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Monday, Februar y 22, 2021 | Vo l u m e 1 2 5 | I s s u e 2 3

Unhoused woman cited for littering dies in MDC custody

Nez was placed on ‘medical watch’ while incarcerated. It wasn’t enough By Gabriel Biadora & Shelby Kleinhans @gabrielbiadora @ BirdsNotReal99

Ten months ago, Joleen Nez was accused of the crime of improper trash disposal in a southeast Albuquerque neighborhood. The petty charge ultimately cost Nez her life. Nez, an unhoused Native American woman, was cited, released and issued a criminal summons for the petty misdemeanor of littering on public property by officer Preston Panana of the Albuquerque Police Department on April 16, 2020. The original complaint filed by Panana said that Nez was issued a civil citation for kicking over a cup and bowl at the intersection of Texas Street and Zuni Road and refusing to pick up and throw away the cup "after (Nez) was given several opportunities to pick up her litter." On Jan. 30, 2021, Nez died in Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center custody.

Seven months after her initial detainment, Nez was brought to MDC for failing to appear in court (despite never receiving the summons to appear) for the original charge of littering. At 10:54 a.m. on Jan. 30, the failure to appear charge was dropped, and around 11:40 a.m. the MDC received a code call that Nez was unresponsive at her bunk after suffering an "episode" that led to a loss of consciousness. She was then resuscitated and brought to the University of New Mexico Hospital for treatment where she died, according to MDC spokesperson Julia Rivera. The MDC website listed Nez as "released" on Jan. 31 after the paperwork for her release was processed post-mortem. According to Rivera, after Nez was transported to UNMH she was expected to return to MDC to finish the releasing process. While still in the physical custody of MDC at the hospital, Nez suffered "another episode" that proved to be fatal, according to Rivera. "She was alive, breathing, con-

scious and speaking when she was at UNMH, so we hadn’t physically released her from custody yet because we were anticipating her coming back," Rivera said in a phone call with the Daily Lobo. A Bernalillo County source, who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive matters, said they received notice that Nez was placed on "medical watch" for substance use withdrawal when she was admitted to MDC. According to UNM Health Sciences spokesperson Alex Sanchez, Nez was admitted as an "in-custody death" at the Office of the Medical Investigator (OMI). The OMI is expected to release the finalized copy of an autopsy report citing the exact cause of Nez's death in six to 10 weeks. After Nez's initial citation in April, her court summons was mailed to her listed address at the Albuquerque Indian Center, a local homeless resource center for urban Native Americans, but the summons was returned to the

see

Nez page 2

Courtesy Photo

A portrait of Joleen Nez via Facebook.

City Council agrees to consider racial equity for future building projects By Madeline Pukite @madelinepukite On Wednesday, Feb. 17, the Albuquerque City Council voted unanimously in favor of creating a racial equity criterion for the Capital Implementation Program (CIP). CIP's mission is to “enhance

the physical and cultural development of the city ... Through a multi-year schedule of public physical improvements, CIP administers approved capital expenditures for systematically acquiring, constructing, replacing, upgrading and rehabilitating Albuquerque's built environment,” according to the City of Albuquerque.

The ordinance, if signed by the mayor, will give the CIP access to a series of maps that show the location of underserved communities in Albuquerque. The geographical information will help determine the location of new projects, such as community centers, parks and public spaces. An amendment to the bill was added in committee by Councilor

Trudy Jones and aimed to include geographic equity as a factor. Both of the bill’s sponsors, Councilors Lan Sena and Klarissa Peña, voted in favor of the amendment. “It would be one more tool to be looking at for this type of thing; it wouldn’t carry any more weight than the others,” Jones said. A second amendment, sponsored by Council President Cynthia Borrego, added the word “poverty” as an additional criterion factor for the proposed equity guidelines.

“I am trying to clarify that race and poverty go hand in hand, unfortunately,” Borrego said. Both Sena and Peña wrote in the bill that they hoped the legislation would help combat a legacy of inequities in the city. “Prioritizing improvements for neighborhoods and communities that have been otherwise left behind is a step toward undoing this inequitable system that many of our communities live with today,”

see

City Council page 2

Hare-raising: Over 100 rabbits available for adoption page 7 see

Alex McCausland / Daily Lobo / @alexkmccausland

A few of the rabbits in an outdoor pen, where they are held until they can be spayed or neutered.

Inside this Lobo MATA: UNM women’s basketball series against CSU, Wyoming postponed (pg. 2) GERSTLE, JACOBS, JAIN, SCRUGGS, WEISBURD: OP-ED: Climate justice at UNM (pg. 3)

GUTIERREZ: LETTER: UNM graduate workers don’t earn enough to live in Albuquerque (pg. 4) RULL: Why I shut down our COVID tracker (pg. 5) JOHN, WARD: Meditation, music at virtual UMI show (pg. 6)


PAGE 2 / MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2021

Nez

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court on May 11. Nez was absent from the original bond arraignment eight days later on May 19. This sequence of events repeated, resulting in Nez missing a second hearing on June 3 and a warrant being issued for her arrest on June 4 for failure to appear in court. Seven months later (on Jan. 29), a warrant was served and Nez was arrested and incarcerated at

City Council

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MDC. The following day on Jan. 30, the warrant was returned and the prosecutor filed a "nolle prosequi" — a legal practice where a prosecutor dismisses a case without prejudice. The reasoning for filing this particular nolle prosequi is unclear, as the assistant district attorney for the case, Pilar A. Borneo, was unwilling to provide comment.

The Daily Lobo confirmed through state court records that the order on the bench warrant issued for Nez's arrest was returned, and her administrative warrant fee of $100 was converted into her served jail time of two days at MDC. The cause of death in the case of Nez still remains unknown.

enhancement,” the bill reads. At a Council meeting on Jan. 20, a vote on the bill was deferred after multiple councilors expressed concerns about its implementation. “My concern is, how am I supposed to go back to my constituents and say I voted for something that, very likely, we will not see coming back into our own district?” Councilor Brook Bassan, who represents the affluent Northeast Heights, said at the time. In the meeting on Wednesday, however, many councilors spoke in favor of the proposal. "I want to take the opportunity to thank you ... (this ordinance) caused us all to really sit and think about how the CIP does business," Borrego said. Councilor Isaac Benton, who voted in support, said he hoped these would not be the last conversations around the CIP. “We need to continue conversations about the transparency and the methodology of which projects are considered,” Benton said.

Christopher Ramirez, the executive director of community advocacy organization Together for Brothers, attended the meeting to voice support for the ordinance and urge the councilors to vote in favor of the proposed changes to how city funds are invested. “There’s been neighborhoods across our city that have been historically disinvested in — and part of that is connected to transit equity — but I hope you’ll support that work to make sure that infrastructure and capital improvement is done in an equitable way,” Ramirez, whose organization works with young men of color in Albuquerque, said. The ordinance won’t be implemented until 2023, but Councilor Sena closed discussion on the bill with comments about how important she expects it will be for the future. "I think (this legislation is) important moving forward ... It’ll make us a better city, and it’ll help us look at things through

Editor's note: A previous version of this story said Nez was arrested for the initial charge of littering with the charge being dropped months later. Nez was issued a civil citation in 2020 for littering, and assistant district attorney Pilar A. Borneo dropped the failure to appear charge before her death.

This is a developing story. Gabriel Biadora is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @gabrielbiadora Shelby Kleinhans is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @BirdsNotReal99

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the bill reads. The city’s Office of Equity and Inclusion’s “opportunity index map,” which includes poverty, unemployment and education levels, will be available for the CIP to use as they develop future capital improvement plans. In addition, a council district map, which shows data on poverty and race in layers, and a CDC Social Vulnerability Index map will also be available as resources. In order to fund future projects, the ordinance will utilize money from the city’s general obligation bonds. In 2018, the Council passed legislation to specifically prioritize general obligation bond spending on projects to help fund low-income communities. “(A resolution from 2018) included a priority for the City’s 2019 general obligation bond program to fund programs and projects in underserved neighborhoods relating to public safety, senior and community centers, libraries, housing, transportation, economic development and community

Courtesy Photo

Photo of Albuquerque City councilors, courtesy of the City of Albuquerque.

a different lens," Sena said. Mayor Tim Keller said he was also looking forward to the more equitable future the ordinance could create. “These investments in our underserved areas represent more than brick and mortar — we are building opportunity, (and) that

will make our whole city stronger,” Keller said. Madeline Pukite is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @madelinepukite

UNM women’s basketball series against CSU, Wyoming postponed By Jesus Mata @JesusMataJr99 The Mountain West Conference announced last week that the upcoming University of New Mexico women’s basketball series against both Colorado State and Wyoming would be postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test within UNM’s program. According to two separate press releases by the MWC, “The rescheduled date will be announced once finalized by the Mountain West and both institutions.” The Lobos received the positive

test result in the early morning of Feb. 12 and immediately notified both Colorado State and MWC officials. After discussions between both schools, medical teams and Colorado health officials, the recommendation was made to cancel the game between CSU and UNM. “It went from our doctors, to a medical advisory team of some sort with the university and then from there it ultimately got pushed over to the county. Then the county came back with its recommendations,” UNM athletics director Eddie Nuñez said. Nuñez confirmed in a press conference that the positive case

within the women’s program was a student-athlete. “(They’re) at the hotel in quarantine and isolation,” Nuñez said. As a result of the positive test, UNM will ramp up their testing measures in order to prevent an outbreak within the program. These measures include testing the remaining members of the team multiple times before resuming group activities. “What we’re trying to do today is basically as I said: manage everybody, make sure our doctors are talking to them, making sure everybody’s OK,” Nuñez said. “Tomorrow morning (Saturday) we

will re-test them — if it’s another negative test for everybody else, that gives us some positives.” The postponement of the two series has thrown the remaining schedule of these three teams into chaos. For Wyoming, the Lobos were supposed to be the opponents in their season finale, but after the postponement of these games and no reschedule date announced as of the publication of this article, the Cowgirls could likely enter the MWC tournament without having played a game in three weeks. As for the series against Colorado State, head coach Ryun Williams said he isn’t planning for his team to play any late schedule games before the conference tournament.

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With CSU’s season finale taking place on March 1 and the MWC tournament beginning on March 7, it’s highly unlikely that the games against UNM will be rescheduled, according to Nuñez. "It's just a bummer, but in a year like this, you learn to be flexible,” CSU head coach Williams said. “And our kids, they've been flexible all year with a lot of different things.” Gino Gutierrez contributed reporting to this article. Jesus Mata is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at sports@dailylobo. com or on Twitter @JesusMataJr99

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MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2021 / PAGE 3

OP-ED

Climate justice at UNM

Take

‘Can’t afford to wait’: Divest from fossil fuels, invest in solar and wind

Photo by Robin Sommer on Unsplash.

By Walter Gerstle, Megan Jacobs, Ravi Jain, Caroline Scruggs & Stefi Weisburd Science shows that as we pollute our atmosphere with greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane, the world heats up, causing disasters such as floods, drought, wildfire, hurricanes and ocean acidification. The climate catastrophe is not some remote risk; it is happening now and will certainly get worse. In New Mexico, we are in extreme drought and have already lost much of our mountain forests to wildfire and insect infestation. The relationship between equity and inclusion is linked with the climate crisis, particularly in New Mexico. The mega-drought has adversely impacted the livelihoods and culture of Indigenous community members. The U.S. Resilience Toolkit states that, “Climate change threatens Indigenous peoples’ livelihoods and economies. Its impacts are projected to be especially severe for many of the 567 federally

Courtesy Photo

recognized tribes in the United States that depend on traditional places, foods and lifestyles.” We must do all that we can as soon as possible to prevent runaway greenhouse heating. The Paris Climate Accord, which the U.S. recently rejoined, seeks to limit global temperature increase to 1.5 Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels; however, the global community is not making adequate progress toward meeting this goal. Everyone — from individuals to institutions to nations — must work together to limit greenhouse emissions. At our University, ASUNM, the Staff Council and the United Academics of UNM have all passed climate resolutions calling for action, and the Faculty Senate is currently working on a pair of resolutions focused on tangible steps UNM can take to reduce greenhouse emissions and foster a healthier and more sustainable environment. To avoid most of the loss and risk from climate change, we must transition UNM’s energy portfolio from fossil fuels to non-polluting renewable energy. While this energy transition will

be difficult in the short term for many people — for example, those working in the oil and gas fields will need training and support to transition into other industries — the good news is that this transition will significantly revitalize our national economy in the long term. Failure to transition will be economically — and environmentally — expensive. As we delay the energy transition, the financial and social costs rise steeply. According to recent Lazard and Bloomberg New Energy Finance reports (2020), the cost of generation of solar power (at the utility scale) is currently the least expensive way to generate electricity, at 3.6 cents per kilowatt-hour, followed closely by on-shore wind at 4.0 cents/kWh. (For reference, natural gas costs 5.9 cents/kWh, coal costs 11.2 cents/kWh and nuclear energy costs 16.4 cents/kWh.) Further, the trend for costs of solar and wind energy generation are expected to spiral downward. New Mexico is in a prime position to deliver the least expensive renewable-generated electricity in the nation, and with the state

Legislature’s passage of the Energy Transition Act in 2019, the state is leading the nation in its target date (2045) for carbonfree electricity generation. PNM will beat that date by five years and is already replacing the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station with 650 MW of solar and 300 MW of battery storage that will save ratepayers between $6 and $7 per month. UNM can play a crucial role in this energy transition by investing its resources in New Mexico clean energy and climate change projects, continuing studies on economic diversification strategies for the state, updating and accelerating its own climate action plan to become carbon-free as soon as possible and educating its students and community about the actions needed to counteract climate change. UNM community members have been urging action on climate change for decades. Students have graduated. Presidents have changed. Professors and staff have retired. Lots of meetings have occurred, with a few positive steps to reduce carbon emissions here and there. But the atmospheric carbon keeps

rising, the temperatures keep increasing, our droughts and forest fires keep getting worse and our communities are being impacted. UNM can no longer afford to wait: The time to act on climate change is now. Walter Gerstle is professor emeritus of civil engineering Megan Jacobs is an associate professor in the Honors College and holds a master of fine arts degree Ravi Jain is a professor in the electrical and computer engineering, physics and astronomy, and nanoscience and microsystems departments, and is affiliated with optical sciences and engineering and the Center for High Technology Materials Caroline Scruggs is an associate professor of natural resources and environmental planning in the School of Architecture and Planning Stefi Weisburd is a retired outreach and education manager in the School of Engineering

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LOBO OPINION

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The Independent Student Voice of UNM since 1895

Monday, February 22, 2021

Opinion Editor / opinion@dailylobo.com

LETTER

UNM graduate workers don’t earn enough to live in Albuquerque By Katherine Gutierrez A recent post in an online forum asked for tips on how to live on a meager graduate program stipend. “I need to figure out a really strict budget, but that’s hard when rent will take everything I have.” Unfortunately, this is a common problem for those getting their masters and doctorates. Graduate workers like myself perform a variety of duties for their institutions, including research, community outreach, writing, lecturing, grading, mentoring and working with university centers outside their departments. The University of New Mexico, the state’s flagship university, estimates that the cost of living for a single graduate student in

Albuquerque is around $22,000 per year. Yet the University pays its graduate workers a minimum stipend of about $14,000 per year. I am paid around $3,500 per semester to teach an undergraduate course about social justice in economics, and the irony in this is not lost on me. While my position is only billed as 10 hours per week, I spend many more preparing lectures, grading, holding office hours and creating assignments and exams — in addition to my dissertation work. Most of my colleagues use a combination of loans and federal assistance programs like food stamps to get by. This is an even more severe problem for graduate workers with dependents, as well as international graduate workers with U.S. visas that

limit how much and where they can work. A UNM spokesperson said to the Albuquerque Journal “postmaster teacher assistants don’t have to pay tuition, which makes total compensation the equivalent of $30,000 per year.” But tuition waivers do not pay the rent. Officially, UNM admits that they do not count waivers as a form of pay: “The University of New Mexico considers this tuition waiver as a scholarship and not as payment for services rendered.” Claiming that tuition waivers count as compensation is an accounting trick that means nothing to the graduate students whose labor helps the University fulfill its mission. These low wages not only hurt current graduate workers,

but also future ones. Prospective graduate students from low-income backgrounds who are interested in researching topics that will help humanity have to make a choice between living in poverty for four to six years or not attending. By continuing to pay wages below the poverty line, UNM is sending the message that low-income graduates and other historically disadvantaged students do not belong in academia and diminishing the quality of teaching and research that we provide. This is why we have formed a union made up of a supermajority of graduate workers. However, despite all the work we do for UNM, the University is claiming that we are not employees and therefore do not have a

By Victor Martinez / Daily Lobo / @sirbluescreen

DAILY LOBO CORRECTION POLICY

legal right to unionize. Not only is this adding insult to injury, the University is also willing to fight a costly legal battle to disenfranchise us instead of simply paying us a living wage. I love UNM — I am actually a fourth-generation Lobo. But it feels like the powers that be at UNM do not love me back. If they did, surely they would pay me enough to live. Katherine Gutierrez is a doctoral candidate in the UNM department of economics, a teaching assistant for an undergraduate course and an organizer with the United Graduate Workers of UNM union

By Rhianna Roberts / Daily Lobo / @Rhianna_SR

Volume 125 Issue 23 Editor-in-Chief Alex McCausland

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The New Mexico Daily Lobo is an independent student newspaper published on Monday and Thursday except school holidays during the fall and spring semesters and weekly during the summer session. Subscription rate is $75 per academic year. E-mail accounting@dailylobo.com for more information on subscriptions. The New Mexico Daily Lobo is published by the Board of UNM Student Publications. The editorial opinions expressed in the New Mexico Daily Lobo are those of the respective writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the students, faculty, staff and regents of the University of New Mexico. Inquiries concerning editorial content should be made to the editor-in-chief. All content appearing in the New Mexico Daily Lobo and the Web site dailylobo.com may not be reproduced without the consent of the editor-in-chief. A single copy of the New Mexico Daily Lobo is free from newsstands. Unauthorized removal of multiple copies is considered theft and may be prosecuted. Letter submission policy: The opinions expressed are those of the authors alone. Letters and guest columns must be concisely written, signed by the author and include address and telephone. No names will be withheld.


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NEW MEXICO DAILY LOBO

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2021 / PAGE 5

DATA DESK

Why I shut down our COVID tracker Please stop emailing my boss about the COVID tracker By Joe Rull @rulljoe If you're one of the few dozen people who open our newsletter, you've probably noticed that we haven't updated our COVID tracker since Dec. 22. And if you're one of the even fewer people reading this article, it's pretty likely that you know me personally to some extent. So maybe shutting down the tracker comes as no surprise to most of you. But I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the past year of COVID coverage and talk about why we had to drop our tracking effort in the first place. When the world ended last March, I was just a basketball beat writer covering yet another underwhelming season for the Lobos' men's team. At the time, I was barely getting into data journalism, and the Daily Lobo's data desk was still months away from existing. Just like everyone else, we were trying to make sense of what was happening. I've always dealt with —

frankly, pretty embarrassing — reading issues, so the only way I can make heads or tails of anything is by breaking it down visually. Thus is the pretty underwhelming origin story of our COVID tracker. We started manually logging and visualizing every bit of New Mexico COVID data we could find, ran a column or two about data visualization and went about our merry way maintaining and expanding our tracking effort. I might be a little biased here, but our tracker was in my estimation far and away the most in-depth COVID tracker in the state for the better part of a year — for my money, even better than the NMDOH dashboard, which still sucks. So what happened? Well. Here at the Lobo, my friends are nice enough to call me the "data editor" in charge of the "data desk," which is a mostly arbitrary title they gave me because I'd already failed pretty spectacularly in my roles editing the multimedia and sports desks, respectively. In reality, the "data desk" has exactly one reporter, who also happens

to be the only editor, data graphic designer and data "scientist" on staff. And while I do truly love what I do here, it can be absolutely exhausting. I couldn't tell you how many hours went into our tracking effort. But I can tell you that from March 18 to Dec. 22, I manually updated the page hosting the tracker exactly 581 times and the underlying data feeding the Tableau dashboards at least three or four times as often. All my data dork friends know that state governments are notoriously shitty about making data available. Because of this, the updating process entailed hours of work every single day manually whittling the data down into something we could actually work with. I like to think we did an okay job, but I can't lie — manually tracking every new case, every death, every hospitalization, every nursing home, every thing every day all by myself has been so. Incredibly. Taxing. And for what? Again, I hate to put myself on a pedestal here, but for all our ancient website's shortcomings, our COVID

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tracker was really, really solid, and is probably the most significant journalistic contribution of my career so far. And I got paid absolute dogshit to do it. It's no fault of the Daily Lobo; we're criminally underfunded despite whatever some of our favorite shitfor-brains student "representatives" say. All of us make significantly less than minimum wage for what we do. I'm just gonna be totally honest with you guys. Just like everyone else, I'm going broke, and my mental health is shot. All the way shot. I haven't been able to focus on anything, I'm weeks behind in school, I haven't felt creative in god knows how long and for months have been on the verge of dropping out altogether. I've been running on fumes for a while. Once the fall semester ended, I lost whatever was left in me to keep tracking COVID for the paper. I hate to say it's not worth it. I know the COVID tracker was an important resource for some of our readers, which is what kept me going for so long. I just can't in good faith keep telling people that I'll get it back on

track soon when I know I don't have it in me anymore. In the end, I appreciate the support we've gotten for our COVID tracking, and I hope people can understand where I'm coming from — even if this column reads like a rambling, selfaggrandizing, whiny mess. In another universe, maybe the Lobo would be getting the funding it deserves, and maybe we'd have a data editor who could recruit data reporters, and maybe our COVID effort would be bigger and better. But in this universe, I think it's about time I started focusing my energy on getting back on the horse, with an end goal of at least rediscovering the motivation to make something for the paper while I'm still here. Joe Rull is the data editor and a senior reporter at the Daily Lobo. He hopes to be working on things he cares about again soon, but in the meantime, you can dunk on him via his Twitter page @rulljoe or send him a strongly-worded email at data@dailylobo.com.

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Meditation, music at virtual UMI show By Hannah John & Daniel Ward @yesitshannahj @wordsofward34 Though ASUNM Student Special Events has been forced to adapt to virtual concerts to “protect the pack” amid the pandemic, the featured artist didn’t disappoint on Feb. 12 as UMI showcased live acoustic music and guided meditation over Zoom. Tierra Umi Wilson, known professionally as UMI, is a 22-yearold singer/songwriter based out of Los Angeles who made a name for herself when she toured with fellow artist Cuco back in 2019. Her virtual concert on Feb. 12 was only available to University of New Mexico students, and about 100 students attended. According to Joe Polack, the executive director of SSE, the idea for the event stemmed from UMI’s previous shows that included meditation alongside a live performance. Due to COVID-19, SSE had to change how they host events because of the limit on social gatherings, which are discouraged by CDC guidelines. However, they kept the happiness and wellbeing of UNM students in mind when scheduling virtual events like UMI’s show. “What we’ve gotten a lot of feedback about is (how) our events have had a really great mental health impact — it brings a sense of community back,” Polack said. “Nothing can replace that truly live event experience, but if we can help students in any way ... in my opinion, that’s a win.” Over the past year, concerts and

Courtesy of the UNM Student Activities Center.

tours have been widely canceled due to the pandemic. In response, some artists have opted for hosting virtual shows. Still, some students have expressed their sadness for the loss of in-person concerts. “I remember being very excited for (UMI’s virtual event) because a lot of the concerts I planned to go to in 2020 just didn’t happen,” Alannah Trujillo, a freshman at UNM, said. “Not a lot of other artists were doing anything like this, so it’s something that I found as an

Courtesy Photo

act of kindness as a fan.” Trujillo said she first found UMI on Spotify about a year ago when she was still in high school. Songs like “Butterfly” and “Remember Me” caught her attention, so she was excited to hear that UMI was hosting a concert at UNM. She said she found out about the event through social media and immediately signed up. The first 30 minutes of UMI’s virtual show started with a guided meditation, a practice she

incorporates into her daily life and shares on her Instagram and YouTube channel. “I started meditating in high school when I was experiencing a lot of anxiety. I found a five minute meditation on YouTube one day, and it changed my life,” UMI said. “I remember crying after finishing the meditation because the peace I felt was so profound.” UNM students who attended the event said they enjoyed the incorporation of meditation into UMI’s

set and wanted to practice it more in their daily life. “The meditation overall helped me realize that this is something that I should at least be doing every day, whether that be five minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes,” Cameron Sandoval, a senior at UNM, said. “Just take a small portion out of your day. Just reflect, relax, control yourself, control your body.” UMI said she chooses the unusual practice of starting her concerts with meditation because it enhances the experience for herself and her audience. “I think everything in life can be enjoyed more when the mind is still,” UMI said. “I feel that when I meditate with those who I get to sing for, it helps them connect with my music more because they can become more present.” Polack said SSE is hoping to host more events like this one, which balance students’ enjoyment with their mental health and physical safety. “I would love to pack Johnson Field like we normally do every year with 10 to 12 thousand people. I can’t even describe to you the roar of the crowd as our headliner is coming on,” Polack said. “But at the same time, we have to be safe right now. It’s about finding that middle ground, and we’ve been able to do that in some regards.” Hannah John is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at culture@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @yesitshannahj Daniel Ward is a senior reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at culture@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @wordsofward34

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MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2021 / PAGE 7

Hare-raising: Over 100 rabbits available for adoption By Alex McCausland @alexkmccausland The Bernalillo County Animal Care and Resource Center is overflowing with over 100 rabbits who are in need of loving homes. Candace Sanchez, the center’s outreach manager, said it all started with a complaint they received about rabbits spotted in the road in the South Valley area. “Upon arrival, we found that a homeowner ... was housing multiple rabbits in a small contained outdoor area,” Sanchez said. “Once we started going into the facility, we realized that what ended up happening was the owner initially purchased the rabbits as pets, and they were not spayed and neutered. So as time progressed on, multiplication started taking place.” That multiplication resulted in

a total of 169 rabbits, all of which were then surrendered to Bernalillo County Animal Care Services. Some of the rabbits were placed into other animal care facilities, but currently the Bernalillo center is caring for just under 120 rabbits — an unusually high number of animals to take in all at once, according to Sanchez. Despite the added pressure, staff are working in lockstep to shuffle the rabbits into the adoption process and out of the facility. “This volume, we don’t see it very often,” Sanchez said. “It’s brought all of our teams together, where we all have a piece in what’s taking place to get them from being into the facility … to our staff doing the initial adoption and getting them out to the individuals.” An added challenge is the high demand for younger rabbits, Sanchez said, particularly around holidays like Valentine’s Day. De-

spite the lack of demand for the older set, Sanchez remained optimistic in the center’s ability to get all of the animals adopted. “In all reality, we’ve had a very high interest, we’re excited, and now it’s just us having the availability, due to COVID, to get people in (the facility) in a timely manner and also in a safe manner,” Sanchez said. Individuals interested in adopting a rabbit from the Bernalillo County Animal Care and Resource Center can visit the Bernalillo County Animal Care Services website and fill out a rabbit adoption interest card. They will then receive a call back within 24 hours to schedule an appointment to visit the facility in-person. Alex McCausland is the Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at editorinchief@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @alexkmccausland

Alex McCausland / Daily Lobo / @alexkmccausland

A small rabbit licks the bars of its cage.

Alex McCausland / Daily Lobo / @alexkmccausland

Candace Sanchez, the outreach manager for the Bernalillo County Animal Care and Resource Center, holds a rabbit in one of the outdoor pens.

Alex McCausland / Daily Lobo / @alexkmccausland

Alex McCausland / Daily Lobo / @alexkmccausland

One of the rabbits in an outdoor pen, where they are held until they can be spayed or neutered.

A few of the rabbits in an outdoor pen, where they are held until they can be spayed or neutered.

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