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URL Media Weekly
Friday, January 28, 2022
This week, URL Media celebrated one year since our founding. We invite you to continue the celebration and 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!
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 URL Media Turns One 

Hello, Friends:

What. A. Week!  

URL Media announced itself to the world on Jan. 25, 2021, and, a year later, on Tuesday, we gathered with our partners to mark the year that was. WURD Radio's Nick Taliaferro hosted our gathering (you can see the replay by clicking above) asking deep, probing questions about why URL Media is needed now.

"We need places where we can tell our own stories in our own voices; where we can just embrace the complexity and the uniqueness of our experiences," explained URL Media co-founder and WURD Radio CEO, Sara Lomax-Reese, during our one-year celebration.  "All of us, who are on this call, we know it is difficult work to make a business model out of serving communities that have largely been ignored or overlooked — not just by the mainstream media, but by corporate interests and funding sources.” 

Lomax-Reese expands on these points in a Medium post this week centered on "Why Black-Owned Media Matters: We are defining ourselves for ourselves." It is a deep dive on the long lineage of Black media that dates back to Frederick Douglass who in 1847 launched his Northstar newspaper
18 years before slavery was officially abolished. For us, by us: that was Douglass' vision 175 years ago. Through URL Media in collaboration with our partners which represent the best of BIPOC media — we aim to uphold this legacy.

In that spirit, on Tuesday, we proudly announced the addition of our tenth partner and our first Indigenous member — Native News Online. We are excited to welcome them to our consortium of high-performing Black and Brown-owned media companies. Native News Online has a long track record of serving Indigenous communities by providing relevant and much needed information for its readers. On Tuesday, while we celebrated our anniversary, Native News Online featured a breaking story about the discovery of a burial site containing the remains of at least 50 Indigenous children. The remains were found on the grounds of a former residential school in Canada — this is a story only they can report with nuance and cultural relevance.

As we turn the page on our first chapter, and start writing the next, we are excited for the road ahead. 

And we want to reiterate what we need from you in 2022:

  • Let's keep growing this newsletter and our social accounts, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Help us by sharing this, encouraging other to subscribe here.
  • We also hope to land more advertising and sponsorship deals.Interested or have a lead? Email melanie@url-media.com.
  • We have an ambitious plan to cover the midterm elections. Want to learn more or help us find funding? Email us at hello@url-media.com
  • Spread the word on doing business with us. We help organizations, big and small, diversify their workplaces. Importantly, we help talented candidates of color decode the path into leadership and opportunity, affirming their excellence along the way. 

Thank you for joining us — and keeping on. 

Uplift. Respect. Love.  

 Uplifting our Communities 

Reproductive Justice in the South: This week marked 49 years since the landmark Supreme Court ruling on abortion —Roe v Wade. Scalawag reports on the state of reproductive rights in the South —highlighting Southern pro-choice organizations that need support, especially as abortion protections across the South are increasingly under threat.

Native Women Face the Highest Rates of Stalking: Nearly half of Native women experience stalking, according to the National Institute of Justice. That’s a higher prevalence than women of any other race or ethnicity. Native News Online explores how this underreported crime is tied to the growing number of 'missing and murdered' Native people, and how community organizations are helping stalking victims stay safe.

Surging Student and Teacher Absences: Both students and teachers across much of Minnesota’s public schools are registering higher absences largely due to the spread and prevalence of the Omicron variant. Sahan Journal digs deeper to find out exactly how many kids are staying home from school, and how chronic absence is impacting education outcomes.

Credit Card Scams Targeting Low-Income Earners: The state of New York established the Excluded Workers Fund (EWF) to provide financial assistance to low-income earners who lost wages due to COVID and are not eligible for unemployment insurance due to immigration status or other factors. Documented investigated at least 70 cases in which EWF recipients reported their money stolen through fraudulent transactions. So, how vulnerable to theft is the state government’s program for distributing financial aid through prepaid debit cards?
Supreme Court Shakeup: Veteran political consultant Jay McCalla joined WURD Radio's Solomon Jones on Wake Up With WURD to talk about Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's retirement and President Joe Biden's promise to elect a Black woman to the Supreme Court.
Tracking a Murder Investigation: Seven months after Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was brutally murdered, and his wife Martine seriously injured in their bedroom, The Haitian Times has outlined some of the key figures that have emerged in the ongoing investigation. Read more about the investigation and learn who's who.

 Respecting & Honoring Arts & Culture 

New York City's First for-Lenape by-Lenape Art Exhibit: Curator, artist, and educator Joe Baker (Delaware Tribe of Indians) says his new exhibit, “Lenapehoking” (Lenape Land), at the Brooklyn Public Library’s branch in the Greenpoint neighborhood, upends museum hierarchies, in part simply by existing.“There’s never been an exhibition to recognize Lenape people here in New York City,” Baker, a cofounder of the Lenape Center in Manhattan, told Native News Online during a walk-through of the exhibit before it opened Jan. 20. Read about Baker's journey to get this important work into the contemporary narrative.

This week, Epicenter NYC highlights the work of multi-disciplinary artist Saks Afridi. The Pakistan-born artist explains his work exists in a genre he terms "Sci-Fi Sufism," which is about discovering galaxies and worlds within yourself. He makes art objects in multiple mediums, drawing inspiration from Sufi poetry, Afrofuturism, South Asian folklore, Islamic mythology, science fiction, architecture and calligraphy.

 Centering Love 

Shining a Light on the Healthcare Gap: After a serious bike accident, writer and journalist Rem O’Donnelley started experiencing seizures and was quickly diagnosed with epilepsy. A personal journey to learn how to live with the disorder, led O’Donnelley to dig deeper on why Latinos are disproportionately impacted by epilepsy.  “While researching health care services, I found large disparities in access for Latinos. A 2020 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that, nationally, 16.3% of “Non-Hispanic” whites did not have a primary doctor or health care provider. The number for Latinos was more than double that figure, at 36.5%.” In his latest piece for palabra., O’Donnelley explores in detail the reasons Latinos don’t fare well and what are some solutions.
Design and Hospitality: Monique Greenwood, former editor-in-chief of Essence magazine, traded in her pen 28 years ago for a whisk, and along with her husband launched a bed-and-breakfast in the heart of the Bed-Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Nearly three decades later, the two are at the helm of several successful properties under the name Akwaaba, which means welcome in Twi, a language spoken in Ghana. The Escape Home’s Danielle Hyams spoke with Greenwood about her success, diversity (or lack thereof) in the hospitality world, Airbnb and surviving during Covid-19. Read the full Q&A with Greenwood here.

 What We're Loving This Week From Our Partners 

On Being an Outsider: Author Jaime Cortez's debut novel, Gordo (Fat) is 80 percent memoir, and 100 percent relatable to those of us growing up on the cusp of two distinct cultures. Cortez's new buzz worthy book is receiving critical acclaim; it has been long listed for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence for FictionNPR selected the book as a Best Book of the Year and The New York Times writes  "... [the book] depict[s] the comical, difficult and heartfelt realities of his characters, where hurt, in some form or another, may be lurking around every corner, but so is joy."  Olga Rosales Salinas' interview with the author - for palabra. - is an incisive look at the man behind the story.

The Miseducation of Philly's Schoolchildren: Wake Up With WURD's Solomon Jones interviewed actress Sheryl Lee Ralph about the hit show "Abbott Elementary."  Ralph explains why teachers love it so much, and talks passionately about the miseducation of Philadelphia's schoolchildren and how the show is bringing those inequities to a wider audience. If you prefer to read, here is a transcript of the interview.
Southern Voters Matter: With 284 days until the next midterm election, Scalawag continues its work in service of Southern communities by devoting newsroom resources to help answer readers' questions about voter suppression across the South. Scalawag is also asking the community to participate by sharing stories about what is happening locally. Read more about the initiative here.
 

 The URLs on URL 


Valeria Fernandez (L), palabra.'s managing editor, is joining the latest cohort of the Emerson Collective Fellows. As an Emerson Collective Fellow, Valeria will launch Altavoz Lab, a collaborative project within palabra. to strengthen reporting at community outlets that serve people of color and immigrants. Congratulations, Valeria

Poynter's Local Edition with Kristen Hare featured URL Media's one-year anniversary celebration this past week. Happy birthday, URL Media! 

URL Media Events 

The Laura Flanders Show:

This Sunday, tune in to the Laura Flanders Show to "Meet the BIPOC Press." WURD Radio's Solomon Jones and Michelle Garcia of palabra. join our co-founders S. Mitra Kalita and Sara Lomax-Reese to explore the fight over voting rights, the future of American democracy and how all of it impacts Black and Brown communities.

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 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., which publishes Epicenter NYC, The Unmuted and The Escape Home, has worked at Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, LA Times, and has launched brands like Mint and Quartz.

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