NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Two former New Mexico Highlands University media arts students are designing educational pamphlets for local schools to use for a more hands-on method of learning. Lily Padilla and Natasha Vasquez are interns with the Manitos Community Memory Project, which works to create a virtual gathering space and establish community-based digital cultural heritage archives.

In 2020 when COVID-19 first hit the United States, Padilla and Vasquez were tasked with designing illustrations based on research on how Taos locals dealt with the Spanish Flu to show the similarities between what the state saw in 1918 versus 2020. “It was an interesting project to work on, learning about the Spanish Flu while COVID was happening,” Padilla said.

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The research was gathered and put together in cuadernos, or notebooks. It features archived lists of those who died in Taos County accounted by the local newspaper La Revista de Taos, and background information and collected stories about what residents were dealing with at that time. The pair had the chance to design the pamphlets using the knowledge and research they had on the 1918 epidemic.

Their next project focuses on food sovereignty in the state and looks back to see how food was historically gathered. The NMHU grads hope these booklets encourage students to search into their family’s history and archive what they can to preserve their histories.

Teachers can request box sets featuring the booklets, stickers, and a bookmark with prompts for reflection for free. Educators can fill out the Google request form to request box sets.