By KAY MATTHEWS
Many people and organizations are suffering financially in these times of economic uncertainly. Those who’ve lost their jobs or fallen ill to Covid are still recovering while the overall economy staggers under the weight of neoliberal policies and foreign wars and entanglements. Top that off with the thousands of people in northern New Mexico who’ve been displaced by the devastating fires in the Sangre de Cristos of Mora and San Miguel counties (and fires in the Jemez Mountains).
Non-profits and individuals have come forward with monetary donations (President Biden just released Wildfire Disaster federal funding), housing for evacuated people, and pastures and hay for livestock. Those who can afford to give have been very generous, but that means monies that flow on a more regular basis to other non-profit organizations may come up short.
As a board member of Cultural Energy’s KCEI 90.1 community radio station I’m only too aware of the need. Station director Robin Collier and Mike Tilley of Taos Currents interview all kinds of organizations and non-profits in Taos and other northern New Mexico communities to keep the public informed of the work they do, which tangentially affords the opportunity to elicit donations. During this now month-long raging fire the station has kept people informed on fire behavior, weather predictions, evacuations notices, and available resources.
Many, many voices are heard on KCEI: Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham on what the state and the feds need to do to prevent fires like the ones we’re dealing with in Mora and Las Vegas; Dr. Sylvia Rodriguez and Arroyo Hondo parciante Phaedra Greenwood on the impacts of Taos Ski Valley on the Rio Hondo and dependent communities; candidates for the Taos County Commission; J.R. Logan, the Taos County Wildland/Urban Interface director on forest restoration; Paula Garcia of the New Mexico Acequia Association and Pat Leahan of the Las Vegas Peace and Justice Center on the state legislature’s redistricting bill; David Barsamian of Alternative Radio; Taos Environmental Film Festival; U.S. Representative Teresa Leger Fernandez; the Los Alamos Study Group about pit production at Los Alamos National Laboratory; Coral Bernal and other artists and activists from Taos Pueblo; and many more. As editor of La Jicarita, I’ve covered many of these same issues and contributed my views on KCEI, particularly on the Abeyta/Taos Pueblo Adjudication and Settlement and forest restoration and stewardship projects.
In addition to these local voices KCEI is a member of the Pacifica Affiliate Network, an extensive association of progressive broadcasters who provide much more nuanced and comprehensive reporting on U.S. and world issues than NPR or other mainstream networks. Live streams and archives of the Pacifica network and local programming are also available on the KCEI website.
To do this work Cultural Energy depends entirely on listener donations. The station is truly a community radio station: we don’t accept corporate, government, or business underwriting. Robin Collier and other station volunteers contributed countless hours to get the station on the air in 2016 via the tower on San Antonio Mountain to serve northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. Robin continues to work tirelessly to extend the station’s range throughout New Mexico with a tower on Picuris Peak.
We’re all assessing our finances and juggling our donations, but if you can, become a member of KCEI by donating with the link on the Cultural Energy website, with Pay Pal, or mailing a check to Cultural Energy, 112 Civic Plaza Drive, Taos, NM 87571. Muchas gracias.
Addendum: For those who have time to volunteer to help with the evacuees from the Calf Fire who are staying at the Peñasco High School Gym, please call Melissa at 575 779-3057 or Annette at 770-9042.