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Portraits in Color

Author: Dr. Frank Mirabal

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A unique look at race in America through the stories of artists, entrepreneurs, educators and culture creators. The series takes a provocative look at what it's really like to survive and thrive in a society that has been built without people of color in mind. Dr. Frank Mirabal’s experience as an artist, academic, political appointee, and cultural critic brings a unique aesthetic to the conversation.
44 Episodes
Dr. Frank recently had the opportunity to talk with three Latina leaders working in the Albuquerque area about their leadership journeys. Marisa Magallanez, Roberta Ricci , and Meriah Heredia Griego faced significant challenges and showed great resiliency in the face of racial and gender discrimination that has kept the doors of opportunity closed to many women, particularly women of color.  Learn about their stories and their commitment to opening doors for other women of color.
Soul Divine Uncovered

Soul Divine Uncovered


Soul Divine has been a staple of the Albuquerque music scene since 1997. In this episode, Dr. Frank and the members of Soul Divine share their history from the early days forming the group to opening up for the legendary James Brown. They also discuss their upcoming show "Uncovered", where they will be sharing their catalog of original music with their long-time supporters. The show on November 20, 2021 will also feature singer, songwriter Isaac Aragon and his band The Healing.Soul Divine Links:Facebook: @souldivineabqIG: @souldivineabqIsaac Aragon and The Healing Links:Facebook: @isaacaragon.77IG: @isaacaragonmusic
The Story of Downtown

The Story of Downtown


Downtown Albuquerque. Along historic Route 66 lies a community at the intersection of what once was, and what could be. Like most places, it has seen its ups and downs. A once in a generation pandemic, a struggling economy, and issues of crime and homelessness are issues downtown residents grapple with every day. Many businesses have boarded up, opting for more economically viable and safer parts of the city. But, I spoke to 5 area business owners who embody the fighting spirit of the city and are committed to making downtown a thriving area of town once again.Special Thanks to Lola Bird and Danielle Schlobohm from Downtown ABQ Mainstreet for supporting this episode! Featured Businesses/OrganizationsThe BrewTuerta Fusion Theatre CompanySanitary Tortilla Factory Cecilia's CafeCheck out the video version of this episode below:The Story of Downtown
Stop the Asian Hate

Stop the Asian Hate


The recent mass shooting in Atlanta remind us of the deep divides that exist in our country. Naturally, given what we know about the case, we have to ask the question: "were the shootings racially motivated." Dr. Frank explores this question and gives insight to why we can't ignore the history of racism against Asian Americans in this country, the hateful speech that flowed as a result of the coronavirus, and the racist tropes of Asian women in particular. This episode also sheds light on the inhumane treatment of children in detention facilities along the border as a result of failed U.S. immigration policy. Dr. Frank makes the case for comprehensive immigration reform and holds policy makers on both sides of the aisle to account for our nation's failed immigration policy. BONUS: At the end of this podcast, Dr. Frank shares an unreleased music track titled "The Border," which was written, produced, and performed by Frank "Kiko" Mirabal. The Border Credits:Written, produced and performed by Frank "Kiko" MirabalDrums, Keyboards, Bass & Vocals: Frank "Kiko" MirabalAdditional Vocals: Jak BaileyGuitar Solo: Exavier "Mr. Ex" ViramontezSpoken Word: Analisse Mirabal
The insurrection at the Capitol Building on January 6th will be forever etched in the minds of Americans.  On full display that day were White nationalists with their American and Trump 2020 flags,  showing their undying love for a president who promotes hate, while also proudly carrying signs with quotes from scripture. Jer Swigart, Co-Founder of the Global Immersion Project is a peacemaker and pastor who confronts the racist past of the evangelical church and seeks to build church leaders who embrace a deeper understanding of Christianity--one that acknowledges the wrongs of the past while building anti-racist church leaders for the future. In this episode, Dr. Frank and Jer dive deep into the intersections of White nationalism and the church,  discuss his work as a global peacemaker, and explore a conversation where church leaders lead a movement that is rooted in justice. 
What would schooling look like if the school had a symbiotic relationship with the community? What would student engagement look like if we actually asked the students themselves how they wanted to be involved in their school and school community? These are some of the big questions guiding The Reciprocity Project, which is a pilot project of Future Focused Education in Albuquerque, NM.In the wake of high-stakes testing, The Reciprocity Project seeks to engage voices outside of the education sector to reimagine what education should look like. This new vision pushes schooling outside of the traditional accountability framework where teaching to the test and school report cards became the norm.Tony Monfiletto, Moneka Stevens and Kateri Zuni from Future Focused Education discuss issues of institutional racism, new measures of student accountability and much more in this episode.  
The Vespa Diaries

The Vespa Diaries


You never fully appreciate life's simple pleasures until they are gone.  For Greg Webb, a world traveler that has visited over 60 countries, COVID-19 has grounded his travel for almost a year now.  As he will quickly acknowledge, travel restrictions are a necessary step towards getting a once in a lifetime pandemic under control. However, the itch to travel is at an all-time high.In this episode, Greg talks about his many travel adventures, including trips to Cuba, Serbia, and a hilarious story that involves Spain, Vespas, and super glue.  He also offers valuable tips for traveling the world on a limited budget. 
Finding Family Trees

Finding Family Trees


In May of 2018, Tess took a DNA test and submitted it to Ancestry. A sealed adoption at birth left her with no details of her birth parents. However, submitting her DNA test was more about learning her ethnicity than finding new family members. Lacey submitted her DNA to Ancestry in 2015 at the urging of her sister Amy, who is the family historian. Unlike Tess, she was not adopted and wanted to learn more about her family history. Little did they know their worlds would collide. Their DNA results would reveal deeply buried family secrets, unexpected branches to their family trees, and would provide answers that they were not necessarily seeking. Follow all of the interesting twists and turns of their story on the latest episode of Portraits in Color. If you would like assistance in finding family members through DNA, Amy McKane is here to help. Please contact her at Your Family History Mystery on Facebook. 
Baracutanga is a seven-piece band representing four countries: Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, and the United States. The band was born out of a mutual love for traditional South American music, and a now legendary jam session. Their music is a reflection of the times covering social justice issues, such as immigration and women’s rights. This episode was recorded using COVID safe practices at Studio 519 in Albuquerque, NM. It also features two, live studio performances from the band. Links to learn more about BarcutangaBand websiteFacebook pageLatest releases
Latino Decisions 2020

Latino Decisions 2020


In perfect 2020 fashion, this year’s presidential election has been filled with conspiracy theories, allegations of voter fraud, and unprecedented voter counts and recounts in battleground states. As we near the deadline for states to certify their results, one thing is clear: voter engagement during this election cycle--pandemic and all--was at an all time high. As the saying goes, victory has many mothers and fathers. There has been no shortage of groups that feel confident that they put the Biden-Harris ticket “over the top.” The Native American population, in particular the Navajo Nation came out big for the democratic ticket. Then there’s the Stacey Abram effect in getting out the African American vote in Georgia that delivered victory in a key swing state. Both of these narratives are true. So, what role did the Latino vote play in this election? To answer this question, Dr. Frank recently had the opportunity to catch up with Dr. Gabe Sanchez, Principal at Latino Decisions and Professor of Political Science at the University of New Mexico to discuss the nuance of the Latino electorate and its impact on the 2020 election.
Historians trace Lowrider culture back to the early 30’s and 40’s as an extension of pachuco culture.  If you’re unfamiliar with pachuco culture, check out Edward James Olmos in Zoot Suit.  Yes, he was in other movies beyond Stand and Deliver! Some historians trace its origins to the El Paso/Juarez region, while others say it originated in the barrios of East LA.  We’ll leave that debate to the Tejanos and the East Los crowd.  Post World War II, many ex-military men from the southwest migrated to Los Angeles to work in aircraft factories, bringing along their passion for customized rides.  By the 60’s, lowriders became identified with the Chicano movement, as these cars began to symbolize a proud cultural identity that still exists today. These cars are an artistic expression of familia, culture and religion.  They glow with brilliant colors, religious symbols, and wired rims. You might see the sparks fly from their bodies scraping the pavement as they creep down the street “low and slow” or hear the squeaks of the hydraulics as they bounce from side-to-side.  Lowrider culture has had significant influence in the worlds of music, fashion, and art.  Back in the 70’s, you could hear War’s Chicano Rock anthem Lowrider pulsating from car speakers on downtown streets from Burque to LA.  The marriage between car culture and music re-emerged in the 90’s with videos featuring South Central LA rappers Eazy E and Dr. Dre.  Remember the G-thang video?  Lowrider influenced fashion even made its way into mainstream pop music.  Do you remember Gwen Stefani rocking the chola look in her early No Doubt days?  Lowriders as an expression of mobile art can be found in prominent art galleries, in national museums like the Smithsonian, and adorning international avenues from Japan to Australia. Facebook groups highlighting Lowrider Culture have six-figure followings and towns, like Española, NM have branded themselves the Lowrider Capital of the World.   I think it’s safe to say, the culture has officially moved from the underground to the mainstream.Dr. Frank releasing had the opportunity to catch up with two OGs from Duke’s Car Club--Frank Chavez and Albert Muniz to learn more about lowrider culture and its worldwide appeal.
Only 1% of Fortune 500 companies have a Black CEO. Aside from the huge racial gaps in leadership positions, even getting a job for people of color can be a huge challenge. For example, studies have found that when Native Americans are similar to whites in terms of factors such as age, sex, education level, marital status, and state of residence, their odds of being employed are 31 percent lower than those of whites.Dr. Frank recently had the opportunity to speak with Kara Bobroff, Founder of the Native American Community Academy and NACA Inspired Schools Network, Josue Olivares, Executive Director of the Rio Grande Community Development Corporation, and Ken Carson, Owner of Nexus Brewery to explore issues of equity in the workplace and how they approach building institutions with equity at the center. 
Medical mask wearing has a long history that can be traced back as far as the 17th century. During the Flu Pandemic of 1918, cities around the world passed mandatory mask-wearing orders to help prevent spread and protect doctors and nurses from contagious patients. Historians suggest that Americans widely embraced mask wearing as an “emblem of public spiritedness and discipline.” Even our pop culture icons like Batman and the Lone Ranger were celebrated mask wearers…..OK, that’s a bit of a stretch, but you get the point.So, how did wearing a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic become so controversial? Ok, I think we know the reason for this too. So, maybe the better question is: what does the science tell us about wearing a mask? In this episode, Dr. Jennifer Phillips from the UNM School of Family and Community Medicine and Bridget Llanes from Bernalillo County Community Health Council join Dr. Frank to discuss the importance of wearing a mask, the types of masks that are most effective in preventing spread, how often you should clean your mask, and most importantly, what do scientists who study this have to say about wearing a mask to mitigate the spread of COVID-19?
It’s the inconvenient truth. Wealth in the United States has been accumulated through the ownership and exploitation of Black and Indigenous bodies and the outright theft of land. We are in the midst of a national reckoning with this past. A past that has celebrated oppressors by highlighting nobility, honor, and perseverance in statuesque form, while minimizing and even ignoring the unspeakable acts of violence committed at the hands of these “celebrated” individuals.Edgar Villanueva, author, activist, philanthropist, and change agent examines this past and offers a path forward in his book Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance. In this episode, Dr. Frank and Edgar discuss the history of colonization and how it has impacted concentrated wealth in this country, the extension of colonization practices in philanthropy, Edgar’s launch of the Decolonize Wealth Project and Fund, and how we can use “money as medicine” to heal divides in communities of color.
Disruption is the name of the game. When it comes to media, people of color represent a very small proportion of people in all facets of the industry from radio/TV personalities to people behind the camera. Dana Cortez, host of the nationally syndicated Dana Cortez Show is a trailblazer when it comes to disrupting the radio industry. She is one of the only Latina, syndicated radio hosts in a male dominated industry. Born in Big Spring, Texas, Dana was destined for a career in radio. Her “Nana” would often say, “you’re going to be an attorney or a radio personality, because you have an answer for everything!” Dana would begin her journey in media with her cousin, forming a childhood duo that would deliver “Nursery Rhyme News,” where they would record themselves reading nursery rhymes. Little did she know that later in her career she would still keep it in the family by hosting a radio show with her husband and best friend D.J. Automatic.   In this episode, Dr. Frank and Dana discuss their Latino/a roots, leadership and the responsibility to use media platforms for good, and Dana’s passion to keep moving the needle on women’s issues in America. 
According to the Urban Institute, the median wealth for a White family is $171,000. For a Black family, it’s $17,000. That’s a ten-fold difference in median wealth. As we know, home ownership is a key driver to building wealth. It’s part of the American dream. Recent data suggests that White families are almost 25% more likely to own a home than Black and Hispanic families. Economic Inequality is a really broad topic with a number historical factors, including colonization, slavery, redlining and tax policy. This episode focuses on two primary drivers of wealth: homeownership and entrepreneurship. Dr. Frank catches up with Carlos Contreras from Homewise, Alex Horton from International District Economic Development, and Queneesha Myers from Q’s Cakes and Sweets Boutique to talk discuss these important issues and how each of them is building a path towards economic justice. 
Some would say that the last two weeks have awakened the masses to the injustices Black Americans have been facing for centuries. The peaceful protests combined with the anger, rage, and frustration of the Black community is sparking a civil and human rights revolution unlike anything we have seen in recent decades.While the Black Lives Matter movement has grown internationally, decisions on policing, prosecution, and sentencing happen at the local level. Communities have the power to shape the narrative when it comes to racial justice through local activism and intentional actionism. Charles Ashley III, an Albuquerque-based entrepreneur and host of the podcast Ashy to Ashley, joins the show to talk about Black Lives Matter, the responsibility of community leaders to stand-up and demand change, silent protests that he and fellow business leader Michael Silva are organizing throughout Albuquerque, and the ongoing work ahead to ensure that the Black community is seen, heard, and most importantly, respected. 
In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, we are releasing the most deeply personal  episode of Portraits in Color yet. This episode is a candid conversation between a father and daughter about how mental illness impacts an entire family. Analisse, daughter of Portraits in Color host Dr. Frank Mirabal opens up about her every day challenges living with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). In her bravery, she decided that nothing was off limits. She openly discusses the deep scars from being bullied as a child, diagnoses and misdiagnoses, challenges with various forms of therapy and treatment, suicide attempts and the stigma associated with someone living with a mental health condition.Personality disorders are much more prevalent than you might think. One in ten adults has a personality disorder that interferes with their everyday life. Ninety-percent of people diagnosed with Personality Disorders have had some form of childhood trauma. If you or a loved one is suffering from BPD or any other mental health condition, you are not alone. Please seek help by contacting a local mental/behavioral health provider. You can also find the treatment resources you need at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website. If you or a loved one is considering harming yourself/themselves, please contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Help is available! 
Elias was a joker and a prankster. He loved getting a "rise" out of people by playing practical jokes. He had an intellectual curiosity that could be both a blessing and a curse. Like most kids, if he wasn’t being challenged in school, he could easily turn the classroom into his personal performance space. He definitely knew how to command a room.However, things dramatically changed for Elias the very first time he tried opioids. “He referred to the sensation he felt as ‘the affinity affect,’ says Steve Lucero, Elias’ father and long-time health care professional. “Once he experienced this sensation, his whole life revolved around his next high.”After an extended struggle that included multiple stints in treatment and recovery, Elias passed away at the age of 19 from opioid overdose. His story reveals the stigma associated with addiction and some of the major challenges with access to treatment services, at the time of his death, that could have potentially saved his life.In this episode, we share Elias’ story and talk about some of the challenges associated with accessing care, harm reduction as a treatment strategy, and addressing other social determinants of health in the treatment and recovery process. My guests include Steve Lucero, Christine Mintz, and Pelatia Trujillo from the Bernalillo County Community Health Council (BCCHC) and Anjali Taneja from Casa de Salud.If you live in the Albuquerque area and need help finding addiction treatment services, contact the Bernalillo County Community Health Council at or by phone at 505-246-1638.
We live in an age where artists are becoming adept at using all of the tools at their disposal to express themselves. Cloudface is no different. In fact, Cloudface has also been able to integrate B-Boy, Hip Hop, and dance culture with his native roots to create an interesting amalgam of visual, sonic, and rhythmic art.Coming from a family of artists and jewelers, Patrick Burnham aka Cloudface was delivered to us as an artist. To him, art is just as essential as air and water. It lives within him. In this episode, we discuss the struggles of artists during this unprecedented time of social distancing. We also talk about musical influences, live vs. studio art forms, and favorite art mediums for artists that like to explore their versatility. Be sure to check out Cloudface on Instagram at cloudface.xfrx and support his work by purchasing one of his many prints at
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