of the most iconic sites in New Mexico. It’s a sweeping landscape of meadows and forests that sits in the massive crater of a collapsed volcano. Congress bought the former ranch in 2000 and created the preserve with a special mandate: Become financially self-sufficient by 2015. It’s just as complicated as it sounds.
I’ve covered the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market for years because it taps into things about which I’m very passionate: Women’s economic empowerment, international development, creativity and the arts, entrepreneurship and cultural preservation. In this story, I also found a conservation angle through a federation of silk weavers in Madagascar, who are boosting the economic independence of women while preserving the island nation’s endangered tapia forests.
The International Symposium on Electronic Arts came to Albuquerque in fall 2012, the first time the international gathering had been in the U.S. since 2006. Hundreds of artists and researchers descended on the city to explore all kinds of issues around climate change, technology, human interaction with nature and alternative economic models. I was particularly taken with the exhibit that suggested arming cattle to fend off wolves because wolf predation has been a hugely controversial issue in Southwest New Mexico. But I was also intrigued by how artists are trying to grapple with larger issues around climate change in order to spark some kind of new discussion. It’s a topic most people find too overwhelming.
Interviews on Women’s Focus
I have been thinking a lot about what aging will look like for me since my husband and I have no children. And I know many other people are considering this as well after watching their parents go through the process. So when Beth Baker came through on a book tour, I was eager to hear what she found as she researched her book “With A Little Help From Our Friends: Creating Community As We Grow Older.”
Like many I have struggled with elderly parents and helping them make viable choices as they age. That’s why Katy Butler’s book “Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path To A Better Way Of Death” resonated with me. I am far from alone. The book has garnered huge attention nationally. That nature of the end of life has change radically due to advanced technologies, but our mechanisms for making end-of-life decisions have not kept up with this new reality.
I admit starting her novel of a teenage Native girl fighting poverty and abuse in her small town was really depressing. But by the time I finished, I loved these characters. And Erika proved to be just as fascinating when we sat down to talk.
I had the opportunity to interview Henriques, former New York Times reporter, in 2011 about her book on Bernie Madoff, “The Wizard of Lies.” It’s a riveting read, even for those who never picked up a business book, and Henriques is an excellent storyteller.
Chicago’s work from the 1980’s, “Power Play,” was displayed in summer 2012 in Santa Fe in its entirety for the first time since its premier. She talks with me about why the work is even more relevant today in its critique of the cultural construct of masculinity. What I found most interesting was Chicago’s own internal shifts as she worked on the series. She says she became much more empathetic towards men. She also has a great story about a woman attacking her verbally over the works and a man responding, arguing that Chicago’s vision accurately depicts men’s pain.
I interviewed the curator of this powerful art show at the University of New Mexico about Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, a remarkable woman who spent years in the Terezin concentration camp teaching children art. The piece also has an interview with Ela Weissberger, a survivor of Terezin who knew Dicker-Brandeis. The exhibit was particularly moving because next to each art work was the name of the child and their fate. Most were exterminated. (NOTE: This post has two audio tracks, a snafu I am trying to remedy at the KUNM website. The first one has this story.)
Newscasts for Women’s Focus