Friday, May 20, 2016

Sharing the Airwaves with a Distinguished Group of Activists

"Food benefits have been a hot topic of conversation in New Mexico, and across the country, over the past year. The Martinez administration sought to implement new work requirements for some adults this year, but a judge ruled  in March that those changes won't go into effect until December.  The New Mexico Center for Law and Poverty wants the federal courts to bring in someone from outside the department to takeover processing of applications for some HSD programs, including food benefits."   -introduction to text related to call-in show
On May 19, 2016, KUNM, an affiliate of NPR in Albuquerque, chose the subject of food benefits, specifically the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as its topic of discussion. The two principal guests on the show were Sovereign Hager, Supervising Attorney for NM Center on Law and Poverty and Miles Conway, Communication Coordinator for Council 18 AFSCME.  Joey Peters, reporter for NM Political Report offered background on a controversial issue where a group of workers in the Human Services Department testified earlier this month that their bosses changed applications for food stamps in order to prevent people from gaining access to emergency assistance. HSD officials invoked the Fifth Amendment more than 100 times last week when called to testify in court about the allegations.

A few of us were asked to provide insight on how state policies affected different communities of people in the state. They included Gordon Yawakia, Prevention Coordinator at the Albuquerque Indian Center; Brooke Tafoya, Director of Operations for A New Day Youth and Family Services, and Reed Russell, social services manager at Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless. In my case, I (Carlos Navarro, State Coordinator for Bread for the World) spoke about the faith community's view on hunger and poverty in New Mexico. I come in at about 16th minute mark of the show.  There were also some good questions from the listening audience, and Sarah Gustavus did a masterful job of hosting. Read more on the background related to the report.  Listen to the Audio

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