Albuquerque’s Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book Club meets monthly for virtual discussions regarding science fiction and fantasy novels, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jared Francisco, the leader of the book club, said the club provides for engaging discussions and helps his personal goal of reading more and with an increased speed. “I like the sci-fi genre already, I’m already a fan and I need to read more,” Francisco said.
Captivating, charming and tragic are the best words to describe the U.K. mini-series “It’s a Sin,” created by Russell T. Davies, which spotlights the lives of several gay men as they live through stigmas, homophobia and the spread of HIV in the 1980s. I heard about the show through social media various times, and though there are many shows that I mean to watch but never get around to doing so, something compelled me to start watching it during a particularly busy and trying time in my life. I was not disappointed. As I started watching the first episode, I knew I was on a journey that I wanted the entire UNM community to take with me, because I want to see an increased conversation among my student peers surrounding stigmas that the LGBTQ+ community and people with HIV face.
New Mexico state Senator Gregg Schmedes, R- Tijeras, introduced the “Health Care Workers Protection Act” (SB 323) as a way to give health care professionals the power to discriminate against their patients, although the bill died soon after its proposal. The bill was heard in the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee on March 10, and was tabled. The only motion to oppose the move to table the bill was by the bill’s sponsor, Schmedes. The bill would have allowed healthcare workers and institutions to refuse any health care service that violates their “ethical, philosophical, moral or religious beliefs or principles.”
The famous faces of Lady Gaga, Prince, Mac Miller and David Bowie grace a new mural behind the El Rey Theater on Seventh Street. The project was the result of a collaborative effort by forty-four local artists to honor famous musicians both past and present. Nazario Sandoval, the coordinator of artists for the new public artwork, said he initially planned for 10 artists to create the mural but the painting process turned into a community-building event, full of local artists and music lovers. The budget for the project was originally $1,000 but quickly tripled as the community of artists working on it increased. Sandoval funded the entire project himself.
The bill to repeal New Mexico's 1969 abortion ban (Senate Bill 10) was signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday, Feb. 26. The repeal adds an extra layer of protection for abortion health care in the state in case Roe v. Wade is overturned by the right-leaning Supreme Court. "Anyone who seeks to violate bodily integrity, or to criminalize womanhood, is in the business of dehumanization. New Mexico is not in that business — not any more," Lujan Grisham said in a press release announcing the repeal. Many supporters of the bill, including Lujan Grisham, believe that ensuring protections for abortion rights in New Mexico will save the lives of people seeking abortion care.
Tonic for the Times, a star-studded documentary and music festival to raise money for New Mexico’s health care workers, streamed virtually on Saturday, Jan. 20. Some of the guest speakers and performers for the event were Steven Michael Quezada, Penn Jillette, Chevel Shepherd, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Sophie B. Hawkins, Prism Bitch and Bob Odenkirk. Cyndi Conn, one of the event’s organizers, said “(health care workers) never actually leave the hospital mentally,” so the inspiration for the event was to show gratitude for their hard work. Performances were recorded from all over the country, including from Meow Wolf, recording studios and performer’s homes.
The New Mexico Legislature has introduced two identical or "mirror" bills aimed at repealing the 1969 law that criminalized abortion — which currently cannot be enforced due to the Supreme Court passage of Roe v. Wade in 1973, wherein the court declared it unconstitutional to restrict a woman's right to choose. On Jan. 25, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Repeal Abortion Ban (Senate Bill 10), which would repeal New Mexico’s 1969 anti-choice statute if approved by the full Legislature. Six Democrats voted in favor and three Republicans opposed the bill during the committee hearing. The Senate bill has 28 sponsors and was previously passed by the Health and Public Affairs Committee.
Bruce Smith, associate professor for the University of New Mexico course “Positive Psychology,” is creating a workbook to help UNM staff and students to navigate mental health struggles through positive psychology. “(The workbook) is really about enabling people to become their best,” Smith said. Much of the workbook is based on work that Smith has taught in his positive psychology courses.
University of New Mexico senior Cyanne Garcia is graduating in the fall 2020 semester with a degree in music education and will continue to radiate kindness and a love for music for the rest of her lifetime. As a first-generation college student, Garcia is especially proud that she was financially independent in school. “So much has changed from my first year of college until now,” Garcia said. “That’s been a really nice journey; really hard sometimes, but really necessary.”
Scholarly articles have suggested that a meditation routine reduces stress, and Michelle DuVal and Tiffany Martinez believe that meditation can be particularly helpful for students with this year’s added stressors. DuVal, a meditation coach at the Mindful Center, said the reason that meditation is effective at reducing stress is because it can slow down your central nervous system. A 2019 study from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association found a connection between stress and poor physical and mental health.