URL Media Weekly
Monday, November 22, 2021

You might notice this newsletter looks a little different this week as we experiment with different formats to optimize the great content from our partners. We're going heavier on photos (we know how much image and visuals matter in setting narrative so we are trying to better represent) and trying to give you more of a taste of the great stories across our network. 

A note on the photo above: Meet Antonio Cordova, a lawyer and pharma exec from Ecuador. He arrived in Queens in February 2020, weeks before lockdown, and has eked out a living as a street vendor selling masks. Epicenter-NYC reporter Andrea Pineda-Salgado has been keeping up with him through the pandemic and he recently shared two wishes: One for next year (to buy a house) and one for the holiday season (a warm coat). 

We also divide the newsletter into sections that fit URL Media's mission: Uplift, Respect, Love. This week, we look at ways our partners captured the uplift of our communities, respect our arts and culture, and center love for ourselves. 

S. Mitra Kalita
CEO of URL Media
Publisher of Epicenter-NYC

 What We're Talking About 

On Friday, a jury found Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager who shot three people, two fatally, amid the protests over the killing of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, not guilty on all counts.

Shortly after the verdict, President Biden said "I stand by what the jury has concluded. The jury system works and we have to abide it." While Vice President Kamala Harris said the verdict, "speaks for itself." Social media was full of reactions, and one that particularly resonated came from author Frederick Joseph. Joseph took to Twitter to say "There are Black and Brown folks in prison for most of their lives over weed, but a white person can just cross state lines with an automatic weapon and murder people with no repercussions. You can't fix a "justice" system that is working as intended."

URL Media and our partners are committed to reporting that explores the imbalances of the criminal justice system in the U.S.  Follow our coverage.

 Uplifting our Communities 

Demanding Action: Amid rising violence in Haiti and a recent migration crisis, many activists and faith leaders are demanding U.S. action on Haiti. Our partner The Haitian Times reports many in the diaspora feel compelled to speak up for Haitians who do not have a voice. 

Vax Populi: Former MLB player Carlos Delgado is among many Latino athletes battling on the frontlines of COVID-19 vaccination misinformation. Our partner .palabra digs deeper –why does Delgado’s message resonate with so many Latinos? And why is Delgado so committed to setting the record straight and getting vaccines in more arms.  
Three Nurses: Far Rockaway remains one of New York City’s least vaccinated populations, with only 44.6%  of residents fully vaccinated. So, three local nurses pound the pavement in Far Rockaway weekly to encourage residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19. These nurses say they are meeting the community where they are; many residents still lack access to both correct information about the safety of the vaccine and the actual vaccine itself.  Epicenter NYC shares this community's story
Past safety training materials hang from the office of Workers Justice Project, an organization that seeks to empower day laborers to organize for their rights in New York. (Photo by Hannah Critchfield)
In Search of the American Dream: Ecuadoreans are crossing the US-Mexico border at record rates, and many are arriving in New York City to find work in the day labor market. Documented reports on how their growing numbers put themselves — and other longtime day laborers — at an elevated risk for exploitation.
Civil Rights Scorecard: Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, joined WURD Radio's "Reality Check" with host Charles Ellison to discuss the first-ever Civil Rights Scorecard, which grades senators on their performance defending voting rights. 
Protecting Workers' Rights: 
Last year, more than 170 migrant farmworkers caught COVID-19 at Green Empire Farms, an Upstate New York greenhouse. What happened? Documented has an in-depth look at the state's biggest COVID outbreak and how employers failed to protect their farmworkers.

 Respecting & Honoring Arts & Culture 

Honoring Tradition and Culture: Celebrated Minnesota artist George Morrison — who was born in a Native American fishing village along the North Shore of Lake Superior in 1919, but whose art career took him around the world — will be featured on a new stamp series to be released next year by the U.S. Postal Service.  The Sahan Journal has the full story. 
Debunking Myths about Native Americans: American academic, journalist and author Dina Gilio-Whitaker joined WURD Radio's Nick Taliaferro for our 10th edition of the Black WURDS Book Club.She discussed the book she co-authored, "All the Real Indians Died Off: And 20 Other Myths About Native Americans," and unpacked the history of Indigenous people of this land.
Artist Soumiya Lakshmi Krishnaswamy taps into her emotional scars to showcase the connection between her American and Indian roots. Read more at Epicenter NYC.

 Centering Love 

Rebecca (left), Vanessa (middle), and Vienna (right) are migrators from Honduras who wanted to live better live as transgender women in the US. (Photo by Zaydee Sanchez for Palabra)
Love in the Face of Adversity: Facing bigotry and violence in their native Honduras, many transgender people choose to flee. Some of those who stay behind look beyond intolerance and work for change .palabra tells their story of love and perseverance. 
Chenue Her of Good Morning Iowa (left) and Gia Vang of KARE 11 (right) are making waves in news by trying to represent diversity in their stories. (The picture was taken by Jaida Grey Eagle For Sahan Journal) 
Centering Diversity in Journalism:
Local news anchors Chenue Her and Gia Vang didn’t necessarily dream of careers in broadcast journalism.But along the way, they’ve found ways to highlight the stories of their Hmong community—and one another—in an industry reconciling with deep-rooted diversity issues. And for both Her and Vang, centering culture, diversity and inclusion in their journalistic storytelling is critical. 
The Sahan Journal shares their backstory

 What We're Loving This Week From Our Partners 

Scalawag’s Salt, Soil and Supper features Tex-Mex chef Adan Medráno as he explores the connection between food and culture. Medrano talks about the influence Texas-Mexican cuisine has had across the American South – and as a bonus for readers – he shares a delectable recipe for mirliton soup, or sopa de chayote. Check it out!
Epicenter NYC and TBN24 teamed up to present a livestream to help parents and caregivers learn more about the children’s COVID-19 vaccine. If you missed it, you can watch it here. 

 The URLs on URL 

The Sahan Journal is the recipient of a national independent news award for its work covering and reaching immigrant communities in Minnesota.


The Laura Flanders Show: Climate Change Journalism: Moving Frontline Communities from the Sideline to the Center: Could a city reduce violent crime by planting more trees? How will the culture of work adapt to the climate crisis? In this month’s edition of Meet the BIPOC Press on “The Laura Flanders Show,” guest hosts Sara Lomax-Reese and Mitra Kalita from URL Media explore these questions with Scalawag Magazine editor Ko Bragg, Reality Check host Charles Ellison and Haitian Times founder/publisher Garry Pierre-Pierre. If you missed it, you can watch here.

 Join URL Media Events 

Watch Documented's The State of Labor Law and the Construction Industry in New York 
Dozens of construction workers die on the job every year, many of whom are undocumented immigrants. Their families are left without an income and often receive little compensation for their lost loved ones. Construction companies often face few consequences for deaths of their workers. Maurizio Guerrero, an investigative reporter and Documented contributor, spent several months investigating these issues. You can watch and find more details here.

WURD Radio's Empowerment Experience
Mark your calendars for Friday, Dec. 17, when WURD will host its 2021 Empowerment Experience! This year's theme is "The Power, Purpose and Possibility of Black Women: Conversations on Healing and Wholeness." Stay tuned for more details on this all-virtual event.

The Laura Flanders Show
Once a month, you can catch URL Media on The Laura Flanders Show on select PBS stations for a conversation that centers the stories, issues and concerns that our BIPOC media partners are following. Click here to check your local TV listing.  Here’s how you can watch our latest.

 Our Founders & Partners 

Sara Lomax-Reese, CEO of WURD Radio, Media entrepreneur of almost 30 years, served as Program Lead for the inaugural Facebook BIPOC Sustainability Accelerator and currently JSK Fellow.
S. Mitra Kalita, former SVP at CNN Digital, current CEO & Publisher at Kalita Mukul Creative Inc., has worked at Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, LA Times, and has launched brands like Mint and Quartz.
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