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URL Media Weekly
Friday, January 14th, 2022
"We must recognize that we can’t solve our problem now until there is a radical redistribution of economic and political power... this means a revolution of values and other things. We must see now that the evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism are all tied together… you can’t really get rid of one without getting rid of the others… the whole structure of American life must be changed. America is a hypocritical nation and [we] must put [our] own house in order." 
— Martin Luther King Jr., May 1967


We honor and remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.— Black, activist, change agent, author and Civil Rights leader and icon.
January 15, 1929 - April 4, 1968
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Hello, Friends:

"I have often thought that Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy is woefully incomplete. We celebrate him as an almost mythical figure whose sole purpose was to eradicate racial injustice."

With these wordsPhiladelphia's WURD Radio morning anchor Solomon Jones remembered MLK Jr. in 2016. We invoke them today as they are just as relevant. Jones goes on to write, "King, if he were alive, would beg to differ with that assessment, because he fought for far more than racial equality. He fought to dismantle the very system upon which racial segregation was built and maintained. He fought to eradicate poverty."

This week's newsletter features a range of stories focused on the uplift of our people. One must-read from Scalawag delves into the patchwork systems of reparations being administered by grassroots groups, local governments and other institutions around the country. Said a woman in Western Massachusetts who has begun making such payments in her community: "I felt, if I'm going to wait for the government to get on board with reparations, then how long am I going to be waiting?" 

Indeed. 

Sara Lomax-Reese & S. Mitra Kalita
Founders, URL Media

 

 Uplifting our Communities 

Grassroots Reparations: The Virginia Theological Seminary is one of many local organizations across the country offering reparations and stepping up to acknowledge and account for the harm and legacy of enslavement. "It's not just about the money. It's about, for one thing, telling the truth about the seminary's history… [and] it's about developing a true and authentic and equitable enough relationship with the families and the descendants," explains Joseph Thompson, the director of multicultural ministries and assistant professor of race and ethnicity studies at the Virginia Theological Seminary. Scalawag details how nationwide local groups are filling the gap until federal reparations are enacted.

Speaking Out: Guadalupe, a 60-year-old onion packer with diabetes and arthritis, and Gerardo, his co-worker and neighbor, are currently engaged in a lawsuit against their employer who they say failed to provide heat for more than six weeks in their farmworker housing in upstate New York. The temperatures dropped below freezing on 16 days, and reached zero five times at the Hudson Valley farm where they work. Court documents show the men were "constructively evicted" from their homes on Gurda Gardens, an onion and lettuce packinghouse that has been in business for over 40 years. Constructive eviction — a process in which a landlord makes a tenant’s home uninhabitable, forcing them to vacate — is illegal. Documented dug into the case here.

Students and the Omicron Variant:
This week, many students returned to in person learning, and parents were left grappling with confusing CDC guidelines related to testing, quarantine and vaccines, while also trying to contain concerns about the highly contagious Omicron variant. Sahan Journal interviewed Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, to help provide context, critical information and tips on how best to mitigate contracting the virus.  

 

Political Representation: Epicenter NYC reports New York City council representatives look like the constituents they represent, and for the first time ever there will be a women majority—31 out of 51 council members. There are also numerous firsts that are worth noting. Many members will be the first of their gender, race and/or ethnicity to represent their district. This new class of city council members will be the role models for the future diverse leaders that are yet to come. 
 
Professor Under Fire: This week on WURD Radio, Evening WURD host Nick Taliaferro and Philadelphia City Councilmember At-Large David Oh discussed the inflammatory comments of Penn professor Amy Wax and their racist undertones. The show offers a historical analysis centered on what is at the root of the professor's comments and why it is so problematic.

 Respecting & Honoring Arts & Culture 

Blurring Transnational Boundaries: Epicenter NYC's featured artist is Sanié Bokhari, an artist living and working in New York City, born in Lahore, Pakistan. Bokhari earned a fine arts degree from the National College of Arts in Lahore, where she also taught for two years. She works in a range of mediums, including painting, drawing and sculpture. Bokhari’s objective is to explore, understand and process the experience of a transnational woman, marked by the history of colonial rule, while grappling with the inherent racism that exists in American culture.

 Centering Love 

A Safe Haven in New York State: Documented’s latest report takes a closer look at Ithaca— a city in central New York — which has become one of the state’s major hubs for refugee resettlement. Home to two universities nestled in the scenic Finger Lakes region, the city has become an unlikely place of refuge for those fleeing dangerous situations in Myanmar, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Syria and beyond. New York state resettled 820 refugees during the 2020 fiscal year. The majority of refugees — 520 — were resettled in upstate New York. Documented spoke to immigrants who settled in Ithaca and are now a part of a sprawling community of refugees, asylum seekers and dissidents. 

Yu and Me Books: New York City’s first Asian-American, female-run bookstore recently opened on Mulberry Street in Chinatown. Yu and Me Books, the brainchild of 27-year-old chemical engineer Lucy Yu, is already well on its way to becoming a neighborhood institution. Epicenter NYC profiles the new neighborhood gem that distinguishes itself from others in the area by featuring an overwhelming selection from Asian and Asian-American writers. 

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 What We're Loving This Week From Our Partners 

Calling on the 'Village': This week, Gary Pierre-Pierre, founder of The Haitian Times, announced a month-long training program for aspiring Haitian journalists committed to building an accurate and functioning media ecosystem in Haiti. "Over the years, the journalism landscape has been a casualty of Haiti’s turmoil as decent journalists joined the hundreds of thousands who left the country seeking a better life. The effect of that migration has been laid bare during these recent moments when the world’s attention has turned toward Haiti," wrote Pierre-Pierre. He penned this impassioned plea calling on corporations, foundations, advertisers and entrepreneurs to step up and be a part of the solution.  

A Profile in Courage: In 2017, Andre Jenkins made history as the first Black transgender woman elected to public office. Jenkins will now serve as the president of Minneapolis City Council. Her appointment is the result of a unanimous vote made by one of the most diverse city councils in Minneapolis history. Sahan Journal profiles how Jenkins’ appointment is reshaping Minneapolis politics. 

Southern Feminists: Scalawag’s Neesha Powell-Ingabire’s first person account and colorful profile of the Little Five Points neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia is a fun, eye-opening look at little known history. Powell-Ingabire explores how radical feminist politics and its strong feminist press shaped one of Atlanta’s most beloved neighborhoods — a must read! 
Happy New Year! Watch highlights from URL Media's inaugural year; here we reflect on some of the deeply impactful reporting from our partners and share how we will continue to shake up the media landscape in 2022!

 The URLs on URL 

Congratulations to the Sahan Journal team! They are the recipients of a $1.2 million grant from the American Journalism Project to expand diverse news coverage in Minnesota. The investment—Sahan Journal’s largest grant to date—will enable the organization to expand news coverage, increase earned revenue streams, cultivate relationships with local and national grant makers, and launch a major gifts program to tap into new levels of local philanthropic support. Read the announcement here!

 Join URL Media Events 

WURD Radio Celebrates the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King:  If you are in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area join Solomon Jones and WURD Radio from 7-10am ET on Monday, Jan. 17 at Girard College, 2101 S. College Ave. 

And on Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 7:30pm ET Solomon Jones and WURD Radio will host a free live event centered around his new book, "Ten Lives, Ten Demands: Life-and-Death Stories, and a Black Activist's Blueprint for Racial Justice" at the Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine St. Click here to register for the event.  

In "Ten Lives, Ten Demands," Jones tells the stories of real people whose lives and deaths pushed the Black Lives Matter movement forward. He explains how each act of violence was incited by specific instances of structural racism, and details concrete and actionable strategies to address crimes committed by our “justice” system. 

 Our Founders 

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.

 Our Partners 

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