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. Sometimes it’s because parents die. Whatever the reason, raising grandkids can be a struggle, but for many grandparents it also brings unexpected joy.
Producer Megan Kamerick has this portrait of one grandmother in Albuquerque experiencing the highs and lows of raising her autistic grandson, and the decision she had to make when she discovered they weren’t actually related.
Featured image by Megan Kamerick
Dawn Maestas is now in her forties, but she spent a big chunk of her life enduring emotional and physical abuse from her partner. When Dawn finally broke free, she decided to study aesthetics and skin care to get her life back together. And since then, she’s been helping other women who have survived domestic abuse, by removing the tattoos their abusive partners left on their skin as a form of branding. Reporter Megan Kamerick brings us this story from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Photo by Megan Kamerick
The state of New Mexico has the highest rate of drug-related deaths in the nation. Hispanics and Native Americans have borne the brunt of this devastation. In Albuquerque’s historically Latino South Valley neighborhood, black tar heroin has plagued families for generations. And prescription opiates have become an even bigger problem. But these days, the community is tapping into centuries-old cultural practices to help addicts find a new path to recovery. The core value here is respect.
Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of the producer (Megan Kamerick)
For more information on La Plazita, visit their website. You can also check out Casa De Salud Family Medical Office.
Megan Kamerick has been a journalist for 20 years, working in Milwaukee, San Antonio, New Orleans and Albuquerque. She is currently the host and producer of Public Square at New Mexico PBS. She is also an independent public radio producer and does a woman’s newscast regularly for Women’s Focus on KUNM in Albuquerque. Megan received awards for investigative pieces, arts coverage, environmental stories, profiles, breaking news, radio interviews and her portrayal of women. She was named outstanding small business journalist in New Mexico by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s New Mexico office. Megan holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree in journalism from Marquette University. She is the immediate past president of the Journalism & Women Symposium. Her talk on women and media, delivered at TEDx Albuquerque, is now featured on the organization’s national site, www.ted.com.
Professor Angela Garcia has personal experience with addiction. She talks to Latino USA host Maria Hinojosa about her thoughts on La Cultura Cura, her book The Pastoral Clinic: Addiction and Dispossession Along the Rio Grande, and her thoughts on the relationship between poverty and drug addiction.
Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of Amazon.
Angela Garcia is a Professor at Stanford University. A central theme of her work is the disproportionate burden of addiction, depression and incarceration among poor families and communities. Garcia’s book, The Pastoral Clinic: Addiction and Dispossession Along The Rio Grande (Universityof California Press, 2010) received the 2012 Victor Turner Prize and a 2010 Pen Center USA Award. The Pastoral Clinic explores the relationship between intergenerational heroin use, poverty and colonial history in northern New Mexico.
New Mexico poet Carlos Contreras works teaching inmates and writes about addiction and poverty in his community. He reads an excerpt from his poem “Falling Star.”
Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of Just Write. See Carlos Contreras performing another poem here.
Carlos Contreras is a twenty-six-year-old poet who competed on the team that brought the National Poetry Slam Championship home to his native Albuquerque. His many other awards include the New Mexico Hispanic Entertainers Award for Poet of the Year in 2007. As a high school student, Carlos was accepted into the Voces program at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, a month-long workshop in poetry composition and performance. The next year he returned as an intern and mentor. Today, with a degree in English and Sociology from the University of New Mexico, he is the lead coordinator of the program. He has published poems in several anthologies, and a book, A Man in Pieces: Poems for My Father. Contreras performs solo and in groups around the state and the nation. Bio and headshot care of El Palacio.
As the elections wrap up, we have briefings from key areas around the country where the Latino vote had a key impact on the election – and also reflects America’s changing demographics.
Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of Colorlines (creative commons).
Ashley Lopez is a reporter for WLRN-Miami Herald News. She also splits her time as a reporter/blogger for the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting and as a local print reporter for The Miami Herald. Previously, Lopez was a reporter/blogger for The Florida Independent — a nonprofit news blog that covered Florida politics and public policy. A native Miamian, Lopez graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a journalism degree. She also interned for Talking Points Memo and an NPR affiliate in Durham, North Carolina.
Robbie Harris is WVTF/RADIO IQ‘s New River Valley Bureau Chief. Based in Blacksburg, Robbie covers the New River Valley and southwestern Virginia. She is a former news director of WBEZ/ Chicago Public Radio and WHYY in Philadelphia, where she led award-winning news teams and creative projects. She has also worked in public and commercial television, as well as print journalism.
News Director Peter O’Dowd leads a newsroom that includes reporters in seven Southwestern bureaus. His work has aired on The BBC, NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation, and American Public Media’s Marketplace. He’s covered technology, the housing bubble and the constant flap over immigration policy that keeps Arizona in the national spotlight. Peter began his radio career at Wyoming Public Radio. He has a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and he’s taught English in Tokyo, Japan.
Latinos make up half of all New Mexicans and two out of five voters. These are the highest proportions for those categories in any state. But New Mexican Latinos tend to be independent, challenging orthodoxies about Latinos and party loyalties that play out in other places. Sarah Gustavus reports on the New Mexico difference.
Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of Flickr.
Sarah Gustavus is an Albuquerque-based reporter who frequently covers immigration, public health, and politics. Her public radio stories have aired nationally on All Things Considered, Latino USA, Weekend America and Making Contact. As a 2011 Fellow with the Institute for Justice and Journalism’s Immigration in the Heartland program, she produced an award-winning series on New Mexico’s immigration history.
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has said repeatedly that she would not accept an offer from Mitt Romney if he asked her to be on the ticket with him in November. Still, she could influence the GOP to moderate their immigration policies. Sarah Gustavus has this profile of a rising political star, part of new generation of Latino leaders.
Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of The Hispanic Blog.
Sarah Gustavus reports on topics like government, immigration and poverty for public radio and television, most recently as a reporter and host at KUNM in Albuquerque. Her work has aired nationally on All Things Considered, Weekend America, Making Contact, and Tell Me More. She grew up on a cattle ranch in Texas and spent several years developing her broadcasting skills in Seattle. She is currently studying for a master’s in media at City University in London, where her research focuses on news coverage of immigration.