KRWG

Hannah Colton

Hannah Colton is a journalist and radio producer based in Albuquerque. Before joining KUNM's Public Health New Mexico team, she juggled microphones around the state as a freelance reporter and host for KSFR in Santa Fe, National Native News, and KUNM, among others. A devoted podcast listener and curious human, Hannah started her public radio career in Bristol Bay, Alaska, where she enjoyed covering remote rural communities and the world's largest wild salmon fishery.

The Black New Mexico Movement held a rally on Saturday, Sept. 12, in Rio Rancho, the more conservative, smaller city that neighbors Albuquerque. Fifty or 60 people gathered to speak out against racism, marking the 24th anniversary of Tupac Shakur’s death and continuing the hip-hop artist’s activism against police brutality and racial injustice. A larger crowd of opposing demonstrators showed up and antagonized the group. 

State Republicans had planned on featuring the New Mexico Civil Guard as special guests at a rally in Clovis on Aug. 22, before the militia group pulled out, citing racist remarks by one of the invited speakers. The Civil Guard, whose members have showed up heavily armed at several protests in Albuquerque this summer, also had their Facebook page removed this week as the platform culled hundreds of pages it says are tied to violence. 

An effort to get public money out of private ICE detention in New Mexico saw a partial victory this week. A coalition of educators and immigrants rights advocates have been urging the New Mexico Educational Retirement Board to drop investments in CoreCivic and GEO Group, corporations that own or manage three-quarters of migrant detention facilities in the U.S and are accused of a range of civil and human rights abuses. Between the two, they also imprison hundreds of state and federal inmates in four New Mexico counties.

In a retirement board meeting Friday, members pushed off a decision to divest until later this fall. But the stock market decided for them in one case: CoreCivic is being dropped from the fund’s portfolio this week due to poor financial returns. 

Calls for a major New Mexico retirement fund to drop investments in companies that operate private prisons and ICE detention may finally be answered this week. After over a year of pressure from a growing coalition of teachers and advocates, the New Mexico Educational Retirement Board could vote this Friday on a proposal to divest from GEO Group and Core Civic.

 

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. 

After hundreds of people demonstrated peacefully on and around the University of New Mexico campus Monday night, armed militia men showed up along Albuquerque’s Central Ave., causing fear and confusion among Black Lives Matter protesters heading home. Around the same time, a shot was heard in the area; police later said it was fireworks. No injuries or arrests were reported as of early Tuesday.

Young people who have been arrested in New Mexico often have to wait for weeks or months before a judge hears their case. But the number of juvenile detention facilities has shrunk by about half since 2015, so more youth are being detained far from home. County officials say that’s a strain on the criminal justice system and it puts young people at risk.


    

New Mexico politicians paid lip service this election cycle to a landmark education ruling about inequities in public schools. But no one was drawing a line between the Yazzie-Martinez case and an issue that’s had students walking out of classes this fall – climate change. Verland Coker, a 26-year-old Albuquerque school board candidate, makes that connection, calling out the hypocrisy of an education system here that relies on oil and gas money.

A sea of red hats and red shirts surrounded the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho last night as Trump supporters gathered to chant and shout their patriotism. When he came three years ago, headlines highlighted the violent reaction to his visit to Albuquerque, though hundreds had protested peacefully for hours before that went down. This time, his campaign painted New Mexico as a winnable swing state, saying he had growing support among Hispanic voters. 

The New Mexico legislature this spring passed increases in education funding, in response to a judge’s order saying the state has violated the constitutional rights of at-risk students. Last week, attorneys for the plaintiffs filed a notice with the court saying the state has not done nearly enough.

More than 200 people are bringing claims of sexual abuse against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe as the church goes through a bankruptcy. Anyone who still wants to file a claim has until next Monday to do it.

Albuquerque Public Schools is grappling with how to respond to critics who say the district disrespects and ignores Native American culture and history.

A public meeting APS held last week underscored a disconnect between what the district is promising and the systemic changes that many people want to see.

The Rio Rancho school board voted 4-1 Monday evening to put guns in the hands of school security guards. The measure is aimed at keeping students safe in the wake of school shootings here and across the nation.

A prominent New Mexico lawmaker threatened to shut the public out of a legislative committee meeting concerning a landmark education lawsuit after journalists brought recording equipment.

New Mexico officials are hitting the road to talk about changes to Medicaid that will take effect in January. Starting this week, the New Mexico Human Services Department is holding a series of public events across the state to educate residents about upcoming changes to Centennial Care, the state's Medicaid program.

The 2020 census may seem far off still, but some people in New Mexico are already starting to lay the groundwork for the population count that happens once every ten years, and organizers say there’s a lot at stake.

A state court ruled Friday that New Mexico’s education system fails to provide an adequate education to at-risk students, as required by the state’s constitution. In her ruling, Judge Sarah Singleton outlined the harm done to economically disadvantaged students, Native American students, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities. 

KUNM's Hannah Colton spoke with staff attorney Ernest Herrera of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, who’s been working the case for years.

The state of New Mexico has violated students’ constitutional rights by failing to provide an adequate public education, according to a landmark decision handed down late Friday by a New Mexico District Court judge.