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Black Lives Matter has brought a global reckoning with history. This is why the Uluru Statement is so crucial – The Conversation AU

History has been brought to the forefront in 2020. We have witnessed not only a once-in-a-century pandemic, but also a global protest movement for racial justice following the death of a Black man, George Floyd.

Such protests have happened before, but not with this immediacy or level of intensity. The Black Lives Matter movement garnered support in at least 60 countries across all continents bar Antarctica.

Floyds death epitomised the power and violence of colonialism and slavery, reminding us their legacies are all too real.

And the Black Lives Matter movement has catalysed a reckoning with history. Activists have toppled celebratory statues of white slave owners and exploiters, and forced a global discussion of how we remember and repair histories of racial prejudice and colonialism.

For the Black poet Benjamin Zephaniah, this is not just about tearing down statues. It is about being honest.

The uprisings we see [] are happening because history is being ignored and ultimately, its all about history.

His view is that Black people will not be respected until their history is.

This reckoning with history has been palpable in Australia, too. The pandemic scuttled the costly re-enactment of Captain James Cooks voyage to the Pacific in 1770 to mark the 250th anniversary.

And as Black Lives Matter protests erupted in Australian cities, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia should not import them, that there was no equivalence here. He declared Australian history slavery-free.

Historians and commentators were quick to correct him. Not only had there been slavery in Australia, but Australia has a long history of police violence toward Indigenous people.

Read more: Explorer, navigator, coloniser: revisit Captain Cooks legacy with the click of a mouse

We share a history of Black resistance to white oppression, too. A century ago, Indigenous activists joined a Black nationalist movement around the globe fighting for racial equality and self-determination in the context of police brutality, powerlessness and racism. That protest never ended.

Floyds well-publicised death amplified the systemic racism Indigenous people face every day, particularly in the justice system.

The family of David Dungay Jr, a Dunghutti man who died in jail in 2015, have been fighting over years for justice. The Black Lives Matter movement shone a light on his death, as well as the more than 430 other Indigenous deaths in custody since a royal commission on the issue delivered its report in 1991.

It is little wonder that, as we leave 2020, Indigenous leaders speak of changing the narrative of the nation and remind us of the gift of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, now over three years old.

The statement made First Nations sovereignty the foundation for a fuller understanding and expression of Australian nationhood. And history was critical to its formulation. Truth-telling preceded the call for reform at the First Nations National Constitutional Convention in 2017 and was placed on the agenda by the participants themselves.

This should not be surprising. Stories have always shaped relationships in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. They speak to connections between language, culture and land, influence behaviour and serve as a roadmap for living.

This is why story is at the centre of the Uluru Statement. As Galarrwuy Yunupingu argues in his essay Rom Watangu, which was submitted with the Referendum Councils final report on the deliberations at Uluru, storytelling and songlines are the bedrock of Aboriginal law, sovereignty and identity.

It is through the song cycles that we acknowledge our allegiance to the land, to our laws, to our life, to our ancestors and to each other.

The Uluru Statement is meaningless outside this context.

Read more: The Uluru statement showed how to give First Nations people a real voice now it's time for action

The Uluru Statement consists of three parts: the central frame of the statement, the history it contains, and the surrounding artwork.

Created by a senior Anangu representative, Rene Kulitja, the artwork depicts two creation stories of the Anangu, traditional custodians of Uluru.

The first is of two snakes, Kuniya, a female python, and Liru, a poisonous snake, who create the landscape of Uluru in the context of a fight at Mutijula spring.

The second is of the Mala people, represented by the prints of the rufous-hare wallabies. They were holding a ceremony on top of Uluru and became involved in an altercation with men from the west. Those men created Kurpany, the Devil Dingo, whose prints are also on the canvas.

The Referendum Councils final report synthesised the Australian nationhood story in three parts, all characterised by ancestral journeys:

the discovery of the continent by ancient tribes who established one of the worlds oldest and most enduring civilisations

the establishment of the colony of New South Wales by the British in 1788

and the migrants who have journeyed across the seas since then to make the continent home.

The task for us is to understand and weave all sides of the story together, including the spectacular achievements of Indigenous peoples and, as the report describes it, the post-colonial years

replete with triumph and failure, pride and regret, celebration and sorrow, greatness and shame.

At a time when history is so contested, part of the gift of the statement is that it allows us to rethink historys purpose.

The Indigenous participants at Uluru understood what the British historian, EH Carr, did. History, he said, is not about facts alone.

The facts [] are like fish on the fishmongers slab. The historian collects them, takes them home and cooks and serves them.

Rather, history is about interpretation, negotiation, subjectivity and complexity. It is a dialogue between past, present and future, acknowledging contested versions of the past which are ongoing, stories that are told and retold.

It is impossible to imagine the Uluru Statement without the artwork the story that frames it. Its composition suggests that Kuniya and Liru bring the statement into being, as a new truth not replacing, but reimagining the old.

Read more: Instead of demonising Black Lives Matter protesters, leaders must act on their calls for racial justice

But truth-telling is not just about recounting history alone. It is about acknowledging The Law that was violated by dispossession but endured. Yunipingu reminds us that history and law are the foundation for social and cultural responsibility and governance.

The generosity of First Nations people is their willingness to share their stories. Those of Kuniya and Liru are powerful reminders that in writing our history, we create the landscapes we share and leave inscriptions of the past for the future.

The Uluru Statement provides an opportunity to bind law, history and politics anew. Situating Indigenous sovereignty as the basis of a fuller expression of nationhood is about recognising the myriad songlines of Australian history. Acknowledging this truth enables others.

Indigenous people have been gifting non-Indigenous society for a very long time. There is a political vision in such acts of rapproachment: a new relationship that recognises Indigenous sovereignty as the basis of redefining and retelling the stories of the nation.

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Black Lives Matter has brought a global reckoning with history. This is why the Uluru Statement is so crucial - The Conversation AU

A summer of solidarity: Looking back on the Black Lives Matter marches in Japan – The Japan Times

Osaka This year will most certainly be remembered for the coronavirus pandemic, which began notably spreading around the world from February, wreaking havoc on economies, industries and, most importantly, people.

Amid the tumult, at the end of May, came a video from Minneapolis that would send shockwaves of its own around the world. The video depicted the attempted arrest and subsequent murder of George Floyd, a Black man who was accused of passing a $20 counterfeit note, after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.

The video spread to populations that were sequestered indoors due to the pandemic and, in reaction to the injustice, protests followed. In Japan, this resulted in several marches that aimed to bring the issue of racial discrimination to people in this country, leading to the establishment of Black Lives Matter (BLM) movements in several cities.

The Japan Times takes a look back on the movement with some of the organizers, and speculates on how a brush with activism could unfold here in the decade to come.

Though support came from various quarters of Japanese society, these six individuals are among those who devoted a good chunk of their time to organizing and mobilizing their peers to show support for Black people in the United States and Japan, as well as biracial Japanese citizens and members of other minority groups.

For the future: A young girl holds up a sign at Black Lives Matter solidarity march near Yoyogi Park in Tokyo on June 14. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI

Rino Fujimoto, 19, is the founder of bilingual Instagram account hanasou.jp, which introduces BLM and other progressive issues in Japanese and English. She is currently living in Houston.

Michele Keane, 34, is a Jamaican-born artist who recently graduated from Kyoto University of Art & Design. Her stop-motion short film, Tamrind, is a commentary on diversity.

Athena Lisane, 31, was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, and is an organizer for BLM Fukuoka. She has lived in Japan for seven years.

Paul Richardson, 46, is a musician who goes by the stage name Paulie Rhyme, an educator and a father, based in Aichi Prefecture.

Jaime Smith, 25, was born in Maryland and is the vice chairperson of BLM Tokyo. She has lived in Japan for nearly four years.

Ayana Wyse, 34, was born in New York and is an organizer for BLM Kansai, as well as the founder of the Black Creatives Japan collective. She has lived in Japan for more than nine years.

The moment when a person moves from the passive taking in of information to active attempts at support differs for everyone. We asked our six interviewees what that moment was for them.

Michele: Im not sure if there was one particular moment. When I first learned of the sheer number of police shootings happening in the U.S., I was in my final year of university and they partially influenced me in making my film. When I heard about the BLM Kansai march, I knew I had to go.

Rino: The initial reason I began making my own BLM posts on Instagram was because of the lack of coverage and information that Japanese speakers had access to. This isnt just an American fight. I believe the disconnect Japanese people have with the movement is a result of ignorance, miseducation and anti-Blackness within our own community. I hope to provide more accurate translations and information, as well as discussion and application in the long run.

Paul: Seeing that there were two marches in Tokyo, I thought that there should also be some sort of event or march in Nagoya. I felt like not having one in Nagoya would be doing a disservice to the area.

Jaime: I was planning on joining the smaller solidarity march initially being planned by Sierra Todd in Tokyo after the murder of George Floyd. When it became apparent that it was going to become bigger, I accepted her offer to lead a volunteer graphic design team to create material leading up to the march.

Ayana: After years of watching the movement on the internet it was during the beginning of the pandemic that when I began to pay even more attention. The marches and the protests this past summer got bigger and more international. Once I saw a couple of friends online make a poll asking if people would want to have a march in Osaka, that is when I decided to step up and be more involved with spreading awareness in Japan.

Athena: I always had the desire to be a part of the BLM movement, but Id already moved to Japan maybe six months after it was established. Id participated on a much smaller scale in other socio-political marches, but this was the first time I did anything on such a grand scale, let alone being a figurehead of said demonstration.

Specific to BLM Fukuoka I grew increasingly restless and began looking for opportunities to march in my area but there were none. By the time I couldnt stand to wait anymore, Id seen that Tokyo and Osaka had made their moves and it was time Fukuoka made its move, too. And since no one else was willing, I stepped up. I knew I was capable. God gave me two good legs and thus I must walk.

Speaking up: The Black Lives Matter marches in Tokyo resulted in high turnout, as did rallies held in other major cities in the country. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI

After BLM organizations sprung up and organized several successful and peaceful marches in cities across Japan, have those actions led to any change in perception among the public here in Japan?

Ayana: People are becoming more aware but to me it is a tiny circle of Japanese people who truly understand it. Im happy to see that news outlets here wanted to broadcast our marches. So I hope we can continue to positively influence change, but it is difficult since we are foreigners. The Japanese nationals are the ones who really need to open their eyes and want it.

Athena: At this point, I dont feel theres any visible change. However, it didnt exist at all before, so its progress. I think it sent a chill down the spine of Japan. Seeing that America has a sordid and repetitive history of racism, marginalization and outright violent response to Black and Brown bodies was an affront of sorts to Japan, forcing them to have a small amount of introspection.

Paul: I believe that the marches brought like-minded people together and sparked some much-needed dialogue between the various foreign and Japanese groups. I also felt like underlying issues of how other minority groups (especially mixed-race Japanese people) and refugees are treated here gained more traction.

Jaime: There has been a change in that a conversation that was barely being had in Japan has become mainstream. BLM Tokyo and other grassroots organizations have held bilingual talks and webinars that have been attended by many. Naomi Osakas U.S. Open masks were constant news. NHK created segments about Black Lives Matter and the experience of Japanese-Black youth in Japan. Nike recently came out with a commercial not only about Black discrimination, but discrimination and bullying in Japan in general.

Michele: I dont really know how big the change is on the ground but there are little things that have happened that suggest something is changing albeit very slowly. For instance, the new Miss Japan being half black and the runners up also being mixed is something I never saw coming at all (not that I keep up with beauty pageants). Also the inclusivity that is slowly increasing in media makes me smile on the inside. I dont know if that has anything to do with what people have done or said here but I sure hope it has!

Also Id like to think people are becoming more aware of the fact that they dont exist in a bubble

Rino: The rise of international coverage of the BLM movement has facilitated conversation about racial topics, even in Japan where there might not be as much open exposure to racial division. I hope the momentum that the movement has gained will continue on as we approach a new year.

The United States held a presidential election in November and on Dec. 14 it was officially acknowledged that Joe Biden will become the new president in 2021. Do our interviewees believe that things will change under a Democratic administration?

Michele: I couldnt watch the debates, personally. As bad as this may sound, it felt farcical. But I was hoping for anything but Donald Trump partially because of how divided hes made the U.S. and partially because of the danger he poses to the rest of the world environmentally, especially as it relates to small island countries like my own.

Im not sure really if there will be any change. I dont particularly trust politicians and honestly we can only wait and see. I do think its quite amazing that the vice president-elect (Kamala Harris) is a Black woman. That is a huge first, and I love that.

Rino: Bidens victory in the U.S. was a celebratory event for many. Trumps presidency represented someone that should have never been given authority. That said, Bidens presidency wont be the solution that will fix everything. This election has further highlighted the ills of the lesser of two evils in politics and the corruption of both the Republican and Democratic parties.

Athena: There is no reason that the margin should have been as small as it was. For that reason, I believe very little will change. Just like (Barack) Obama, Biden is a centrist Democrat. Middling politics have won Democrats nothing in the fight for a more socially conscious government, but its almost always what Democrats choose as the candidate of choice.

Ayana: Joe Biden may have done good things in the past, but he seems to miss a lot of what the younger generation wants and needs. I can only hope he doesnt cause more damage. As for U.S. citizens, we need to weed out the politicians who have no intentions of improving the livelihood of the people. The president is not the only one to make change.

Get the message: The march in Tokyo on June 6 wound through bustling Shibuya Ward. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI

Where do we go from here? Its a question most organizers ask of themselves after their first big achievements. At a time when the world is engulfed in uncertainty, what do our six interviewees think people should do next?

Paul: Well, my plan is to live in Japan for the long term, so I would love to see it be more open and welcoming to long-term residents. I would love to see more people having opportunities to open up businesses and create community in a way that encourages more people from all walks of life to come here and stay.

A city or towns that are welcoming to helping foreigners get established, own property, start businesses in Japan that would be the dream.

Michele: I am hoping to see more tolerance of others as a society. And on an individual basis I just want people to stop being awful to each other, especially on the internet. I try to be the best me I can be. Maybe we should all just listen to a whole lot of Bob Marley as well, I advocate that.

Rino: The fight is not over and it wont be over any time soon. I believe the best we can do is to continue the movement and not let it become a thing of the past. That means still showing up at protests, donating, sharing and, most importantly, constantly educating yourself. For Americans, dont be satisfied by Bidens win. Your allyship doesnt stop at voting. For Japanese people, it not only means supporting BLM overseas but also applying it to Japan. Japan has a long way to go, especially when it comes to combating racism and xenophobia.

Jaime: Its hard to say what the next steps are for people around the world because it is vast and diverse with different issues depending on where you are. I think people will have to become comfortable with facing some discomfort. If your response to someone pointing out bullying, discrimination or racism is, This makes us look bad. Other countries have these problems too. Why would you talk about this? Then, youre missing the point.

Athena: For every nation, seeing whats considered the ultimate mixture of different creeds, races, religions, etc., fail so spectacularly should make them immediately think about how this applies to them at home. What darkness lurks in the annals of your countrys history? What people are consistently oppressed where youre from? Do you do anything to alleviate that pressure? Are you a part of that discriminatory system?

For the Japanese, its addressing their treatment toward the Ainu, the Burakumin and the now third-generation Koreans living in Japan due to displacement and kidnapping during World War II. Japan is quick to say theres no discrimination in Japan, but Japanese people often fail to empathize beyond their own personal experiences. Stop worrying about what the man to your left and the woman to your right are doing; act for yourself so that you dont present a lie to the world or yourself. If you know something is wrong, say something. If you have the power to help, do it. If you can end an unjust attack, stop it.

Ayana: There needs to be a revolution of some sort. I dont know how but Id like to see some radical change for the better. I just want to see more empathy, compassion for others and programs to help people live in this world happily. There should be equity. There should be enough food for all. There should be shelter. We are all humans. I dont understand why some need to make others suffer.

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A summer of solidarity: Looking back on the Black Lives Matter marches in Japan - The Japan Times

New WA Black Lives Matter Alliance agenda aims for ‘liberation’ – KUOW News and Information

A statewide coalition is calling on lawmakers to address racism as a public health crisis in Washington state.

Members of the Washington Black Lives Matter Alliance say their legislative agenda is the next pressing step after this summers protests for racial justice.

The new alliance is a non-partisan coalition linked to Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County, but with steering committee members in the Tri-Cities area, Ellensburg, and Spokane as well.

It calls for celebrating Black culture, promoting economic freedom, and prioritizing the physical and mental health and safety of Black people. Also, honoring treaties because Indigenous sovereignty and Black liberation are intertwined.

Steering committee member Andrea Caupain Sanderson is also the CEO of Byrd Barr Place, a social service nonprofit in Seattles Central District. She said the Alliance established its priorities around enhancing the health, wealth, and well-being of Black people and communities through ongoing Zoom calls this fall.

We are creating a vision of a Washington state that we need by working cooperatively, she said. It made sense for us to consolidate and build this unified agenda that spoke to the range of experiences of Black folks across our state.

Caupain Sanderson said shes undaunted by legislators warnings that the upcoming session beginning Jan. 11, 2021 will pass fewer bills than normal since it will be held remotely.

Never you mind how many bills or how little bills get passed we want to upend how that process works, she said, by helping their supporters become civically engaged.

She said those people have stories of resiliency to tell lawmakers.

We are doing this by us and for us, she said We know theres a reckoning that needs to happen, and were talking across all 39 counties in Washington state.

For her part, Caupain Sanderson said shell be most focused on increasing food access and rental assistance to people at or below the poverty line in the wake of the pandemic. She said Byrd Barr Place is seeing lots of new clients as people seek help after job losses and other impacts of the pandemic.

We were seeing, before the pandemic, 500 households per week in our food bank. Now were seeing 800 per week and were projecting that to go up to 1,100 by February.

She said 42% of their clients are Black.

HyeEun Park is a senior policy analyst with the Alliance. She said its not clear how many items on their agenda will translate into legislation in the next session. But she said members of the Senate Law and Justice Committee have signaled their interest around proposals related to the court system.

Weve had really good conversation with many different legislators, Park said. We are cautiously hopeful, given the restraints on the session and logistics of carrying out an all-remote session.

She said that while traditional in-person days for advocacy on specific issues in Olympia will be replaced with calls to action via social media, the Alliance will help Black people from around the state talk about their lived experience in advocating for these priorities.

We really are hoping to galvanize," Park said. "To take that energy we saw over the summer with people out on the streets shouting, demanding for change.

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New WA Black Lives Matter Alliance agenda aims for 'liberation' - KUOW News and Information

Black Lives Matter 757 organizing toy drive and distribution – WAVY.com

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) This holiday season, a local organization more known for its activism is making sure kids have gifts under the tree.

The president of Black Lives Matter 757 says they really want to do something positive for the community this year. The organizations members acknowledge that 2020 has been a crazy year, so a toy drive and distribution is a way they can give back to the community and spread some holiday cheer.

Just delivering a smile now because, like I said, 2020 was rough, said Japharii Jones, president of Black Lives Matter 757. We just want people to smile, we want to bring something positive back to the 757.

To deliver those smiles, the organization is playing Santa and is collecting toys for kids who may not have a lot under the tree.

Its very crucial that we fulfill that need, Jones said.

Over the weekend, the group set up inside of the Patrick Henry Mall in Newport News. Jones says they collected toys and spoke with people walking by.

If people do have issues, we want them to feel comfortable contacting us and letting us know and we will do whatever is in our power to solve it in some way, shape, or form, said Jones.

Also, its not just about political activism, they want to show that they care.

Were more than protesters, you know, we are trying to build a community, Jones said.

That shared spirit is another reason they are collecting toys.

It just brings joy to kids and at this point, we really feel that like that should be the main focus: the children, said Jones.

They plan to collect gifts at area businesses throughout the week, and then drive them into specific neighborhoods early next week.

The areas hardest hit by gun violence and the type of misfortune that seems to be ignored, Jones said of where they will take the gifts.

Also, BLM 757 doesnt want distance or a lack of transportation to stop any child from getting a gift.

We feel its more important for us to take it directly to the neighborhood because some people dont have transportation, some people just cant get there, some people hear about it late, said Jones. So we want to make sure the people that need it are getting it.

You can find more information on their website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

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Black Lives Matter 757 organizing toy drive and distribution - WAVY.com

Black Lives Matter Protests Spur Creation of Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice – Rutgers Today

A $15 million Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant funds work led by executive director Michelle Stephens

Michelle Stephens believes that society needs to redefine what it means to be human to finally begin to dismantle racism and enact policies that correct long-standing inequities.

That is the challenge she is ready to take on as the founding executive director of the new Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice at Rutgers.

It all comes back to how we are thinking about ourselves and others. The need to redefine the concept of being human and movetoward global racial justice begins by understanding and addressing the ways we resist recognizing people who live under different circumstances than our own, said Stephens, a professor of English and Latino and Caribbean studies in the School of Arts and Sciencesat Rutgers University-New Brunswick. The problems we are facing today from impoverishment to COVID-19 require a different way of thinking.

Stephens is steering the work of the new institute, funded through a $15 millionfive-year grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, that will bring together scholars from across the university to use humanistic theories, methods and approaches to study global issues of race and social justice.

It will be a space, she said, where faculty can work to evaluate the past in order to address the embedded issues of the present and determine how we can create a more racially just future.

The hope here is that by drawing upon expertise across all fields of the humanities, from law to language, from philosophy to history and gender studies, the institute will stand at the forefront in helping to inform policies to confront and address global inequity, injustice, racism and intolerance, said Stephens, the former dean of humanities at Rutgers-New Brunswick. It will also be accomplished through artistic and cultural endeavors that encourage imaginative solutions for influencing public opinion and inspiring cultural transformations.

Stephens, who migrated to the United States at 18 from Jamaica, West Indies, to attend college, received her doctoral degree in American studies from Yale University where she first met Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway. At the time he was a few years ahead of her earning his doctoral degree in history.

The author of several books on race and how it is culturally portrayed and a licensed psychoanalyst, Stephens teaches courses in African American, American, Caribbean and Black Diaspora literature and culture.

She has been at Rutgers since 2011. During her tenure as dean of humanities, Stephens saw that there were a number of scholars researching and working in global Black thought studying the racism and discrimination that dehumanize Black and brown peoples around the world, depriving them of their dignity, security and even their lives. But they were doing the work on their own in their individual silos.

Then came the killing of George Floyd in May, followed by the Black Lives Matter protests that continued into the fall in the United States and throughout the world. The events highlighted the need to bring together the work of these scholars to address the systemic issues that led to this moment of racial reckoning, Stephens said.

While Stephens had lived through the killings of Black men and women by police before, this past summer she was forced to view the racially motivated violence through the eyes of her 18-year-old daughter, a first-year student at Rutgers University-Newark.

Stephens worried about how her daughter, who took up the BLM mantel and participated in the protests, would feel proud, ashamed or scared about what it means to be Black, in this place and at this time. Stephens wanted her daughter to feel empowered, not helpless.

If for no one else, I feel an urgency to show her that thinkers and writers and scholars can also be activists whose values and commitments can do real work in the world in influencing how others think, and what they feel compelled to do, for racial justice, said Stephens, who credits Holloway for making the institute a reality.

Stephens reached out to Holloway when she learned he had information about the Mellon Foundation grant. I knew there was a wealth of scholars at Rutgers working in the area of racial and social justice, and that similar work was being done by scholars and thought leaders at Camden and Newark, Stephens said. I wrote a proposal that he really liked and thought that we should move forward.

With seed money in hand, Stephens and a team of Rutgers scholars will begin surveying the work that is being done across all university campuses, and build an infrastructure where scholars can interact with the public on important issues ranging from K-12 education, social justice, policy reform, public health and criminal justice.

The institute and its leadership team overseen by the universitys executive vice president for academic affairs, Prabhas Moghe will support the recruitment, retention and mentorship of faculty at all Rutgers campuses and create a diverse and inclusive postdoctoral fellowship program of early career academics in the fields of social and racial justice studies.

While racist ideologies will provide a strong starting point for the new institute, other discriminatory practices based on social class, caste, gender, sexuality, religion, ability and language that occur andlead to segregation and disenfranchisementwill also be studied.

We will encourage the study of the geographic and historic links between the global and the racial, with the aim of intervening in national and local conversations about racial justice, said Stephens. This is not simply a black-white thing.' Racialist thinking crosses national lines, links with other modes of oppression and injustice, infuses almost all of our social institutions, and most disturbingly, forces us to question the notion of humanity our societies are actually defined by that could authorize such acts of violence and hatred without cause against a human being defined as other.

Originally posted here:

Black Lives Matter Protests Spur Creation of Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice - Rutgers Today

Asking the Clergy: Black Lives Matter movement and Kwanzaa – Newsday

Kwanzaa, the African-American history and cultural festival celebrated from the day after Christmas through Jan. 1, originated during the late 1960s Civil Rights era, and it once again will be observed at the close of a year marked by demonstrations against the oppression of Black Americans. This weeks clergy discuss how the Black Lives Matter movement will both inform and enrich Kwanzaas message, as Long Islanders of diverse creeds, racial and ethnic backgrounds follow its traditions while sheltering at home.

The Rev. Natalie M. Fenimore

Minister of Lifespan Religious Education, The Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock

In these cold, dark winter nights our traditions call us to come together for warmth, comfort and community. Our faith is strengthened as we realize that we are not alone. While Hanukkah and Christmas are religious celebrations, they include distinct cultural traditions. Kwanzaa is not religious but a celebration of African American culture. As a home-based cultural practice, pluralist and accessible to Black people of all faiths, Kwanzaa is welcome in these times of sheltering at home.

Kwanzaa was conceived and developed during the Civil Rights and Black Power movements of the 1960s and is now celebrated alongside the Black Lives Matter movement. The Black Lives Matter movement can bring new focus for those practicing Kwanzaa. During this time when Black people are being killed and these deaths mourned and protested, Kwanzaa can give spiritual grounding and provide quiet reflection. Kwanzaa rituals can build a healing space for those experiencing racial trauma. Resilience and strength can be gained by celebrating Black survival and creativity. Kwanzaa is a ritual expression that Black lives matter.

The Rev. Henrietta Scott Fullard

Presiding elder (retired), Long Island District, African Methodist Episcopal Churches

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Kwanzaa has always been a reminder that African Americans can still celebrate our heritage and traditions even in the midst of struggles and hardship, trials and injustice. Racism has led to a lack of employment opportunities, unequal educational resources and many other manifestations of hatred imposed on the lives of Black Americans.

Celebrating Kwanzaa, beginning the day after Christmas, reminds us that Christ himself was born during times of oppression and vexation of Gods children. Kwanzaa reminds African Americans who we are as a people, that we are descended from a great African civilization, and that in spite of the trials that we go through, we can still feel a spirit of oneness, kindness and true fellowship.

Our ancestors struggled as slaves and then as sharecroppers and were prevented from enjoying all of Americas freedoms. Kwanzaa gives us the confidence to express our feelings about those injustices as it unites our spirits and our hearts. As the Black Lives Matter movement helps us to move forward in our goal of confronting and ending racial injustice, Kwanzaa offers a moment to stop and celebrate ourselves, our vision and our dreams for the future.

The Rev. William F. Brisotti

Pastor emeritus, Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Roman Catholic Church, Wyandanch

Kwanzaa is a holiday born of the experiences of people of African ancestry in the United States of America, but the observance has a message of solidarity for everyone. It is an annual "rebooting" and reconnection with purpose, which we all need right now.

Black Lives Matter arose amid the specific challenges of injustice faced by Black people in the United States, but it helps us come closer to understanding the meaning of the words, "All men are created equal," in our Declaration of Independence, beyond the limited perceptions of race and gender of our nations founders.

We all need Kwanzaa, which proclaims the dignity of every human, based in the seven principles of Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity and Faith. Its a celebration of family, community and culture, helping us appreciate our own and others families, communities and cultures. It celebrates true human solidarity. We must learn that whatever is not good for all, is not really good for any exclusive designation of "us."

Kwanzaa facilitates communication of vision, common interest and collaboration, smoothing the hurtful cutting edges between unnecessarily polarized camps in favor of the common good.

DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS youd like Newsday to ask the clergy? Email them to LILife@newsday.com.

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Asking the Clergy: Black Lives Matter movement and Kwanzaa - Newsday

Black Lives Matter Backlash: The NYPD’s War on Protesters Intensifies – The Indypendent

Read This is how You Stymie a Movement for a catalog of recent protest arrests made with excessive force.

On the evening of September 17, a group of 60 immigrant rights protesters left Foley Square in lower Manhattan heading toward the 9/11 Memorial. They were trailed closely by 50-60 police officers including 11 white shirts lieutenants, captains and inspectors who were ready to rumble.

When the protesters turned onto Broadway, they were chased down and tackled in the street by the police within 10 minutes of having set out. Shortly after, protesters were kettled in front of the 9/11 memorial, where additional police units showed up: 50 additional riot cops, bike cops, plain-clothed officers, detectives and a helicopter.

Tameer Peak, a Black Lives Matter organizer, was filming live on Instagram when the cops pulled him from the sidewalk into the street. He soon found himself face down on Broadway with a half dozen police officers piling on top of him as they put him under arrest.

They kept trying to rip my fucking arm off, Peak recalled. One put his fucking foot in my back. Its ridiculous to even think that you cant walk on the sidewalk and record them.

Following the videotaped murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in late May, massive Black Lives Matter protests erupted across New York City. They continued a near daily basis over the next month. The NYPD was frequently overwhelmed and, like many other embattled police departments across the country, responded to protests against police violence with more violence shoving peaceful protesters to the ground, clubbing them with batons, driving police SUVs into crowds, kettling protesters and then arresting them en masse even when they tried to comply with police orders.

Here in New York, large Black Lives Matter protests subsided by the end of June. At about the same time City Council approved an annual budget that pretended to cut $1 billion from the annual police budget while doing no such thing. The media spotlight moved on.

Since then, protests for racial justice and other progressive causes have still been taking place in the City, usually multiple days of every week. But they are much smaller, averaging 50-200 participants, and present little to no threat to public safety. Yet, over the past four months, an Indypendent investigation has found that on at least 18 occasions peaceful protesters have been violently attacked and/or arrested by police (See sidebar). These crackdowns receive fleeting coverage at most and are invariably treated as one-off incidents not as a part of an ongoing pattern of police repression.

These smaller protests are valuable for movements because they help build confidence and cohesion within and between groups and help prepare the soil from which larger protests and widespread grassroots organizing will spring in the future. When they are violently driven from the streets and participants are deterred from joining in future protests, the whole point of having a First Amendment right to protest is short-circuited.

While the September 17 incident is emblematic of the violence the NYPD has directed at protesters, they have other ways to intimidate and disrupt. On a number of occasions, an overwhelming number of cops have shown up at even the smallest of protests and made them look more like crime scenes than the sight of First Amendment-protected dissent.

This is the new status quo, a NYPD community affairs officer told The Indypendent when 25 cops including a white-shirted commander engulfed a peaceful Nov. 13 sidewalk protest by 20 32BJ SEIU union members outside the downtown Brooklyn office of City Councilmember Stephen Levin.

The protesters, who are security workers at privately-run homeless shelters, were demanding that Levin co-sponsor bills that would bring their wages and benefits into line with what security workers receive who are under direct contract with the City.

A 2007 parade ordinance enacted in response to the Critical Mass bicycle protests makes it illegal for protesters to march in the street without a permit. But kettling protesters, telling them to clear the roadway but not giving them a chance to leave before arresting them, and using excessive force to make arrests is also illegal.

If youve already been kettled, the legality of your arrest is in question. If you cant actually leave, then youre not free to leave. There is a problem once people arent free to leave, explains Gideon Oliver, a lawyer who has been defending protesters First Amendment rights in New York City since the 2004 RNC protests.

There is also a rule, CPL 150.20, enacted in January, that mandates police issue summonses and desk appearance tickets at or near the site of the offense, not by bringing the offender to a precinct. The NYPD insists that the chaotic nature of protests necessitates a temporary detention before they issue the summons appearance tickets.

The Police Department takes protest arrestees through this large-scale arrest process that only happens for protesters, Oliver said. Weve sued them over the years arguing that adding this extra time in custody, prosecutions, etc. are all taxes on First Amendment activities, the purpose of which is to really scare people away from doing it again. Which it frequently does.

Protesters are also being surveilled, particularly those who identify as abolitionists. They target us. Its definitely a pinpoint to have the FBI come to my house, said Peak. I was at Washington Square Park one day and an officer came up to me and called me by full name. Why are you so giddy that you know my name? Thats scary.

In June, an anti-police brutality protest in Mott Haven, Bronx was strategically kettled. The Human Rights Watch wrote a report titled New York Police Planned Assault on Bronx Protesters. FTP/Decolonize This Place, the organizers, have been some of the most outspoken critics of the NYPD since before the current incarnation of the Black Lives Matter movement.

In 2019, they organized turnstile hopping protests at MTA stations after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he would hire 500 new subway cops in a crack-down on fare evasion.

What happened in Mott Haven is an example of preemptive policing, Oliver told The Indypendent. The police department really seems to have chosen the kettling and other violent tactics used based on the message and based on the organizers. Based on their perceptions about the participants. Not based on a real public safety threat or other factors that might justify more heavy-handed police response.

Policing, Oliver observed, is more violent, more heavy-handed, more repressive when it comes to groups that say fuck the police or have abolitionist messages.

Mayor de Bill Blasio and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea defended the show of force in Mott Haven by alleging that a firearm was discovered in relation to the protest. According to Jennvine Wong, a lawyer with the Legal Aid Society who is defending protesters in Payne et al. v de Blasio, a case that sues the City for its handling of the George Floyd protests, the gun was not related to the march. It sounds like a cover-up, she told The Indy. And from my understanding, it came out later on that that gun was actually recovered hours before and not even near the march.

So why is the NYPD able to get away with such an overbearing response? Alex Vitale, Brooklyn College sociology professor and author of The End of Policing, says Mayor de Blasio has decided the defund the police movement doesnt merit being taken seriously.

Instead of involving them in a legitimate political process, hes turned the problem over to the police, Vitale said.

Three of the citys five police unions endorsed Donald Trumps re-election while more than 70 percent of New Yorkers voted to cancel Trumps presidency. Given that and how the police respond to those who question their authority, its not unreasonable to think of the NYPD as a highly armed group of counter-protesters.

They feel like we hate them specifically on an individual level when thats not the case, we just hate what they represent, said Peak, who was the housing coordinator at Abolition Park, a nearly month-long protest encampment on the sidewalk outside City Hall this summer that drew hundreds of participants.

Not all protesters have been treated badly by the NYPD. Over the summer and fall, there have been various Back the Blue and pro-Trump protests, all of which have been attended by Black Lives Matter counter-protesters.

During one instance at Times Square on October 25, the NYPD urged members of a pro-Trump caravan to leave the premises after a scuffle broke out and then proceeded to arrest their leftist counterparts.

On October 13, Peak was beaten up by a group of pro-Trump protesters who had just unveiled the worlds largest known Trump flag. When he started to defend himself, the NYPD intervened only to arrest him. He was held in jail for 26 hours before being released without a charge.

Have you ever spent time in central booking for 26 hours? Peak asked. If youre not strong minded, then it can break you. So people dont want to deal with that. And people are afraid of ending up in Rikers.

Following the presidential election, the NYPD carried out mass arrests of protesters demanding all votes be counted in key swing states. The first incident occurs at Washington Square Park on November 4 and the second on November 5 outside the Stonewall Inn. For many, it wasnt their first arrest. Since the winding down of the mass marches in early July, many demonstrations have been frequented by the same core group of protesters. Being body slammed to the pavement or barely escaping the grasp of a cop gets old after a while.

The suppression tactics have been working, said Peak, who also noted the economic hardship imposed by the federal governments stingy response to the economic crisis is sapping the movements energy.

People are trying to look for jobs and go back to work, he said.

While the NYPDs war on protest may be new to younger activists, its been a recurring feature of the department throughout its history from crackdowns on 19th century labor strikes to movements of the unemployed during the Great Depression and again with the rise of the Black Panthers and the Young Lords in the late 1960s. In more recent times, the NYPDs heavy-handed treatment of protesters can be traced back to the militarization of the department that took place after 9/11, says Jennvine Wong, lead attorney for the Cop Accountability Project of the Legal Aid Society.

The impact of that militarization would become evident in the following years when the NYPD mustered overwhelming force to suppress protests against the 2002 World Economic Forum and the 2004 Republican National Convention as well as Critical Mass, an anarchist-led initiative to make bicycling safer and more popular for New Yorkers at a time when there were no bike lanes or Citi Bikes.

During the week of RNC protests, more than 1,800 people were arrested and held in pens at a contaminated MTA bus depot including bystanders who were kettled and swept away with everyone else. The city ended up paying out millions of dollars in legal settlements to hundreds of people whose rights were violated.

Critical Mass an unpermitted, monthly Friday evening bike ride drew first hundreds and then thousands of participants during the runup to the RNC. Payback from the NYPD came in the form of beatings, arrests and stolen bicycles. Over the next few years, Critical Mass shrank back down to a few dozen participants who were nimble enough to be able to escape from the cops.

During the Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011, New York City saw a similarly brutal police response. An investigation led by NYU, Fordham, Harvard and Stanford concluded that the NYPD violated OWS protesters on numerous occasions. When then Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the NYPD my own army that fall, he wasnt kidding.

It was under de Blasio and his first Police Commissioner William Bratton that the NYPD army developed a specialized battalion of 800 cops tasked with the dual mission of responding to terrorist attacks and handling protests.

Its an interesting combination of job functions for that particular group, Wong said. Theyve been particularly problematic because weve seen them in video after video in their fancy suits and their mountain bikes being really aggressive. You have to wonder why that is. Because what is their training really focused on?

The overall level of resources the NYPD can deploy is formidable 36,000 officers and 19,000 civilian employees working with a $6 billion annual budget.

In 2021, New Yorkers will elect a new mayor and City Council. A number of organizers who marched for black lives in June are now running for City Council seats in their communities. If there is a sizable leftwing contingent in the next Council, it could move to slash the NYPDs budget and redirect funds to social services that address the causes of crime. However, its the mayor who has the sole power to appoint the police commissioner, who in turn runs the department on a day-to-day basis. So far, the leading mayoral contenders have shown little interest in imposing deep, structural changes on the police department.

For Alex Vitale, now is the time in New York for a surge of community organizing and base building around alternatives to policing that had already been done before the George Floyd protests in places such as Minneapolis, Austin, Los Angeles and Portland, laying the groundwork for big victories that followed

Street protest is not enough, Vitale said. Hopefully what we will see in the next six months is a kind of increase in that base-building, people talking to their neighbors and family members and friends about what these alternatives to policing would look like, the ways they would make communities safer than they are today and then that sets us up for a very different kind of politics where elected officials are getting pressure from their base for less policing.

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Black Lives Matter Backlash: The NYPD's War on Protesters Intensifies - The Indypendent

Year in Review: How Black Lives Matter Inspired a New Generation of Youth Activists – Rolling Stone

Khalea Edwards didnt believe it at first. Someone on a text chain of organizers from Occupy City Hall STL, a movement she helped lead this past summer calling for the resignation of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, informed the group in November that Krewson was retiring. Edwards wanted proof. Then Krewson made the announcement herself. We spent the whole day in shock, Edwards says. We were crying.

Protesting works. Pro-tes-ting works, the 21-year-old says of the bombshell from the mayor, who in June had broadcast the names and addresses of activists calling for the city to defund the police. Folks said our demands were impossible to meet, but now were here and Lyda Krewson is a one-term mayor, which is exactly what we were chanting for in the streets. Its just beautiful.

Countless young people of color across the United States learned about the power of protest firsthand following George Floyds death in the spring. They organized marches, vigils, sit-ins, and, yes, occupations of government property and they did so at great personal risk. You didnt know what was going to happen, whether you were coming home or whether you were getting arrested, says Chelsea Miller, co-founder of Freedom March NYC. I chose that it was worth it to put my life in danger because this movement was far greater than me.

The demonstrations drew thousands of supporters, thanks largely to the reach of social media. But internet virality is only as good as what you do with it. Its important to remember we are more than hashtags, says Miller. We live in a popcorn society, where its on to the next thing within seconds. We need to think about being able to sustainably support this work, so when the cameras turn off were able to do that.

For many, this involved rallying voters to boot Donald Trump out of office. But now that the president has been handed his walking papers, activists are turning their attention to bringing about change at the local level. Rolling Stone spoke with young organizers from around the country who are parlaying the enthusiasm they generated last summer into providing platforms for the marginalized, kick-starting new awareness initiatives, and pushing lawmakers to enact equitable policies across a wide range of issues from criminal justice to affordable housing to education. The fight isnt over because Donald Trump is out of office, says Atlanta activist Madison Crenshaw. That does not mean we stop. We have to keep going until everyone is equal.

Foyin Dosunmu photographed for Rolling Stone in Katy, Texas.

Rahim Fortune for Rolling Stone

Foyin Dosunmu still gets excited thinking about the day she helped lead a Black Lives Matter protest through the streets of Katy, Texas. It was so beautiful, she says, in awe of how she and the other young activists who founded Katy4Justice last summer were able to use social media to bring more than 1,000 people together to demonstrate for racial equality in the predominantly white Houston suburb.

Though Dosunmu, 17, and many of her fellow activists in Katy are now getting ready for college, Katy4Justice is still holding meetings to organize projects like selling Covid-19 masks to raise money for legal services for immigrants. Theyre also continuing to preach intersectionality and provide community members with a place to share their experiences with discrimination. I feel like Im doing something that I wish someone would have done for me, Dosunmu says. Its just such an amazing feeling.

It doesnt take much, she adds of how a few texts in the summer snowballed into a movement. All you have to do is want to see a change in your community and gather people who want to do the same. Its power in numbers. From there, you have the world in your hands. You can do anything.

Madison Crenshaw photographed for Rolling Stone outside of Atlanta, Georgia in 2020.

Wulf Bradley for Rolling Stone

It was a very large group of friends who just really wanted to make a difference, explains Madison Crenshaw, one of the leaders of Buckhead for Black Lives, a movement founded by recent high school graduates and college students in Atlanta after George Floyds death. A few text messages about how they could respond to police violence turned into a few social media posts promoting a demonstration, which turned into 2,000 people showing up to march to the Governors Mansion.

Joe Biden turning Georgia blue a few months later emphasized what Buckhead for Black Lives and similar protest movements can accomplish. It was an eye-opener, because it can be hard to fathom how events can really impact people and drive them to go out and vote, Crenshaw says. Thats what we saw with the social unrest in the summer. People want to see change on the legislative level that helps communities of color.

Crenshaw says Buckhead for Black Lives is now raising awareness for the Senate runoff races in Georgia, and that the group will work to hold the Biden administration accountable. I think a lot of the time young people are not looked to as leaders, Crenshaw says. This really taught me that we can speak up, use our voice, and make a difference.

Chelsea Miller (left) and Nialah Edari photographed in Brooklyn, New York, for Rolling Stone in 2020.

Eva Woolridge for Rolling Stone

It took Chelsea Miller and Nialah Edari only a few months to turn a demonstration they led in May into a nationally recognized movement. Hundreds attended, and the two friends who met at Columbia University were soon able to raise more than $50,000 to turn Freedom March NYC into a multipronged advocacy organization. This included Freedom Fall, a digital voter-education-and-registration initiative inspired by the Freedom Summer movement of the Sixties. Miller, 24, and Edari, 26, are now determined to hold Joe Biden accountable for the promises that were made around police brutality, state-sanctioned violence, and equity and opportunity for the Black community, says Miller. They plan to hold 2021 New York City mayoral candidates to the same standard. The work isnt done, Edari says. We were out there because Black people were being killed by police. From the looks of it, thats still happening, so well still be outside.

Taji Chesimet photographed for Rolling Stone in 2020.

Intisar Abioto

Taji Chesimet has been fighting for racial justice in Portland, Oregon, since 2017, when he co-founded the youth-led group Raising Justice. In July, the 19-year-old helped lead its Last Generation Protest so named because they seek to be the last to experience racial oppression. As police violence surged in the city in the summer, so did Raising Justices membership, and with it Chesimets resolve to continue fighting for measures to hold police accountable. A lot of conversations from the protest have continued in the policymaking rooms at the legislative level, says Chesimet, now a freshman at the University of Chicago. I dont think the flame from the summer will go out any time soon.

Armonee Jackson photographed for Rolling Stone in September 2020.

Cassidy Ariaza for Rolling Stone

Armonee Jackson has been organizing protests since she was in middle school. Following Trayvon Martins death in 2012, she rallied students to wear hoodies and bring Skittles to classes. The 22-year-old president of the youth and college division of the states NAACP scaled up her activism when George Floyd died, organizing demonstrations across Arizona, including a march in mostly white Scottsdale that drew around 1,000 protesters. I was not surprised, she says of Joe Biden flipping the state. I knew that with the amount of people weve had on the front lines advocating for change, there was no way we wouldnt turn Arizona blue.

Brianna Chandler (left) and Khalea Edwards photographed for Rolling Stone

Vanessa Charlot for Rolling Stone

Khalea Edwards didnt just take up activism this past summer. As she sees it, her life itself is a form of protest. There is no start date to a movement youve been a part of your entire life, she says. Black existence in this system itself is resistance.

Edwards, 21, grew up poor with 17 siblings on the south side of St. Louis and a mother working multiple jobs. She took an interest in actively fighting against these systems after Trayvon Martins death, and later, through her brothers activism in Ferguson after the police killing of Michael Brown. So when Mayor Lyda Krewson doxed activists who were calling for the city to defund the police, Edwards helped form Occupy City Hall STL. Edwards is now focused on advocating for the homeless. We need to be investing in each other and our communities, she says, because we know the politicians wont.

Fellow St. Louis activist Brianna Chandler, 19, began organizing with the Sunrise STL climate group in 2019, and this past spring recentered her focus on racial and indigenous justice, forming Rise STL. I think change always comes from young people, she says. I think adults sometimes get desensitized, and understandably so, because the system wears you down.

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Year in Review: How Black Lives Matter Inspired a New Generation of Youth Activists - Rolling Stone

In 2021, we must show that Black Lives Matter beyond diversity theater – Fast Company

To say 2020 has been a whirlwind would be an understatement. COVID-19 forced us to be stillto pivot, reflect, and be human together. The murder of George Floyd on May 25 catalyzed an unprecedented social justice movement on and offline. According to data gathered by the Social Media Analytics Center at the University of Connecticut, in the 30 days after the murder, the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag was mentioned more than 80 million times on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and blogs. But making systemic change requires action, beyond the performativity of making vague statements about diversity on social media.

Weve previously written about the lack of diversity in the venture capital industry. Currently, only 1% of VC-backed entrepreneurs are Black. According to a Morgan Stanley report published earlier this month, 61% of venture capitalists say that the Black Lives Matter movement has impacted their investment strategy, and 43% of these investors say that funding multicultural-founded companies is now one of their top priorities, up from 33% in 2019. But in order to truly move the needle on DEI work, heres what needs to continue to happen in the industry in 2021:

Talent undeniably drives innovation. Since the summer, there have been some large triumphs in hiring, promoting, and celebrating Black talent. Notably, GV (formerly Google Ventures) promoted Terri Burns to investing partner. This move broke records, making her the youngest and first Black partner at GV. Softbank enlisted Stacy-Brown Philpot, former CEO of TaskRabbit, to help run its new Talent x Opportunity Fund. Sequoia, one of Silicon Valleys giants announced its European team expansion by welcoming Zoe Jervier Hewitt as an operating partner overseeing talent.

However, according to the National Opinion Research Center, only 3.2% of executives and senior manager-level employees are Black. Oftentimes Black employees are overlooked and dont have relationships with key decision-makers. This is a vicious cycle thats affecting many industriesand 2021 is the year to change this. To reverse the cycle, evaluate your promotion practices within your organization and ensure you are reviewing all employees, specifically Black employees who have been in the same position for an extended period. Many times Black employees have shared where they want to see themselves at a firm. So make sure you have leaders listening. If Black employees dont see anyone in a senior position that looks like them, why should they stay?

In recent months, companies have taken a number of strides to address the racial disparity in our industry. SoftBank, the largest tech investor, announced a $100 million Opportunity Fund and shortly afterward, Andreesen Horowitz announced the aforementioned Talent x Opportunity Fund, which started with donations of $2.2 million from the firms partners. Their focus is to train and seed capital to underrepresented founders. The swift action from these larger players emphasized that the capital exists and can be funneled to Black entrepreneurs; it simply has not been channelled for equity. VCs need to ensure that their networks are intentionally diverse to really make a difference.

Your network starts with your team. Who you know often mirrors what your firm looks likeand ultimately where you invest. If you dont have a diverse workforce that can provide referrals or diverse social networks, then you should ensure you are tapping into the right organizations and networks to recruit diverse talent, including 2050, Jopwell, Noirefy, and Tech Connection. There should be no excuse when it comes to finding Black or minority talent. We are there, and are as equally talented as our white counterparts.

From a deal-flow perspective, weve found great success in partnering with other VCs globally to produce virtual office hour events that have helped us connect with founders and investors from beyond our ecosystem and across demographics, geographies, and sectors. This approach can be just as effective as creating a targeted fund for diverse founders.

More than ever, the industry needs to understand that organizations and programs run by Black people lead to the advancement of Black people. The most successful of these is BLCK VC. Founded by Frederik Groce and Sydney Sykes in 2018, the organization has been instrumental in spearheading change. With a clear focus on addressing the talent gap in venture capital, their mission is to double the number of Black investors by 2024. This year, they launched the Black Venture Institute which will train 300 Black professionals to make startup investments over the next three years. Their Fellowship program with Lerer Hippeau and Anthemis in New York is designed to support Black professionals with the necessary tools and skills to enter the industry at a later stage. We urge you to continue investing in these sorts of programs that not only help support untapped talent, but cultivate it, as well.

Research shows that diversity brings increased profitability, creativity, and a host of benefits to an organization. According to a Boston Consulting Group study, organizations with more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenues due to innovation. However, dont just measure diversity from a profitability lens. Commit to equity because it will keep your venture firm accountable, and inspire other firms in the industry to stay transparent. Tracking will provide a path for the companies that come after you.

We hope that in 2021 and years to come, this continues to be a lasting movement. We are optimistic that leaders across industries continue to implement strategies to ensure that Black people and other POC are seen, heard, and rightfully promoted in leadership positions. But we must continue to make progress. Thats when we will see real change in our economy.

Charity Mhende is a marketer and storyteller working at Anthemis, with experience driving brand awareness for small to medium enterprises across the U.S. and EMEA.

Elise Brown is a marketing executive at Anthemis and thought leader driving innovation globally in financial services through a combination of strategic marketing, product, and brand development.

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In 2021, we must show that Black Lives Matter beyond diversity theater - Fast Company

Why Black Lives Matter: African American thriving for the twenty-first century – Religion News Service

New book by Anthony B. Bradley

Beginning with a conversation prompted by African American scholars like Dr. Alvin Poussaint of Harvard Medical School in 2007, to the current Black Lives Matter movement, there has been much debate about what led to the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, among others, as well as other systemic challenges that undermine black thriving. Anthony Bradley has assembled a team of scholars and religious leaders to provide a distinctly Christian perspective on what is needed for black communities to thrive from within. In addition to the social and structural issues that must be addressed, within black communities there are opportunities for social change based on Gods vision for human flourishing.

Covering topics like the black family, hip-hop, mental health, mentoring women, masculinity, and the church, this book will open your eyes to fresh ways to participate in solutions that will truly set black America free. Although the Black Lives Matter movement keeps the church on the margins, the authors in this volume believe that enduring change cannot happen unless God speaks directly to these issues in light of the gospel.

Contributors: Vincent Bacote, Howard Brown, Anthony Carter, Bruce Fields, Natalie Haslem, Ken Jones, Lance Lewis, Eric M. Mason, Rihana Mason, Yvonne RB-Banks, Ralph C. Watkins

Anthony B. Bradley is Professor and Chair of Religious and Theological Studies at The Kings College (New York, New York) and a Research Fellow at The Acton Institute. He is the author of Ending Overcriminalization and Mass Incarceration (2018).

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Why Black Lives Matter: African American thriving for the twenty-first century - Religion News Service

Six months after mass protests began, what is the future of BLM? – The Economist

WHEN THERES a chance to make change, we must be ready to take it, says YahN Ndgo, a singer and activist with Philadelphias chapter of Black Lives Matter (BLM). Events over the past six months, she says, have brought a rare chance to shape national affairs. Protests flared across America after footage spread of the death of George Floyd, an African-American who was choked for nearly nine minutes by a policeman in Minneapolis in May. By one count over 8,500 civil-rights demonstrations have taken place since.

The sight of thousands of marchers, usually young and mostly peaceful, helped to sway public attitudes in ways small and big. Kenya McKnight, who runs a group in Minneapolis educating black women about finance, says she was invigorated, feeling new validation for her work. Oluchi Omeoga at Black Visions Collective, a grant-giving body in the same city, is also fired up, saying America has entered a different phase, one hundred percent. Public support for the BLM movement, founded seven years ago, soared to an unheard-of 67% in June, according to Pew researchers. It has slipped a bit since, but remains high.

Voters, especially Democrats, responded. Joe Biden has concluded that more African-Americans must be seen in prominent jobs. His choice of Kamala Harris, who is part African-American, as his running-mate proved popular. This week he picked Lloyd Austin as defence secretary. If the retired four-star general is confirmed, he would be the first African-American to preside over the Pentagon. That matters, says the incoming president, to make sure that our armed forces reflect and promote the full diversity of our nation. His cabinet will be home to many non-white faces.

Does this amount to a new wave for the civil-rights movement? BLM looked bereft before the summer. Several activists say the national part of their movement had lost its way. Ms Ndgo, who is critical of national leaders, says it had become a shambles. Local chapters were passionate, but focused mostly on holding rallies in response to violent incidents by police. BLM boasted of its grass-roots organising and decentralised, leaderless structure. But critics say that proved messy, bureaucratic, slow-moving and ineffective.

Patrisse Cullors (pictured), one of BLMs three co-founders, bluntly blamed her movements half-drawn blueprints and road maps that led to untenable ends, as well as its lack of funds and vision. Black people, she wrote in September, had paid dearly for these shortcomings. Better focus and organisation were needed.

Some of that has changed. Start with the great fire-hose of money pointed at BLM groups and sympathisers. The example of Niko Georgiades of Unicorn Riot, a non-profit, left-leaning media firm that posted early footage of protests in Minneapolis, is instructive. Thanks to online donations, within a couple of months his almost-broke outfit went from $8,000 in the bank to nearly $650,000. Thats enough to keep operating for another five years, he says joyfully. Ms McKnight saw donations flood in from people in America, Europe, Japan and Brazil. Within a month of the protests, BLMs national network had to scramble to offer a first round of $6.5m in grantsfar more than ever beforeto city chapters, gay-rights groups and others.

That was just a start. Vastly larger promises and sums followed as employee and corporate donors, as well as rich individuals, joined the gift-giving. Donations to BLM-related causes since May were $10.6bn. Exact sums received will be known when the central body overseeing BLM spending publishes its finances (confusingly it relies on another entity, a fiscal sponsor, the Tides Foundation, to oversee its books). A leading figure talks of incredible financial growth and capacity, and a huge surge in the number of folks who want to throw down with us, meaning long-term partners.

Another change, the restructuring of BLM, could turn out to be just as significant: power is to be centralised. Ms Cullors has stood up as the boss of BLMs Global Network Foundation, which she calls the umbrella organisation for the whole movement. In taking responsibility, as she says, for the onus of our successes and failures, she appears to be claiming leadership of the once leaderless movement.

That is because the foundation will control funds, dishing them out to officially recognised BLM city chapters through another new body called BLM Grassroots. The foundation is also moving away from doing mostly on-the-ground work. For example, it is pressing Congress to pass legislation, known as the Breathe Act, that would order a big increase in federal spending on public housing. Leaders of the foundation were hoping to meet members of Mr Bidens transition team this week. In October a BLM political-action committee was launched, to bring the power of our movement from the streets to the ballot box.

That reflects new ambition, what Ms Cullors has called a totalising and unprecedented transition for BLM. It has long focused largely on police violence, mass incarceration and other criminal-justice woes. The idea is to confront the way African-Americans live, not only their repression and deaths.

BLM leaders plan, for example, to campaign for more funding for the Postal Service, a big employer of middle-class African-Americans. Early next year it hopes to launch a bank to push capital to black-owned firms and non-profit groups. That reflects a wish to address problems of race and economic inequality.

All that is appealing if the movement is to be more effective than just a protest outfit. But the changes have upset radicals, such as those who prefer the idea of abolishing capitalism over making banks work better, or who reject electoral politics as intrinsically ineffective. On November 30th representatives of ten city chapters, including large ones from Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia and Washington, said they rejected the recent changes as an undemocratic, secretive power-grab done without the backing of most BLM members.

One opponent, Vanessa Green, a BLM organiser in Hudson Valley, New York, says nobody was consulted about launching the political-action committee. Earlier complaints from smaller groups like hers about the centralisation of power were brushed aside in the rush to change. You have to include every damn body, she says. To be ignored, it feels like a slap in the face. She sees BLM as an offspring of the radical Black Power activism of the 1960s, but fears it is instead becoming vanilla, ineffective and co-opted by those who resist change.

Ms Ndgo is also upset at secrecy. She warns that Ms Cullors, if she does emerge as the main BLM leader, may be out of touch because she is not on the streets, not grass-roots organising. She complains that the foundation has been woefully opaque about its money.

The schism between the two camps is unlikely to end, but it is also doubtful that the disgruntled ten chapters can lure more to their camp. Nobody owns the BLM trademark. Nor can anyone say convincingly what counts as an official chapter of the movement. That means both camps are free to go on operating. Much will depend on who has more resources to help activists or mount bigger campaigns. If the money keeps flowing to the foundation that Ms Cullors runs, then her more-organised vision for BLM may emerge stronger.

This article appeared in the United States section of the print edition under the headline "The George Floyd effect"

Go here to read the rest:

Six months after mass protests began, what is the future of BLM? - The Economist

Black Lives Matter demonstrator’s rescue is this year’s Most Inspiring Moment – CNN

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Get Involved:u003ca href="https://www.cnn.com/specials/cnn-heroes/" target="_blank"> CNNHeroes.comu003c/a>"},{"title":"Anderson Cooper says his baby is a CNN Heroes fan ","duration":"04:00","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/us/2020/11/13/cnn-heroes-announcement-cooper-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"us/2020/11/13/cnn-heroes-announcement-cooper-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/201113090341-cnn-heroes-announcement-cooper-vpx-00001414-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/us/2020/11/13/cnn-heroes-announcement-cooper-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/2020-cnn-heroes/","description":"Anderson Cooper announces when and how voting will take place for u003ca href="https://www.cnn.com/specials/cnn-heroes" target="_blank">CNN Heroesu003c/a>, a series featuring everyday people doing extraordinary things to change the world.","descriptionText":"Anderson Cooper announces when and how voting will take place for u003ca href="https://www.cnn.com/specials/cnn-heroes" target="_blank">CNN Heroesu003c/a>, a series featuring everyday people doing extraordinary things to change the world."},{"title":"CNN Heroes: Most Inspiring Moments","duration":"03:35","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/specials/cnn-heroes/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/tv/2020/11/12/2020-coronavirus-blm-most-inspiring-moments.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"tv/2020/11/12/2020-coronavirus-blm-most-inspiring-moments.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/201110160925-mim-forpr-cnnheroes-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/tv/2020/11/12/2020-coronavirus-blm-most-inspiring-moments.cnn/video/playlists/2020-cnn-heroes/","description":"In a year of upheaval, these are some of the moments where everyday people stood up and made the world a better place.","descriptionText":"In a year of upheaval, these are some of the moments where everyday people stood up and made the world a better place."},{"title":"CNN Heroes: Jon Bon Jovi is helping his community through the pandemic","duration":"02:31","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/specials/cnn-heroes/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/tv/2020/07/07/bon-jovi-new-jersey-coronavirus-free-meals-cnnheroes.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"tv/2020/07/07/bon-jovi-new-jersey-coronavirus-free-meals-cnnheroes.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200707115224-bon-jovi-new-jersey-coronavirus-free-meals-cnnheroes-00000000-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/tv/2020/07/07/bon-jovi-new-jersey-coronavirus-free-meals-cnnheroes.cnn/video/playlists/2020-cnn-heroes/","description":"With concerts canceled, Jersey boy Jon Bon Jovi is at home keeping his community fed, and he's helping fans tell their stories.","descriptionText":"With concerts canceled, Jersey boy Jon Bon Jovi is at home keeping his community fed, and he's helping fans tell their stories."},{"title":"CNN Heroes: Nightly salute to health care workers","duration":"01:10","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/specials/cnn-heroes/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/tv/2020/11/13/coronavirus-doctors-nurse-medical-workers-frontline-salutes-cnnheroes.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"tv/2020/11/13/coronavirus-doctors-nurse-medical-workers-frontline-salutes-cnnheroes.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/201113173328-coronavirus-doctors-nurse-medical-workers-frontline-salutes-cnnheroes-00001817-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/tv/2020/11/13/coronavirus-doctors-nurse-medical-workers-frontline-salutes-cnnheroes.cnn/video/playlists/2020-cnn-heroes/","description":"Each evening, in cities around the world, the sounds of clapping, cheering and pots clanging celebrated the nurses, doctors and hospital workers fighting to save lives. Vote for this year's Most Inspiring Moments at u003ca href="https://www.cnn.com/specials/cnn-heroes/" target="_blank">CNNHeroes.comu003c/a>.","descriptionText":"Each evening, in cities around the world, the sounds of clapping, cheering and pots clanging celebrated the nurses, doctors and hospital workers fighting to save lives. Vote for this year's Most Inspiring Moments at u003ca href="https://www.cnn.com/specials/cnn-heroes/" target="_blank">CNNHeroes.comu003c/a>."},{"title":"CNN Heroes: Hero Recharge program for frontline medical workers","duration":"05:49","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/specials/cnn-heroes/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/tv/2020/11/05/coronavirus-frontline-doctors-nurses-outdoor-adventures-cnnheroes.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"tv/2020/11/05/coronavirus-frontline-doctors-nurses-outdoor-adventures-cnnheroes.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/201105142951-coronavirus-frontline-doctors-nurses-outdoor-adventures-cnnheroes-00041012-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/tv/2020/11/05/coronavirus-frontline-doctors-nurses-outdoor-adventures-cnnheroes.cnn/video/playlists/2020-cnn-heroes/","description":"Brad Ludden and First Descents normally provide free weeklong adventures to young adults with cancer and multiple sclerosis, but once Covid-19 hit they saw an opportunity to help those helping others through the pandemic.","descriptionText":"Brad Ludden and First Descents normally provide free weeklong adventures to young adults with cancer and multiple sclerosis, but once Covid-19 hit they saw an opportunity to help those helping others through the pandemic."},{"title":"Take your handwashing game to the next level!","duration":"01:40","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/specials/cnn-heroes/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/tv/2020/05/19/coronavirus-handwashing-guide-cnnheroes.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"tv/2020/05/19/coronavirus-handwashing-guide-cnnheroes.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200520130838-coronavirus-handwashing-guide-cnnheroes-00000000-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/tv/2020/05/19/coronavirus-handwashing-guide-cnnheroes.cnn/video/playlists/2020-cnn-heroes/","description":"CNN Hero and u003ca href="https://ecosoapbank.org" target="_blank">Eco-Soap Banku003c/a> founder Samir Lakhani has a lesson in hygiene to help protect yourself during the pandemic.","descriptionText":"CNN Hero and u003ca href="https://ecosoapbank.org" target="_blank">Eco-Soap Banku003c/a> founder Samir Lakhani has a lesson in hygiene to help protect yourself during the pandemic."},{"title":"CNN Heroes: Delivering RVs to firefighters who lost their homes","duration":"02:40","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/specials/cnn-heroes/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/tv/2020/10/21/california-wildfires-firefighters-rv-shelter-cnnheroes.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"tv/2020/10/21/california-wildfires-firefighters-rv-shelter-cnnheroes.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/201021144853-california-wildfires-firefighters-rv-shelter-cnnheroes-00021306-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/tv/2020/10/21/california-wildfires-firefighters-rv-shelter-cnnheroes.cnn/video/playlists/2020-cnn-heroes/","description":"Six volunteer firefighters from Berry Creek, CA, lost their homes while battling the flames. Within days, CNN Hero Woody Faircloth found RVs for them to call home as they get back up on their feet.","descriptionText":"Six volunteer firefighters from Berry Creek, CA, lost their homes while battling the flames. Within days, CNN Hero Woody Faircloth found RVs for them to call home as they get back up on their feet."},{"title":"CNN Heroes: Music Mends Minds","duration":"06:37","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/specials/cnn-heroes/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/health/2020/10/15/coronavirus-dementia-music-therapy-cnnheroes.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"health/2020/10/15/coronavirus-dementia-music-therapy-cnnheroes.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/201015154425-coronavirus-dementia-music-therapy-cnnheroes-00010327-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/health/2020/10/15/coronavirus-dementia-music-therapy-cnnheroes.cnn/video/playlists/2020-cnn-heroes/","description":"While quarantine measures help protect seniors from catching Covid-19, social isolation is having a devastating effect on their mental well-being. Carol Rosenstein is finding that her mission of using music to help people battling neurodegenerative diseases has a new importance.","descriptionText":"While quarantine measures help protect seniors from catching Covid-19, social isolation is having a devastating effect on their mental well-being. Carol Rosenstein is finding that her mission of using music to help people battling neurodegenerative diseases has a new importance."},{"title":"CNN Heroes: Inside the fitness classes that help overcome addiction","duration":"05:20","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/specials/cnn-heroes/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/health/2020/09/30/coronavirus-addiction-recovery-home-workouts-cnnheroes.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"health/2020/09/30/coronavirus-addiction-recovery-home-workouts-cnnheroes.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200930174450-coronavirus-addiction-recovery-home-workouts-cnnheroes-00003506-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/health/2020/09/30/coronavirus-addiction-recovery-home-workouts-cnnheroes.cnn/video/playlists/2020-cnn-heroes/","description":"Phil Mattingly jumps into an online workout with CNN Hero Scott Strode and the Phoenix community. He meets members as they fight to stay sober during lockdown.","descriptionText":"Phil Mattingly jumps into an online workout with CNN Hero Scott Strode and the Phoenix community. He meets members as they fight to stay sober during lockdown."},{"title":"CNN Heroes: Mothering 54 kids through the pandemic","duration":"04:45","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/specials/cnn-heroes/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/tv/2020/04/23/coronavirus-nepal-food-shortage-orphans-cnnheroes.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"tv/2020/04/23/coronavirus-nepal-food-shortage-orphans-cnnheroes.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200423163106-cnnheroes-doyne-reading-to-kids-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/tv/2020/04/23/coronavirus-nepal-food-shortage-orphans-cnnheroes.cnn/video/playlists/2020-cnn-heroes/","description":"2015 CNN Hero of the Year Maggie Doyne is responsible for dozens of kids at her children's home in Nepal. In addition to homeschooling and feeding them she is also helping neighbors who are running out of food.","descriptionText":"2015 CNN Hero of the Year Maggie Doyne is responsible for dozens of kids at her children's home in Nepal. In addition to homeschooling and feeding them she is also helping neighbors who are running out of food."},{"title":"CNN Heroes: Helping the formerly incarcerated re-enter society during the pandemic","duration":"06:46","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/specials/cnn-heroes/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/tv/2020/09/18/incarceration-california-coronavirus-housing-cnnheroes.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"tv/2020/09/18/incarceration-california-coronavirus-housing-cnnheroes.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200917215307-incarceration-california-coronavirus-housing-cnnheroes-00011526-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/tv/2020/09/18/incarceration-california-coronavirus-housing-cnnheroes.cnn/video/playlists/2020-cnn-heroes/","description":"As prisons respond to Covid-19 by releasing inmates, Susan Burton, Kim Carter and Collette Carroll are ramping up their efforts to help them adapt to life on the outside.","descriptionText":"As prisons respond to Covid-19 by releasing inmates, Susan Burton, Kim Carter and Collette Carroll are ramping up their efforts to help them adapt to life on the outside."},{"title":"Saluting America's Covid-19 heroes","duration":"01:44","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/tv/2020/04/03/coronavirus-heroes-salute-cnnheroes.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"tv/2020/04/03/coronavirus-heroes-salute-cnnheroes.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200403094727-coronavirus-heroes-salute-cnnheroes-00000430-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/tv/2020/04/03/coronavirus-heroes-salute-cnnheroes.cnn/video/playlists/2020-cnn-heroes/","description":"Americans are putting their lives on the line to keep this country moving during this crisis. 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Black Lives Matter demonstrator's rescue is this year's Most Inspiring Moment - CNN

Fact check: Story about United Airlines, Black Lives Matter and a toddler is satirical – USA TODAY

As some prepare to board flights across the United States for the Thanksgiving holiday, American Airlines has specific cleaning and sanitization protocols in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on their planes.(Nov. 18) AP Domestic

Social justice remains aconcern forsome Americans. But a post on social media claims an airlinemay have taken its support for the cause too far.

An article in the Babylon Bee, headlined "United Airlines Kicks 2-Year-Old Off Flight For Refusing To Say 'Black Lives Matter,'"claims the airline refused to let a young girl fly after she couldn't pronounce the racial justice expression. The airline supposedly scolded the family of the child in a statement, too, citing its "strict ideological purity requirement" for all flights. Promotion for the article was posted to Instagram.

"We can't let people fly on planes with the fear that a racist baby might be on board," the airline supposedly said. "The family was quickly removed after which we lectured them for 2 hours in the airport terminal."

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The Babylon Bee article is intended to be satire.

The website calls itself the "world's best satire site, totally inerrant in all its truth claims," and there's no evidence United Airlines stopped a family from flying due to a child's inability to say the phrase "Black Lives Matter."

"Satirists often leverage the context of real events to create satirical stories," Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon told USA TODAY. "We do this by modifying the scenario or exaggerating what happened to make a point. See this piece, for example. COVID relief bills have been in the news for some time. We aren't conflating a real story with a fake one by making this joke; rather, we're using real-world events as a basis and context for offering satirical criticism and commentary."

More: Trump tweets satirical news story: What is Babylon Bee and is it 'fake news'?

As Dillon alluded, the satirical article about United Airlines appears to be loosely based on a real-life situation involving United Airlines.

A Dec. 11 video wentviral on Twitter after a womanclaimed her family was kicked off a United Airlines flight from Colorado to New Jersey because her 2-year-old daughter "would not 'comply' andkeep her mask on." She further claimed that she and her family were banned from using the airline due to the disturbance.

United is allowing passengers to change flights scheduled through the end of the year to rebook travel without paying a change fee if they make the change by April 30.(Photo: Jeff Chiu/AP)

The video shows the woman and her husband attempting to put a mask on their 2-year-old who repeatedly covers her face, refusing to wear the mask. The woman calls her daughter "Adeline," which is the same name used in the satire article. The family is then asked to exit the plane by a man who appears to be a flight attendant.

United Airlines told NBC 5 Chicago that it's investigating the incident and made contact with the family, refunding their tickets and returning their items. The airline also said that the family has not been banned, despite the family's claim.

"The health and safety of our employees and customers is our highest priority, which is why we have a multilayered set of policies, including mandating that everyone onboard two and older wears a mask," the airline said in a statement. "These procedures are not only backed by guidance from the CDC and our partners at the Cleveland Clinic, but theyre also consistent across every major airline."

United Airlines requires all passengers "over the age of 2" to wear a face covering.

The satire article likely drew from other airlines' support of the Black Lives Matter movement, too. Both American Airlines and Delta Air Lines created brand-specific "Black Lives Matter" pins for their employees to wear on the job.

Fact check:Fake anti-Christmas quote attributed to Kamala Harris began as satire

We rate the claim that United Airlines kicked a child off a flight for refusing to say "Black Lives Matter" as SATIRE because it uses irony and exaggeration to criticize an actual event. The article appears to satirize a recent situation in which a family was kicked off a United Airlines flight because its 2-year-old would not wear a face mask.

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.

Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

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Fact check: Story about United Airlines, Black Lives Matter and a toddler is satirical - USA TODAY

The City of Portland Fines a Building Owner for Oversized Black Lives Matter Sign – Willamette Week

Just off Interstate 5 at the Columbia Boulevard exit in North Portland, motorists are presented with a 42-foot-long "Black Lives Matter" sign on the front of an industrial building at 866 N Columbia Blvd.

Somebody didn't like the sign and, on Nov. 23, filed a complaint with the city's Bureau of Development Services. (The bureau declined to provide the name of the complainant, saying that the person's identity was not a public record.)

On Dec. 10, BDS fined owner David Gold $292 for violating the city's sign code. The BLM banner,the bureau determined, exceeds the 32-square-foot maximum size above which building owners must seek permits and was indeed hung without a permit.

That fine increases by $709 every 30 days if the banner isn't permitted or removed.

BDS spokesman Ken Ray says that before citing Gold, the bureau notified him he'd need to remove the banner or apply for a permit, neither of which Gold did.

"The Bureau of Development Services reviews permit applications and enforces the city's sign code without regard to a sign's message or content," Ray says.

Gold acknowledges receiving a warning from BDS, but he isn't happy.

"With all of the current protest signage in Portland and all other problems facing Portland," Gold says, "it's unbelievable that city resources are being used to fine political speech."

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The City of Portland Fines a Building Owner for Oversized Black Lives Matter Sign - Willamette Week

Maria Casely-Hayford on Black Lives Matter: It is a cultural wake-up call such as Ive never seen before – British GQ

Deja Vu (Ive Been Here Before). The 1979 track by the soulful singer-songwriter Teena Marie that my husband Joe Casely-Hayford and I loved and played during late nights working in our studio says much about our life experiences with the question of race.

I wonder what Joe, who died at the beginning of 2019, would have made of this years traumatic events and the subsequent demands for racial justice and systemic change. Joe was a compulsive follower of politics and current affairs, and would have been profoundly affected by the racial tragedies and the societal changes hurriedly put in place as a consequence. He would have wondered, like me, if Black people are now truly able to hope for the meaningful transitions we have waited centuries for.

As teenagers, we had cause for hope in the mid-Seventies, 45 years ago, when we thought it was a time of reckoning, of change at last. We were young, gifted and Black. We felt we could do anything if we had the talent. In 1975 we celebrated Arthur Ashes historic winning of the Wimbledon trophy. Ashes win was symbolic for Black people and we revered him as an exceptional athlete and an admirable role model. It was a step towards visibility and a momentous cultural and social move towards inclusion in worlds from which we had previously been excluded, or in which we had been unacknowledged.

That same year, Joe and I were admitted to Saint Martins School of Art, where we were happy but not surprised to see a number of other people of colour at this most prestigious art institution. In 1978 Trevor Phillips was elected president of the National Union of Students, and we felt empowered seeing him and other young Black people like us speaking eloquently and confidently on television, on the radio and in the print media.

The backlash came all too soon in the late Seventies. Racial tension was at the forefront of current affairs: the daily news programmes covered the increasingly controversial SUS laws, which saw a disproportionate number of Black men stopped by the police, particularly on their way home at night. Home Office statistics issued in 2017 stated that men and women who identify as Black British are eight times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police than their white counterparts, and it is still happening in the UK today.

In the Eighties and Nineties, we fought hard to make multiculturalism work against the backdrop of the Broadwater Farm riots, the Brixton riots, the beating of Rodney King, the murder of Stephen Lawrence and many other devastating incidents which threatened our human rights and our pursuit of justice and equality. But on an everyday level it was, and continues to be, the chipping away, the slights, the casual racism that starts at a very young age and becomes second nature, that does the ongoing damage and is the most difficult to rethink.

The way in which pernicious racism seems to have played a notable part earlier this year in the resignation of a Credit Suisse chief executive (the only Black chief executive in the top tier of global banking) was particularly distressing to me.

But I do believe that the paradigm shift engendered by Black Lives Matter (BLM) after the killing of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor is real and has already caused seismic changes. What happened this year with BLM has impacted society globally. It has been a cultural wake-up call such as I have never seen in my lifetime: political and business leaders have been removed from their roles, institutions have rushed to implement diversity credentials. Of course, there will be virtue signalling and insincere gestures, but we can live with that if it helps to facilitate a genuine re-evaluation and honest quest for change.

It is heartening to see now that many of the ugly faces of bigotry, anti-Semitism and racism have become socially condemned, though at the same time it is shocking to acknowledge that these institutionalised markers of a divided humanity could ever have been allowed to exist with impunity. Jim Crow laws, apartheid, miscegenation, Blackface (still a part of light-entertainment repertoire well into the Eighties) and hugely disparaging references to Jewish and Black people in the Western canon by highly esteemed and relatively modern European writers, philosophers and artists of the 19th and early 20th centuries are all, rightly, now publicly denounced. With our white allies, we continue our endeavours for a better future. A future of liberation.

Liberation is being allowed to misstep without letting down the entire Black community. Liberation is not experiencing a lifetime of daily microaggressions whilst trying to stay positive. Liberation is no longer seeing that flicker of unconscious bias in our daily encounters with liberal white people.

We will have liberation when our part played in global society is valued. We will have liberation when we are free to be treated as individuals. As the African- American playwright and director Robert OHara said last year about the first play he scripted, Black people are not a monolith. There are so many different ways to examine who we are. The more we acknowledge that, the better we are.

I remain hopeful for my grandchildren and Black and white descendants. And I believe that Black people and Black cultures rich contribution to the world over the centuries will gradually be honoured and appreciated by the global community. When we look back at this time in 100 years from now, it will be with disbelief that terms such as white privilege, or negative pigeonholing such as not Black enough, or not white enough were a real and damaging part of our human existence.

The future of change will be difficult. It will be countered by self-preservationist individuals and institutions, and by those threatened by the prospect of sharing in a more balanced and fair society. The journey will not be linear, but it will definitely always be hopeful.

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Maria Casely-Hayford on Black Lives Matter: It is a cultural wake-up call such as Ive never seen before - British GQ

Black Lives Matter and the Color of the Public Square – Religion & Politics

Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, D.C. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

This past summer, three men filed a complaint against the mayor of Washington D.C., Muriel Bowser, for mixing up church and state by endorsing a religion. As protests for racial justice spread across the country, leaders like Bowser tried to signify support for the cause. To that end, the District painted BLACK LIVES MATTER in huge yellow text across a street and renamed it Black Lives Matter Plaza. While some criticized these actions for being ineffectual symbolism instead of real change, these three plaintiffs thought the mayor had done something very realsomething religious. Bowsers paramount objective, they alleged, was to convey to the Plaintiffs and all other taxpayers the Black Lives Matter cult, which is a denominational sect of the religion of Secular Humanism, is the favored religion of the city and the Nation and that another who disagrees with their gospel narrative is a second class citizen. By proclaiming an exclusionary political theology, they alleged, the District had colored the neutral public sphere with particular, unsecular hues.

One might be tempted to dismiss this argument as ridiculous and the plaintiffs as fringe figures. And that interpretation is warranted, to an extent. The case was dismissed because the plaintiffs lacked standing. They are not central players in the conservative legal movement, nor do they apparently have much political power. The lead plaintiff, Rich Penkoski, is a street preacher and leader of the group Warriors for Christ. The second plaintiff, Chris Sevier, is a disbarred attorney from Tennessee who claims in the lawsuit to be a liaison between the House and Senate on Constitutional Legislative Affairs and outspoken electronic dance music artist. (Sevier is best known for anti-porn campaigns and drafting anti-human-trafficking legislation.) The third, Tex Christopher, identifies as a D.C. lobbyist and former bull rider. They seem like a wacky bunch, and their lawsuit is certainly colorful. But their claim that Black Lives Matter (BLM) is part of the religion of Secular Humanismand their tactic, to combat secular humanism by alleging an Establishment Clause violationis not novel. In fact, they are participating in a tradition that is decades old. And in some cases, similar legal arguments have had some success.

While Penkoski, Sevier, and Christophers lawsuit was unsuccessful, it is a document worthy of consideration, not dismissal. If youre looking for a single artifact that might be called Trumpian, this lawsuit will fit the bill. Given the way the Trump Administration appears to be endingwith long-shot lawsuits and stoking conspiratorial fearits all the more fitting. It includes nasty ad hominem against a woman of color, potshots at the Democrat Party, zany characters with questionable records, and an intellectual scaffolding that combines conservative legal movement tactics, populist aesthetics, and assorted rightwing religious tropes. It is a window onto a gnarled thicket of rightwing Christian ideas. To begin to untangle it, we must look back on the history of the Christian Right, and our more recent, radicalizing social mediasphere. This piece is, in short, a weird intellectual history of the present.

FIRST OF ALL, what do the plaintiffs mean when they allege that Black Lives Matter (BLM) is both a cult and part of a larger religion called secular humanism? Cult, in this case, is used as a delegitimizing term, to name a bad religion with brainwashed and unthinking adherents. Secular humanism is perhaps a less familiar term. There are self-identified humanists and secular humanists, some of whom identify as religious. Most of them are nontheists who believe in Enlightenment ideals of human reason and the political and ethical goal of human flourishing. For the Christian Right, though, secular humanism is a sinister, anti-biblical, and pervasive worldview. For them, secular humanism means an ideological system that displaces God and biblical law in favor of man and human government (and eventually one-world government).

The idea that secular humanism is a religion comes from Christian worldview education and presuppositionalist theology. Dutch Calvinists such as Abraham Kuyper and especially Cornelius Van Til argued that one can reason only from presuppositions. If you presuppose that the Bible is true, then a whole biblical worldviewpolitical, economic, social, family lifewill follow. In this view, humans are sinful and need God and biblical law. If, conversely, you presuppose that humanity is essentially good and capable of governing themselves, a secular humanist worldview will follow.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Christian leaders warned against secular humanism with increasing frequency and ferventness. The Dutch presuppositionalists were hugely influential in the intellectual development of conservative white evangelicalism (in part because Dutch Calvinists founded and controlled much of the booming Christian book industry), and their ideas spread beyond their original denominational contexts. Van Til helped train the influential theologian Francis Schaeffer, who, along with fellow Van Til student Rousas John Rushdoony, would help educate thousands about the dangers of secular humanism. Schaeffers intellectual contributions to the Christian Right have been widely recognized through his book How Should We Then Live?, its accompanying film series, along his Swiss retreat where evangelicals came to learn and train. Rushdoony has been recognized by historians as a founder of Christian Reconstruction, a more thoroughgoing project of rebuilding society to operate according to strict biblical law. Rushdoony stridently condemned secular humanism, calling it the worlds second-oldest religion, founded by the serpent in Eden.

Conservative pastors, educators, and activists caught on to the worldview idea, and the dangers of secular humanism. Tim LaHaye, known for his role in helping found the Moral Majority and then co-writing the apocalyptic Left Behind series, got interested in secular humanism and wrote three books, Battle for the Mind, Battle for the Family, and Battle for the Public Schools, in the early 1980s. These books described a pervasive, powerful ideology. In the first, LaHaye wrote, Almost every major magazine, newspaper, TV network, secular book publisher, and movie producer is a committed humanist.

Fears of secular humanism pervaded how these white evangelicals thought and spoke about public schoolsactions and ideas that were also enmeshed with racism. As scholars like Randall Balmer have argued, opposition to school desegregation was the foundation of what became the Moral Majority and the Christian Right. Following the Engel and Schempp Supreme Court decisions of the early 1960s, which removed teacher-led prayer and devotional bible-reading, respectively, from public schools, conservative evangelicals argued (with arguments borrowed from Catholics) that public schools were now bastions of secularist and anti-Christian ideology. So, in many cities, especially in the South, they formed their own private schools and homeschool networks. It was not a coincidence that many of these new schools were founded at the same time that public schools were being desegregated. Some of the resulting segregation academies became training centers for equipping their largely and sometimes exclusively white student bodies with a biblical worldview. Defending such institutions against this legal persecution galvanized the Christian Right.

Opposition to secular humanism was also a key piece of the Christian Rights anti-public-school strategy. It stemmed from a clearly articulated ideological commitment, but it operated as a nifty gotcha move. If secular humanism is a religion (or at least an anti-Christian worldview), and public institutions propagate it, are they not endorsing one religion or showing disfavor toward another? This is basically the legal argument that Penkoski et al. use to argue that Bowser endorsed the religion of secular humanism and the cult of Black Lives Matter. Their issue is not just that BLM, which the lawsuit compares to the Democrats [sic] other favorite racist religious organization, the KKK, should not be endorsed because it is bad. The argument is that it should not be endorsed because it is a religion.

But is there a way to demonstrate in court that secular humanism is indeed a religion? The proof text is a footnote in the 1961 Supreme Court case Torcaso v. Watkins. There, Justice Hugo Black wrote, Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism and others. This provided the necessary citation to make Establishment arguments. In a 1978 law review article, John W. Whitehead (a follower of Rushdoony) and John Conlan explain how this argument might work in court. The Supreme Court recognized in Torcaso that secular humanism is a religion. And, the courts have decided, for definitional purposes, that religion is all but equated with sincerely held individual belief. By the 1970s, Whitehead and Conlan argued, public life had been de-Christianized and the biblical foundations replaced by the rival religion of secular humanism. Even in putatively secular subjects, schools advanced this religion of secular humanism.

The next piece of the strategy, which the Penkoski et al. lawsuit follows, was to invoke the Lemon test, from the 1971 case Lemon v. Kurtzman. This test required that government actions have a primarily secular purpose and avoid excessive entanglements between government and religion. Surely, teaching the religion of secular humanism to public school childrenby teaching evolution or human rights or promoting gender equalitywould fail such a test. Activists (including Conlan, later a U.S. Congressman) used this argument to remove textbooks throughout the country. Some plaintiffs brought their cases to the federal courts, where they deliberated at great length about the nature of secular humanism and religion. If courts (or school boards or other government bodies) would recognize that secular humanism is a religion, they might be forced to remove it from public institutions, including but not limited to the schools.

IN THEIR LAWSUIT against Mayor Bowser, the plaintiffs utilize these familiar arguments. But what caught my eye was their style and their citations. They write in the language of the online right, trolling with an ironic edge and a sneer. They denounce Bowsers actions as virtue signaling. They write, Because the Plaintiffs are color blind they are not sure what race [Bowser] is, just as they are not sure what race they are, but none of that matters. This is the style of Ben Shapiro, not Cornelius Van Til. Neither do their citations bespeak a deep training in the world of Christian Reconstruction. In defining secular humanism, where we might expect to see Rushdoony or Schaeffer, they mention two sources who have spoken occasionally about the subject: conservative Presbyterian pastor Tim Keller and Michael Knowles, the Catholic media personality who writes for Shapiros The Daily Wire and hosts his own podcast and cohosts another with Ted Cruz. Their footnote about secular humanism contains only a link to a Facebook video in which Shapiro describes the religion of wokeness (he does not use the term secular humanism) and analyzes the rituals of public protest following the death of George Floyd. The plaintiffs are not well-trained Rushdoony disciples or crafty operatives of the conservative legal movement. They are, like many people, dabbling in a hodge-podge of rightwing contentas the always-blurry lines between the Republican Party, cheap-shock provocateurs, respectable National Review-style intellectual conservatism, patriot-movement extremists, and the wide world of white evangelicalism get even blurriereclectically grabbing ideas where they find them. Which is to say, they are using Facebook.

Today, you can hear about the dangers of secular humanism through Facebook or YouTube, as the algorithm bounces you from Fox News to Turning Point USA to QAnon to someone like Rich Penkoski. Online, secular humanism becomes a meme, a trollish gimmick to own the libs. But, in some ways, it always has been. It was, from the start, an oppositional ideology concerned foremost with identifying its others. In a world of misinformation and alternative facts, it might seem like radical ideas spread more easily, like contagion infecting the unsuspecting and earnest. But this might presume, wrongly, that racist projects of exclusion and dominance were somehow separate from the theologies that bolstered them. The accusation that BLM is a secular humanist cult is not a simply religious idea twisted into racism, just as the Trumpian version of the Christian Right is not a corrupted faith that was once pure. The authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism so evident now were part of the Christian Right from its beginnings.

Penkoski et al.s lawsuit evinces, not to put too fine a point on it, a logic of segregation. It draws from a deep well of anti-Blackness, in theory and practice, from traditions forged in opposition to equality. If secular humanism and Christianity are divided by parallel lines, there can be no common ground. Control of the public sphere is a power play. Their project is not antidemocratic, per se. Rather, it employs the tools and rhetoric of liberal democracy to accomplish exclusionary aims.

The plaintiffs proposed that the District remove BLACK LIVES MATTER from the street and paint on others BLUE LIVES MATTER, GREEN LIVES MATTER (for the National Guard troops who fought protesters), and ALL LIVES MATTER. These statements, they argued, are truly secular and public. Unlike Defendant Bowser, the Plaintiffs are not before this Court attempting to unconstitutionally convert the government into their own private church in a pathetic effort to feel less shamed and inadequate. They shift into the language of feelings. As they walk past and are exposed to the unavoidable Black Lives Matter display, they feel excluded. We might analogize this feeling to that of a Jewish child viewing a creche in her public school or an atheist walking by a granite decalogue on their way into a courthouse. Its the feeling that youre not part of the we. That yellow paint is intended to convey to all citizens that Black Lives Matters [sic] is the favored religion of the city of [sic] and of the Nation. This is the message the Plaintiffs receive. What they seek is more than an accommodation. They want to feel included.

But, I would argue, what they want is not just inclusion. Not equality, but power. The type of power that comes from ostensible race-blindness, from a surface-level equality that masks and thus perpetuates deep structures of inequality. When they say that all lives matter is a secular statement and Black lives matter is a (bad) religious one, they make a textbook secularist move, pretending to universality and neutrality. The color of their public sphere cannot be Black, only All, provided they are protected, through violence, by blue and green. And what is whiteness if not the right to exclude? Its a feeling of inclusion that depends on violent exclusion.

Charles McCrary is a postdoctoral research scholar at the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict at Arizona State University, on the project Beyond Secularization: Religion, Science, and Technology in Public Life. He is a former postdoctoral fellow at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics.

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2020 Best of the Beat Forsyth County Edition: Black Lives Matter – Triad City Beat

We would be remiss if we didnt write about the uprising that has swept the nation and our local cities over the past year. This years twin pandemic of the coronavirus as well as systemic racism have been in full effect but the power and persistence of local activists in support of Black lives has been nothing short of awe-inspiring. Starting with protests that hit the streets and shut down grocery stores and made their way to the mayors house, the wave of energy culminated in a weeks-long occupation of Bailey Park in which a coalition of Black and Brown activists demanded transparency and accountability for the death of John Neville in the Forsyth County jail. And though progress can be slow at times, the sustained efforts of Black and Brown activists, particularly those by women of color, made all the difference in the city this past year with changed policies within the jail and more. As we all know, the work is not over, but these local groups and individuals have made it clear that they are here to stay and that their collective voices cannot be silenced. Our cities are vastly better because of their efforts and we all owe the progress that has been made to their tireless resistance.

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Organizer of Black Lives Matter mural in Florence requests that the city does not remove it – WBTW

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) A representative from the community organization that painted the mural requested that the city hold off on removing the mural during a Florence City Council meeting.

C. Wyleek Cummings called in during public comment to make his request to the city council during Mondays meeting. Cummings requested that the city holds off on removing the mural until all vacant council seats are filled.

In October, the city authorized a temporary mural to be painted with biodegradable paint that would wash away after a normal rain cycle. Cummingss organization agreed to the terms but used permanent paint instead.

Former Mayor Stephen Wukela announced that the mural would be removed due to racist messages painted on it and that it was intended to be temporary.

Newly elected Mayor Teresa Myers Ervin said during the meeting that the city planned to install two-speed bumps on that road prior to the mural being painted.

Council, however, did not move to discuss the mural further, so no action was taken.

Ervin, the first female and African-American mayor of Florence, added that she has commissioned a cultural art team for the City of Florence that will allow for more artwork in the city.

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What’s Happened To Charlotte’s Black-Owned Businesses In The Wake Of COVID-19 And BLM Movement? – WFAE

In the first half of 2020, COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement impacted Black-owned businesses across North Carolina. But months have passed and it's autumn, now. How are those same businesses faring after everything that's happened this year?

Shamika and Roberto Brooks own Hip Hop Smoothies in Charlotte. The shop has a menu with hip-hop-inspired flavor names like "Turn Down for What" and "Fight the Power."

They operate both a store and a red food truck that goes to various places around the Queen City.

With the truck, we are set up in a different location [that] is never the same spot," Shamika Brooks said. "And with COVID, week-to-week, we could be at a different location.

COVID-19 has affected bars, restaurants and businesses like Hip Hop Smoothies. By working out of their food truck, Brooks was able to social distance and still serve smoothies to her customers.

Then in June, protests over police brutality and systemic racism brought attention to Black-owned businesses like hers.

Once Black Lives Matter kicked into gear, people were really intentionally looking for places to spend their hard-earned money, Brooks said. And we've seen a great impact from our supporters ... because they have really come out and supported us.

To find Black-owned businesses, some turned to food blogs, like Cory Wilkins The Daily Special Charlotte.

His Instagram, which includes Black-owned Charlotte eateries, fills feeds with images of tasty food and information. Wilkins said that even before this year, his page served as a first stop for those wanting to support Black businesses in Charlotte.

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That was one of the reasons that people kind of gravitated towards my Instagram page, I believe, even before all of this was because I was featuring a lot of these faces, Wilkins said.

The increased attention to Black-owned businesses wasnt just directed at restaurants. Shelves Bookstore owner Abbigail Glen was struggling during the shutdown. Her business is a mobile pop-up bookstore.

I jumped into COVID. I was making sales by way of that order form, and then I had a slowdown and I thought I was going to have to back out to work full time to fund my business, Glen said.

And then the protests started.

On June 1 was the beginning of like a wave of book orders," Glen said. "Everybody started buying books. It just has been non-stop ever since.

In addition to her online bookstore, Glen is active on social media, where she continues to host live discussions and events.

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James Mack, who owns Epic Times, a jewelry store uptown, saw his business affected in a different way by the protests: A group of people smashed into his store and stole a lot of his merchandise.

That was that was extremely unfortunate because I was looking forward to things picking up and getting back to normal, Mack said. And that particular incident led to another two months shut down. So we missed a lot of that economic boost from different sources of income that individuals had obtained.

Mack said other businesses near him have shut down permanently due to the pandemic. But business has started to pick up, in person and online.

It wasn't like the old days, but it definitely was much more pronounced foot traffic, Mack said of Labor Day weekend. Im hopeful and if we can hold on Im sure well make it through.

At the Charlotte Mecklenburg Black Chamber of Commerce, executive director Shant Williams sees Charlottes Black-owned business community growing right along with its Black population.

Hopefully we see flowing money in both directions, because if we're able to drive more revenue to Black businesses, you know, they will have more capital to reinvest in themselves," she said.

Williams said that by investing in Black-owned businesses, all of Charlotte benefits.

Alexandra Watts joined WFAE as a Report for America Corps Member in 2020 in the unique partnership with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library using radio and Wikipedia to fill news deserts.

Click here for the latest coronavirus news on WFAEs live blog.

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Youth Spotlight Column: Black lives matter in the hearts of Ipswich Students – The Local Ne.ws

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When George Floyd and Breonna Taylor died this spring, the town of Ipswich and the surrounding towns protested. Many of my classmates stood at the center of town and held signs. Several of the churches held prayer vigils. We began to study and do trainings. I also attended a large gathering in Amesbury.

I arrived in Amesbury curious and impassioned. As my eyes scanned the roaring crowd, I realized that the Black Lives Matter protests were not just led by people fighting for what they thought was right. It was a powerful movement led by bruised families working for what they knew needed to be changed.

This specific protest touched me in a way that I could not have anticipated. The sight of all of those hurt people chanting I cant breathe! I cant breathe! showed me what humans are really capable of: a unified call for justice. Citizens standing up and making history is a powerful thing, especially being a part of it first-hand. I am appreciative to live in an area where pressing issues are finally moving to the forefront.

As the summer unfolded, Black Lives Matter motorcades wove their way through Ipswich, hooting their horns, waving signs, exchanging greetings with people, and honoring the social distance challenges. Barbara Carson, age 94, was there in the middle of it. She says I had to do something. I couldnt just sit around. So I took to the streets.

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These issues have been put off for too long. Now they are peeking through the clouds. Light is shining on an important movement that needs to grow and be seen.

Beylen Curtis is an Ipswich High School sophomore

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If you want to send a check instead, please mail it to:Ipswich Local NewsPO Box 183Ipswich, MA 01938.

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