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Hunger Strike: Day One

Refugees in New Mexico are starving for equal access to American opportunities, says Nkazi Sinandile. She started a hunger strike today to bring awareness to the problems refugees in Albuquerque. “Enough is enough. There are no jobs and no assistance. All these people want is to do something for themselves," she says.

Sinandile is a refugee and immigrant community support coordinator, a volunteer English as a Second Language instructor and the director of Women’s Global Pathways New Mexico. She will be at the Singing Arrow Park near Central and Tramway every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. until her requests are met.

She is seeking: A space where refugee women and children can gather and train in vocational skills like sewing, weaving, and beading; a 15-seat van to transport women and children; 30 working sewing machines and gas vouchers.

Sinandile and her husband emigrated from South Africa more than 30 years ago. She graduated with a degree in nursing from the University of New Mexico and worked at the UNM Hospital as a nurse until 2004. Shortly after she left the hospital, she began assisting refugees in Albuquerque. She found discouraging conditions in programs designed to help, including meager funds for The Women's Self Help Program, which will benefit directly if her hunger strike is successful. "People are not really helping women," she said. " I see them getting discouraged because they aren't getting progress financially. There are no jobs. No jobs."

Donations can be made at the La Mesa Presbyterian Church (7401 Copper Ave. NE) 255-8095

Celebrity B.S.

C is Still For Cookie

Concerned “Sesame Street” fans! Do not believe the hype. Cookie Monster still loves his cookies—no matter how much the Big Fruit Industry and The Vegetable Board of America complain about his compulsive sweet tooth.

“He is not the veggie monster,” Gary Knell told the Alibi in an interview earlier today. Knell is the president and CEO of Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind the award-wining children’s staple.

Still, in order to promote healthier nutrition for children, “Sesame Street” producers have limited the Cookie Monster's consumption. Gone are the glorious cookie showers—like Cristal in a Dr. Dre video—during the C-Monster’s signature song, "C is For Cookie.”

“We are doing a lot of work on what we call Healthy Habits for Life, which focuses on simple messages like ‘ sometimes foods,’ " Knell said. "It's a tool to try to promote healthier eating. So a mom in Albuquerque can tell her kid, Look, even the Cookie Monster can't eat cookies all the time."

Now, the Cookie Monster can be seen on TV devouring plates full of kale and apples. To stay true to the his appeal, his profile on the website still lists his likes as, "Cookies, cookies, and more cookies."

“ ‘Saturday Night Live’ accused us of making him the pilates monster," Knell said.

His favorite muppet is Grover, he added. "He's kinda smart, and he drives everyone crazy. I model myself after him.”

So what have you? Who is your favorite muppet?

Check next week’s news section for more of this interview.