URL Media Weekly
Friday, April 1, 2022
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 What We're Talking About


 “Girls, I know it has not been easy as I have tried to navigate the challenges of juggling my career and motherhood. And I fully admit that I did not always get the balance right. But I hope that you have seen that with hard work, determination, and love, it can be done…”

- Ketanji Brown Jackson, U.S. Supreme Court nominee

Sometimes we all need a reminder of how wonderful we are, and watching Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s poise and brilliance over the four-day long Supreme Court hearings was just that — the affirmation we all needed. On display was an outpouring of love and support for Jackson — feelings she returned generously and graciously to supporters and detractors alike. And also on display was the expected sizable dose of skepticism and skeptics, who used their time with Jackson to engage in a combative line of questioning and in some instances hurl subtle and not so subtle denigrating messages. With the hearings done for now many of us are wondering about the outcome. Will Jackson become the next Supreme Court justice?

In a continuing outpouring of support, our partner Native News Online reports that this week two leading national Native American organizations have endorsed Jackson’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a letter released Monday, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) said, "We hope that this historic appointment will continue to open doors for qualified Native American justices across the federal bench and Supreme Court."  The organizations went a step further adding that nominating a federal court judge who both is a tribal citizen, and has an understanding of tribal sovereignty and federal Indian law would be the next step in advancing sovereign-to-sovereign relations. Although Jackson is not a tribal citizen, she has expressed her understanding of Native tribes' sovereignty. 

As for the hearings, they "just landed different for some of us," explains our co-founder, S. Mitra Kalita. In her weekly column for Charter she calls into question the "outdated version of America that some people are desperately trying to hold on to." As women of color, we are accustomed to this (tired) narrative, and like Jackson, " because women of color know the institutions they seek to penetrate cannot support them, they come prepared. So it was for Jackson, calm and collected for the entirety of her testimony. She cried twice, when senator Cory Booker, who is Black, and senator Alex Padilla, who is Latino, expressed support."  Yet we are still left to ponder whether Jackson's composure was enough. 

More importantly, perhaps, how are Black communities feeling and processing the hearings? Roshni Nedungadi, a founding partner of HIT Strategies, recently conducted a survey on Black voter sentiment surrounding Jackson's nomination. She explains to WURD Radio's Charles Ellison that how Jackson is treated during this process could rally Black voters to come out in droves during this year's midterm election.

It looks like the anticipation will continue to grow as we await the confirmation decision; the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to cast their vote to advance her nomination on Monday, April 4. If confirmed by the full Senate, Jackson will make history as the first Black Woman to ever serve as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

Keep an eye on our network partners' coverage of the vote next week. 

Uplift. Respect. Love.

So much to talk about this week — and unless you've had your head stuck in the sand, you've likely heard about the "slap heard 'round the world" at this year's Oscars. Our partner WURD Radio has every angle covered:

 Uplifting our Communities 

The Future of Rikers Island: According to Epicenter-NYC, New York City residents are infuriated by the construction of four new, "borough based" jails in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. Former NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed the construction in 2017 after making the commitment to close Rikers Island prison complex, and ultimately relocate 3,300 prisoners by 2027. Epicenter-NYC reporter Andrea Pineda-Salgado sat down with Garrett Jacobs, director of advocacy at Designing Justice + Designing Spaces (DJDS), a nonprofit architecture and real estate development firm dedicated to ending mass incarceration and structural inequity, to talk about how New York City can benefit from having an ‘alternative space’ to the concept of borough-based jails. 

Thousands of Street Food Vendors Are Unable to Gain Permits in NYC: The struggle is real for unlicensed NYC food vendors who are being hit with $1000 fines. Now, $1000 may not seem like much to some, but for many of these food vendors it's over a week's salary. And the problem for many vendors is that mobile food permits are hard to come by. Documented profiles Sonia Perez, 51, a street food vendor from Bushwick, Brooklyn, who prepares traditional Mexican breakfast staples to make ends meet. Perez is one of an estimated 20,000 vendors on the city streets —of which 71% do not have permits according to the Street Vendor Project (SVP), a local advocacy project. 
Minneapolis Park Board’s Only Commissioner of Color Vows to Include People Who’ve Been Left Out:  Sahan Journal profiles Alicia D. Smith — the Twin Cities’ newly elected parks commissioner. Smith explains how her experiences as well as the relationships she formed at her local park in North Minneapolis have helped shape her vision for the city’s parks system. Over the next four years, Smith says she hopes to restore faith in the park system by creating programming that is accessible and attractive to people from all communities. 

 Respecting & Honoring Arts & Culture 

 President Biden Proposes Historic Budget for Indian Country: Native News Online reports that the Biden-Harris Administration’s proposed $5.8 trillion 2023 budget to Congress includes a historic $4.5 billion investment in Tribal communities–an increase of 19% or $2.9 billion from 2022. According to the White House, it is the first time in U.S. history that the President’s budget reflects direct consultation with Tribal communities. The 2023 budget request includes increased funding for many critical issues in Indian Country like public safety and justice operations under the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). There are also funds for social services to Indian families, supporting Indian land consolidation, and empowering Tribal communities. 

 Centering Love 

An Afro-Latina Helps Women Shift Cultural Stereotypes:  "Not everyone looks the same just because they’re from the same country or culture," words Franchela Ulises cannot emphasize enough. Born in the Virgin Islands to Dominican parents, and raised in Arizona, Ulises knows all too well what it is like to feel like an outcast. Our partner Palabra unpacks "Mujeres of all Shades," the organization Ulises started to help women of all races and cultural and ethnic backgrounds champion their own style, identities, expressions of beauty and brilliance, while breaking down cultural stereotypes. 

 What We're Loving This Week From Our Partners 

Bilingual in Sarcasm y Solidaridad: Scalawag lifts the veil on the world of LatinX radio host and Dallas native, Eva Arreguin. Arreguin's radio show, De Colores, meaning of colors is intended to uplift all colors, voices, and cultures in BIPOC communities. The 28-year-old Tejana host explains her vision saying, "With De Colores, I want to have honest, radical conversations, but also create joy and have fun and love in here too—because it's necessary." Read more about Arreguin and her movement here. 
Changing the Narrative at the Academy Awards: Sunday's awards show is one for the history books! And while we are still unpacking all that transpired, we want to give a nod to the important and notable wins of Ariana Debose, the first queer Afro-Latina to win an Oscar, Will SmithQuestlove, Yvette Merino, and the entire cast of "Coda!" Tim Gordon, publisher for TheFilmGordon and WETA's Around Town critic, spoke about the incident between Will Smith and Chris Rock, as well as Smith's Best Actor win later that night.

 The URLs on URL 

Women making history: Kudos to our co-founder S. Mitra Kalita! The Local Media Association has recognized Kalita along with nine other women for innovation in local media. Kalita says she is, "still learning" in reference to centering Black and Brown Communities adding that It requires us to redefine the rules of journalism as taught in graduate school and ethical case studies. Can you think of a better way to wrap up Women's History Month? We can't! Read the full article here.

URL Media Events 

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 

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


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