URL Media Weekly
Friday, December 17, 2021
"Rarely, if ever, are any of us healed in isolation. Healing is an act of communion." — bell hooks

We honor and remember bell hooks — Black, womanist, scholar and social activist. hooks,69, died this week leaving behind a legacy that includes reshaping the conversation around women's rights. hooks fought to ensure that the women's movement recognizes and takes into account the diverse experiences of Black and working-class women. 

 A Note from Our Founders

Hello, friends:  

We launched URL Media in January of 2021 — it has been one of the most meaningful career decisions we’ve made. As we look back on the year that was we are grateful for finding and building a community that centers the Black experience and BIPOC communities. As we look ahead, we are excited to continue to build out this network of high performing community media, serving Black and Brown people, owned by Black and Brown founders, and disrupting power structures. 

As we embark on another winter, we are warmed by the consistency of your support. Many thanks to you, our loyal, dedicated URL Media family, for standing with us consistently, through the seasons. Thank you for being a part of our mission. We look forward to seeing you in the New Year and continuing on this journey together.

During this season, we sincerely hope you and yours have the opportunity to take a beat, reflect and reset. With that said, we are taking a short break — this is our last newsletter for 2021; please take it in and share with your networks. We will be back on Friday, January 7th.

We wish you much health, prosperity and joy.

With gratitude,

Sara, Mitra and the entire URL Media Team

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.

 Uplifting our Communities 

Haiti Hostages Freed: “We glorify God for answered prayer — the remaining twelve hostages are FREE,” the note reads. “Join us in praising God that all seventeen of our loved ones are now safe. Thank you for your fervent prayers throughout the past two months.” The remaining 12 Christian Aid Ministries missionaries were released Wednesday night, according to news site Vant Bef Info. The 400 Mawozo gang, which claimed responsibility for kidnapping the 17 Christians - including five children - on Oct. 16 had asked for a ransom of $1 million per person. It is unclear if the ransom was paid. The Haitian Times provides continuing coverage.

The Right to Vote: New York City will allow green card holders, people with work authorization and people who have been living in the city for at least 30 days the right to vote in local elections — it is the largest municipality in the nation to do so. The voting rights do not extend beyond local elections so noncitizen city residents will not be able to vote in state or federal elections. The New York City Council recently passed legislation granting voting rights to an estimated 800,000 noncitizen New Yorkers. The legislation passed with a veto proof majority — even if the mayor were to veto the bill, the supermajority would override that decision. Documented NY breaks down the significance of the new legislation for New Yorkers — and beyond.

Building a Safer Haiti: A surge in gang violence, including a spate of kidnappings, across Haiti is hampering the local government's efforts to stabilize and rebuild the country after this Summer's devastating earthquake and the assassination of the Haitian President. While some Haitians call for a stronger response from the U.S., security experts say American and Haitian authorities have little leverage. The Haitian Times outlines the challenges ahead for the island nation.
Educating Black Kids: WURD Radio host Andrea Lawful-Sanders led a panel discussion on her show "The Source" about educating Black children, and how to address persistent racial equity gaps. Lawful-Sanders and several public school educators talked about the challenges that exist due to a lack of understanding the history of public education, and how it impacts Black students' success.

An English-Only Requirement: Federal courts, and the vast majority of state courts, require that jurors be able to speak and understand English. But that hasn’t always been the case. In some instances, some courts have used interpreters. The Sahan Journal in collaboration with Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) digs into this seemingly new requirement and why some worry it’s a proxy for race. 

 Respecting & Honoring Arts & Culture 

An Enduring Ethereal Phenomenon: 
The Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Morenita del Tepeyac (the “Little Brown Virgin of Tepeyac”), is observed annually on December 11th. And for many Mexicans and Mexican Americans, it is a family tradition —passed down from one generation to the next —to honor the mother of God, but also the indigenous people to whom, as Catholic and Mexican legend has it, appeared almost 500 years ago. Maritza Felix, for palabra., explores the tradition and why, five centuries later, so many Mexicans and Mexican Americans remain devoted to the Virgin of Guadalupe. 

Where Fiction Meets Reality: Black Southern author Jocelyn Nicole Johnson explores the meaning of home and the sense of belonging for Black Southerners in her debut collection of short stories "My Monticello."  Johnson's collection is an exploration of what it means to live in a place where you feel dispossessed. Scalawag offers a review of Johnson's book and a short video interview. 

In Shade She Calms (Purple) 2021. 108” x 60” acrylic on canvas

Deities, Gods and Incarnations: Large-scale paintings featuring irreverent, colorful, fantastical imagery are a hallmark of artist Mike Estabrook's latest series now on exhibit throughout New York City. Estabrook is a Brooklyn, New York based artist originally from Quincy, Illinois and is Epicenter NYC's featured artist of the week. Learn more about Estabrook and experience his work. 

 Centering Love 

Black Love Grows Across Time and Space: Jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon’s new studio album “Time Traveler” touches on grief and the eternal power of Black love over space and time. Read Scalawag's review of Freelon's latest album

Student-led Movement to Fund Basic Needs: Community colleges are a critical higher-education pathway for many students of color and immigrants. Roughly 42 percent of Minnesota community college students said they could not afford to eat balanced meals and go hungry for long stretches of time —impacting their ability to stay and succeed in school. The Sahan Journal details how a student-led movement is helping many undergrads achieve food security.

National Scholarship for Afro-Latino Students: The Fidler family and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists - palabra.'s founding organization - this week announced a scholarship program aimed at increasing Afro-Latino representation in newsrooms. The scholarship will be awarded to Afro-Latino students pursuing careers in English and Spanish-language journalism in honor of the late Ada Lourdes Fidler (née Vigo). Learn more here.

 What We're Loving This Week From Our Partners 

The Pandemic Divide: Pilar Marrero writes for palabra. the pandemic has deeply impacted relationships with family and friends alike —especially when it comes to the question of whether to vaccinate or not.  Marrero goes on to explore, “Whatever our individual answers, they’re likely to lead to a deeper and more permanent question: can we go on loving or living close to those whose science denialism, conspiracy tendencies, or personal philosophy may be dangerous to themselves and others?” A must read before your holiday gatherings this season.

Finding Lessons and Inspiration from the Lockdown and Beyond: Make sure you have a listen to the latest episode of Epicenter-NYC's podcast to learn more about one food pantry’s journey through a pandemic that claimed the life of its pastor, the dignity of choosing what you eat and what’s needed now.

And you don't want to miss a conversation about ALONE/TOGETHER, which is a uniquely participatory documentary featuring artists, travelers, teachers, children, parents and essential workers around the world, struggling and persevering through a deadly pandemic. Epicenter NYC talks with the film’s director Hsuan Yu Pan and producer Nancy Wolfe to  discuss themes from the film that reflect New Yorkers’ experience of the pandemic, such as mental health issues, anti-Asian racism, fear of the disease, and how parents cope with online learning.

 The URLs on URL 

(L) Mukhtar Ibrahim, The Sahan Journal                             (R) Garry Pierre-Pierre, The Haitian Times 

The Columbia Journalism School Office of Alumni and Development recognized Mukhtar Ibrahim, editor and executive director of Sahan Journal, with a 2022 Alumni Award. Winners are selected by a panel of judges and demonstrate the qualities valued at the J-School: curiosity, persistence, creativity and adherence to the truth.

The Columbia Journalism School named Haitian Times Publisher Garry Pierre-Pierre a 2022 Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program fellow. The program is a five-month residency named after New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, and offers newsroom leaders an opportunity to complete projects aligned with their publication’s mission. The class of 24 fellows includes journalists from organizations around the world.

 Join URL Media Events 

WURD Radio's Empowerment Experience: Today, WURD is hosting its 2021 Empowerment Experience! This year's theme is "The Power, Purpose and Possibility of Black Women: Conversations on Healing and Wholeness." The event kicks off at 1pmET with bestselling author and national speaker Dr. Robin L. Smith. This year’s theme is “The Power, Purpose and Possibility of Black Women: Conversations on Healing and Wholeness."
More details here.
Final Weeks of 'Celestial Bodies': The first ever, in real life exhibition of artists from the Epicenter-NYC artist archive is being held at The Local, a beautifully renovated industrial space in Long Island City, New York. The exhibition explores an expanded definition of paintings including video pieces.  The concept of ‘Celestial Bodies’ unifies the work of six artists who explore spaces and forms where figure and ground might merge or dissolve into each other. The exhibit will run through the end of the year - so if you find yourself in NYC you don't want to miss it!  More details here.

ICYMI: Scalawag's 2021 Jubilee: A southern ass evening of liberatory litScalawag hosted its annual jubilee of liberatory literature and communal conversations last night. For a recap and excerpts from the celebration please click here.

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 Partners 

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