URL Media Weekly
Friday, February 25, 2022
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 What We're Talking About

"Listen more often to things than to beings. Tis the ancestors’ breath"
Poem by Birago Diop;  Music by Ysaye Maria Barnwell; Sung by Sweet Honey In the Rock
URL Media's co-founders have dealt with quite a lot the last few weeks. Both of us experienced major losses of women who had a profound impact on the trajectory of our lives and careers. As we witness the violence of war in Ukraine, we choose to begin this newsletter with a focus on Love, sharing their stories of strength, courage and wisdom.

Over on Stack, URL Media CEO S. Mitra Kalita wrote about her mother-in-law, born in Lahore the year before India and Pakistan's independence and an immigrant to Canada, then the U.S. Kiran Mukul died at 75; her varied interests reflected her global peregrinations.
Kiran Mukul
Sara Lomax-Reese (Left) Valerie J. Boyd (Right)

And on WURD, president Sara Lomax-Reese pays tribute to her friend, Valerie J. Boyd, biographer of Zora Neale Hurston and editor of Alice Walker's diaries. An excerpt:

"Writer, editor, storyteller, entrepreneur, magazine founder, friend, confidante. What a gift to have started my career with you by my side. I often say that I’ve spent my entire career as a Black media entrepreneur. It’s true. And it started with our collaboration; co-founding HealthQuest: The Publication of Black Wellness. 

When I heard of your passing, a dear friend asked me “how did you two meet?” While I don’t remember the exact moment, I know it was 1991 not long after I traipsed down south behind my then boyfriend (eventually husband). I was 25, you were 27. Young in our careers but bold and confident, assured that we were going to change the magazine world. 

Read more here as Sara writes and we both feel: "What a gift. May you continue to inspire us from the other side harnessing the abundance of ancestral wisdom that you channeled throughout your lifetime. We are all the richer and wiser for it. OneLove."

Uplift. Respect. Love

Russia launched an early morning attack on Ukraine on Thursday. Our partner WURD compiled a playlist of interviews about the overseas conflict.

 Uplifting our Communities 

Native American students of Columbia University finally have their own brownstone! Columbia University offers its quintessential New York City brownstones as student housing options to select students or student groups typically occupied by Fraternities or Sororities. These brownstones are highly sought after and entail a selective application process once one becomes available. 

In 2021, the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity lost their Columbia-owned brownstone due to hazing allegations, prompting a small group of indigenous students at Columbia University to create a 10-page application that included a PowerPoint presentation in front of the selection panel. The group was approved for the brownstone on Feb 9, which they plan to call "Indginehouse." 

Minnesota Teachers Organize and Plan to Strike. Following what Sahan Journal reports as the most stressful months of many teachers' careers In Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, union reps have announced a strike to take place on March 8 if they don't reach a contract with the districts. The contract would ensure teachers and educational support professionals gain better pay, expanded staffing, more mental health support, and processes to retain teachers of color.
Nonunion Labor Shop Leads to Death and Injuries on Worksites. The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has recently contracted Pizzarotti, an open-shop company that employs nonunion labor, for a restoration project at the Amsterdam Houses located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. According to Documented, over the past five years one person has died and dozens were injured on Pizzarotti jobsites. Since 2021, five workers have been injured working on Amsterdam Houses alone.
Haiti’s Government Announced Measures to Raise the Daily Salary for Garment Workers by 54%. Following weeks of demonstrations and protests, our partner The Haitian Times reported in a total of 55 occupations received the increase, sectors like Apparel were increased to the equivalent of $2.50 per day.

 Respecting & Honoring Arts & Culture 

Roberto Clemente and Puerto Rico's impact on baseball. It's been 50 years since baseball legend Robert Clemente last hit the field. Though he's most notably remembered for his baseball accolades, he was also a determined humanitarian. Clemente died in a tragic plane crash on his return home to Puerto Rico from Nicaragua–where he participated in relief efforts providing supplies to the victims of the devastating earthquake of 1972. 

Clemente instantly became a pioneer for Puerto Rican baseball players and set the blueprint for those that dominate the major leagues today. From our partner palabra. Rich Tenorio takes an introspective look at Puerto Rico's rich history of baseball. Puerto Rico offered a competitive and diverse league of highly skilled players in the margins before the major leagues became integrated up north in 1947. Several players from the Puerto Rican leagues eventually joined the major leagues, of which many players including Roberto Clemente went on to become Hall of Famers.

 Centering Love 

As we continue to celebrate and honor Black achievement and history, Scalawag has curated a series of articles titled Read, Watch, Listen, Do: Black History Month.

 What We're Loving This Week From Our Partners 

What to do With NYC Public School Lottery Numbers. Every year parents and students applying for New York City middle school or high school have to go through what URL Media cofounder S. Mitra Kalita considers a "Byzantine, ever-changing process of admissions." In her latest piece for Epicenter-NYC, she shares insights on the admissions lottery system beginning with the 32-digit lottery numbers that tell you where your child fits in. Kalita also catches up with contributor Amélie Marian about her post last year titled “Decoding the NYC School Admission Lottery Numbers.”

Why the Military and CIA Recruit Students With Latin Roots. According to our partner palabra. Latinos are the fastest growing of the racial and ethnic populations to join the U.S. military. This isn't anything new as they have served since WWII, despite returning from war only to come home to racial discrimination for their ethnicity.

With the opportunity to gain citizenship, education with no student debt, and stable pay, Latinos are left with a difficult choice when it comes to enlisting in the military. Ruxandra Guidi highlights this for palabra. by sharing personal accounts of how the military and CIA recruited her from childhood, all the way to college and early in her career. In the piece, we learn why she made the conscious decision to "follow a path toward a morally driven and less-profitable route: journalism."

 The URLs on URL 

Thanks to the Knight Foundation for supporting URL Media’s Vision to uplift, respect and love the communities we serve.  We appreciate the Knight Foundation's commitment to invest over $4 million in 26 Black-owned legacy publishers, start-up networks like URL Media and Capital B, plus International Women’s Media Foundation’s Gwen Ifill Mentorship Program.
“We Are Here to Fight Disinformation”: Sara Lomax-Reese and Akoto Ofori-Atta Build the Future. Last week, URL co-founder Sara Lomax-Reese joined the Undistracted podcast hosted by Brittany Packnett Cunningham in conversation with Akoto Ofori-Atta of Capital B.

URL Media Events 

Bomb Threats Shake HBCUs During Black History Month

More than 20 Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) received bomb threats at the start of Black History Month — including a threat on Valentine’s Day at Howard University. While the FBI is calling it a high priority investigation and threats are spreading to high schools, there is comparatively little media coverage of this assault on civil rights and education. On this month’s “Meet the BIPOC Press” with URL Media, our guests explore the unequal media treatment of domestic terrorist threats on African American spaces and consider the racist stereotyping of Black and white youth.  We also explore the significance of HBCUs in Black History and the connections with the greater African Diaspora. How can BIPOC media lead the way to spread awareness and protect the legacy, diversity, and innovations at HBCUs? 

Join Native News Online on Monday, February 28, at 3 p.m. ET for a free live stream event: Indian Boarding School Discussions Part II, Why Repatriation is Important? Indian boarding schools existed in the U.S. up until the early 20th century with the intention to assimilate Native American children. The livestream will shed light on the intergenerational trauma associated with the multiple deaths at Indian Boarding schools. Click here to watch part I of this series. 

 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.


 Our Partners 

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