On Sunday, Oct. 24, the three Albuquerque mayoral candidates gathered at the Congregation Albert synagogue for their final debate before the election takes place on Nov. 2. The participants, current Mayor Tim Keller, Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzalez and conservative talk show host Eddy Aragon, answered questions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, crime and homelessness.

In the opening statements, Keller talked about how well he has handled the pandemic and his prioritization of the health of local citizens. He said he would want to craft a path forward to continue the work he has started in his first term if chosen as mayor again.

“During the pandemic, we faced a challenge like we've never seen before,” Keller said. “We made tough decisions to save lives and save livelihoods."


 

On Oct. 21, current Bernalillo County Sheriff and Albuquerque mayoral candidate Manny Gonzales met with students at the University of New Mexico for a “Coffee with the Candidates” event organized by the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico, talking largely about issues related to crime.

Gonzales has worked in law enforcement for almost 28 years, and champions fighting crime as one of his main goals in his mayoral pursuit. Although many of his takes on major issues align with a standard conservative viewpoint and he has worked alongside former President Donald Trump, Gonzales is a registered Democrat. 

 

Albuquerque mayoral candidate Eddy Aragon visited the University of New Mexico at the invitation of the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico on Wednesday for a “Coffee with the Candidates” event. After arriving half an hour late, the session began sparsely attended but addressed the main conservative stances that Aragon’s platform supports.

Aragon is CEO of “The Rock of Talk,” a conservative radio station that broadcasts out of Albuquerque, and he also hosts the eponymous prime-time show. While the mayoral race is officially nonpartisan, Aragon is the only registered Republican running against two registered Democrats, a contrast he has sought to emphasize. 

 At the event, Aragon said he opposes COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine mandates unequivocally.

 

After three years of civic engagement initiatives dedicated to education, justice and service in the city of Albuquerque, Fight for Our Lives, a student-led organization established to propel social justice causes, announced their self-decided shut-down on Oct. 2. 

FFOL was focused on advocating for gun violence prevention in 2018, seeking climate crisis action in 2019 and creating ABQ Mutual Aid in 2020, according to FFOL co-founder Jonathon Juarez-Alonzo. He said on social media that the decision to dissolve the organization was a tough one and that “all good things must come to an end.”

 A key legacy of FFOL were the youth involved in the movement’s work, who were able to develop leadership skills through organizing efforts, according to co-founder and former President Zoey Craft. 


Biden administration announces protection restoration of 3 national monuments

 

President Joe Biden announced an executive order to restore protections to three national monuments on Oct. 8 that were previously downsized or completely stripped of protections by former President Donald Trump. This order came with the support of U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland as well as an intention to restore ties with the wronged Indigenous tribes whose land and consequently cultures were previously cut down.

During his presidency, Trump issued presidential proclamations downsizing two of Utah’s national monuments: Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante protections were cut from approximately 1.3 million acres to 228,000 acres and approximately 1.9 million acres to 1 million acres, respectively. 

Community members rally against $50 million sports stadium bond

 

In light of an upcoming vote on bond R-21-187 on Nov. 2,  which would allocate $50 million to construct a multi-purpose sports stadium that would primarily be used by the NM United soccer team, a rally gathered in Albuquerque on Oct. 13 in protest. Organized by the grassroot campaign Stop the Stadium, workers and residents spoke out about the issues of gentrification with the stadium that would heavily impact the Barelas and South Broadway neighborhoods.

While many that support that bond speak about the positive economic situation it will bring to Albuquerque, there is major contention is the fact that a majority of the funding is publicly financed. 

The evolution of language within the LGBTQ+ community

 

Language is ever-changing, and this is especially true in the LGBTQ+ community. Words, phrases and acronyms have been evolving for decades in response to the call for more inclusive language and taking back a once persecuted identity. In the past decade or so, there’s been a noticeable addition of the word ‘queer’ as an identifier for many in the LGBTQ+ community.

The addition of the “Q” (queer) has different implications than the addition of the “B” (bisexual) or the “T” (transgender) because, according to sociolinguistic researcher Remy Attig, who holds a doctorate in Spanish, the word ‘queer’ means two things: an umbrella term for sexuality and an anti-establishment group.

Crowd rallies for missing and murdered Indigenous women

 

Dozens of Indigenous families, individuals and allies gathered on Sunday, Oct. 3 at Tiguex Park to march for awareness of missing and murdered Indigenous women. The rally featured stories and testimonies from a broad range of people affected by the staggering number of missing and murdered Indigenous people whose cases remain unsolved.

Speakers highlighted the apathetic attitudes of law enforcement and the structural ineptitudes of federal, state and tribal agencies to cooperate and share investigative responsibility. In addition, attendees brought up victim-blaming and shaming as barriers to achieving justice for missing Indigenous people. 

Dual credit high school students exempted from UNM vaccination requirement

 

With the COVID-19 vaccination deadline now behind University of New Mexico students, staff and faculty, an additional exception to the medical and religion exemptions remains: dual-credit high school students. These students will be allowed to continue at UNM and on its campuses regardless of vaccination status, and they will not be subject to the same disciplinary action as full-time UNM students.

“(High school) students should follow the vaccination policies of their school districts,” Provost James Holloway wrote in an email to the UNM branch chancellors on Aug. 16. 

Women's March calls for reproductive justice

 

On Saturday, Oct. 2, New Mexico affiliates of the Women's March organization held a rally and march for reproductive justice in Tiguex Park. This was part of a wave of marches hosted by the Women's March across the nation to protest the restrictive abortion bill that went into effect in Texas in August.

The Women’s March has been hosting marches every January since Trump’s inauguration. However, this year's march was held several months early because of recent legislation in Texas concerning Senate Bill 8, which places a ban on abortions after six weeks and allows citizens to sue those who have an illegal abortion and those affiliated with the abortion. 

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