George Floyd mural, Minneapolis, MN. Photo: munshots
Share this newsletter with friends or, if you’re finding this from an email forward or elsewhere on the internet, sign up for URL Media’s free email newsletter here.
It’s been a year.
We want you to eavesdrop on an exchange between our co-founders, S. Mitra Kalita and Sara Lomax-Reese.
Mitra: A few weeks ago, when I mentioned George Floyd's death was coming up, you got kind of quiet. When I asked why, you said you felt weird about commemorating someone's death anniversary versus the life they lived. I have been thinking about it a lot since then. Can you tell me what you meant?
Sara: There’s a quote that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: “What we focus on grows.” It’s simple and true. There’s something oxymoronic to me about “celebrating” someone’s death. It feels like we are focusing on the wrong thing. There’s a delicate balance between remembering, commemorating and celebrating. How do you hold all of the pain wrapped up in the brutal and tragic killings of so many Black people for so many years at the hands of white supremacy? April 25th, 1955: Emmit Till was murdered...February 21, 1965 - Malcolm X...April 4th,1968 King was assassinated...And May 25th, 2020 is when George Floyd was lynched. These are traumatic milestones, but most disturbing is that in America, we haven’t learned from the past, we just keep repeating it. Every day we hear about new atrocities being committed against Black people at the hands of the police. Fresh wounds that never have time to heal. It is frightening and exhausting.
Mitra: How will your radio station, WURD, mark the day?
Sara: Through it all Black people have always found ways to nourish, support and heal ourselves and our communities. So on May 25, as the country acknowledges the one year death of George Floyd, we at WURD will dedicate the day to shining a spotlight on people and organizations that are doing the hard but essential work of bringing health, vitality and hope to our people. This will be our focus in an effort to make it grow and flourish in our community.
Photo: Nathan Dumlao
Across the URL Media Network, we remember and reflect and reform, both ourselves and the institutions we deserve. Read on for how:
The idea for Epicenter-NYC was conceived of before the death of George Floyd. That we launched after the global protests pervades our mission: #BlackLivesMatter, writes S. Mitra Kalita.
Calls for reparations for African Americans have grown louder, reaching a new apex last year with global protests after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd. Evanston, Illinois, became the first city in the nation to officially compensate Black people for what housing discrimination and systematic racism has done to their communities, reports palabra’s Ivan Moreno.
In New York City, “bones of African men and women have been forgotten, ignored, pushed aside,” reports The Haitian Times in a piece highlighting the work of activists bringing attention to an overgrown lot that served as the final resting point for enslaved Africans. “We must not only desegregate the living, we must also desegregate the dead,” said #Justice1654 Coalition member Rev. Gregory Seal Livingston.
New York has a long history of targeting Black immigrants, wrote Documented NY, which found that despite making up only 7.2% of the noncitizen population in the US, more than 20% of people facing deportation on criminal grounds are Black. “In nearly all of these narratives, the families and their communities spoke and organized against police brutality and the oppressive force of the NYPD – a shared pain that exists throughout the Black diaspora no matter when you touched America’s shores,” wrote Shamira Ibrahim.
Meanwhile, TBN24 translated what reform in ICE’s detention centers means for its Bangladeshi audience.
Protests in Trafalgar Square, London. Photo: Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona
In Philadelphia, incumbent District Attorney Larry Krasner won by a wide margin in the Democratic primary Tuesday after campaigning on criminal justice reform and reducing mass incarceration. Derek Chauvin’s conviction by jury is just the beginning, he told WURD Radio, “but we are certainly seeing an improvement in that regard and we can never accept American policing by supposed ‘police officers’ who get to shoot anyone in the back even when those people are unarmed.”
Randy Shrewberry tells anyone who will listen that he was a racist cop. Now the founder of the Institute for Criminal Justice Training Reform is trying to change policing as we know it. "I hope doing so will give still-active officers the courage to do what I did not―to speak out when they see injustice," he told Scalawag.
George Floyd’s killing has also forced a conversation about police discrimination across countries. India cannot hold itself exempt, writes Scroll.in’s Ipsita Chakravarty, who describes how racism and discrimination based on religion and caste are deeply entrenched in laws and policing. “Too many people from marginalised communities have died in police custody, too many have been shot down in staged encounters, too many have lost years of their lives doing time in jail for crimes they did not commit,” she writes.
“Going forward, I hope we don’t have to protest or wait for another George Floyd case for us to get justice when something happens,” Kenny Altidor told The Haitian Times.
Tell a friend to sign up for URL Media’s free email newsletter.
Mitra and Sara
We’re teaming up The Unmuted to co-host a free virtual panel on how women can rule the world at 5 p.m. ET on May 26. Epicenter-NYC’s and URL co-founder S. Mitra Kalita will serve as moderator with special guests, therapist Jeanie Y. Chang, diversity chief Lisette Martinez, entrepreneur Lucy Flores and Vanessa Stair, who works in social impact for Facebook. Special thanks to Miss Hall’s School for sponsoring the event. All are welcome. You can register here.
One last request
In a quest to continually uplift our communities, we are starting a new project. And we want to hear from you. Tell us what's been bringing you joy lately. Or what was the best thing that happened to you this past week? We want to share your good news on our social media accounts and newsletter to uplift our communities. More details.
The urls on URL
The Haitian Times’ Gary Pierre-Pierre was quoted in a Nieman Reports feature about serving the audiences that mainstream newsrooms don’t.
Check us out Sunday, May 30 back on The Laura Flanders Show reflecting on Memorial Day by talking about the twin wars we have been through this year: Covid and police brutality. You can watch its YouTube premiere at 11:30 a.m. here, followed by a talkback with our partners.