New Mexico in Focus
New Mexico is one of the poorest states in the country and has the highest rate of child poverty. This segment was funded by the Ford Foundation and the JPB Foundation and grew out of work I did on Public Square and focuses on individual development accounts and children’s savings accounts as tools that one New Mexico organization is using to move families out of poverty.
Since 2010, there have more than 40 officer-involved shootings by the Albuquerque Police Department. The families of these victims have been at the forefront of pushing for reform, and ensuring that the Department of Justice would intervene. DOJ issued a damning report in April 2014 that criticized APD’s misuse of force. The city and DOJ signed a consent decree in late October.
In 1492, the Edict of Expulsion launched the diaspora of Sephardic Jews from Spain. Many found their way to the New World, including New Mexico, although they could not openly practice their religion. Dr. Frances Levine, director of the New Mexico History Museum, and historian Roger Martínez-Dávila flesh out the history of these people and their role in New Mexico heritage and identity. Sonya Loya, an artisan and educator who has recovered her family’s secret Jewish past, discusses her personal journey and conversion to Judaism.
Advocates, parents, students and legislators discuss the growing problem of bullying and possible solutions. I was excited to snag “Breaking Bad” star R.J. Mitte for my first program.
I got a serious education in my prep for this show from parents who became advocates simply because they had to in order to ensure their children got the education to which they are legally entitled. We hear from advocates, teachers and legislators about the problems and potential solutions.
Everyone agrees that we need to focus on children even before they are born in order to develop their full potential. So why is it so difficult to find the resources to do this? We hear from daycare providers, parents and state leaders about the impacts of early childhood development and the consequences of not funding it.
The rate of teen suicide in New Mexico is nearly twice the national average. We attempt to remove the stigma around talking about this issue by bringing on people who attempted suicide as well as health experts, counselors and state officials. The young people who talk about their experiences are particularly engaging in this episode.
New Mexico has many problems, but it also has an abundance of creativity, and in this episode we explore how the arts can reach kids in unique ways. We also shot a great segment with slam poet extraordinaire Carlos Contreras in front of a mural restored by kids from Working Classroom.
Families are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population in New Mexico, which is struggling to emerge from the recession. We hear from women who experienced homelessness or are still in shelters, advocates and state and local leaders on ways to fix this persistent issue.
As I produced shows about bullying and teen suicide, it became clear that young people who were gay or transgendered are at greater risk of killing themselves and being bullied. So I realized we needed to do a whole show focused on the challenges they face here. I am grateful so many young people and their parents were willing to share their stories with us.