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URL Media Weekly
Friday, February 4, 2022
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 What We're Talking About

Hello, friends:
 
A prominent Black TV show host is suspended for saying the Holocaust was “not about race” instead it was about “man’s inhumanity to man.” A former NFL coach files a class-action lawsuit against the football league alleging the organization engaged in discriminatory hiring practices. A former U.S. president is calling for riots in the streets if he is prosecuted.
 
These are a few stories dominating national headlines this week, and in many respects, these stories encapsulate the national and local conversations around race, work and politics in the United States. This week, we also kicked off national Black History Month.
 
Every February, the U.S. honors the contributions and sacrifices of African Americans who have helped shape the nation. Black History Month is a time to reflect, celebrate and commemorate Black achievement and contributions to the American narrative. As with all heritage months, we find ourselves conflicted at the notion of celebrating a people for one month. 
 
So, in this moment, a recent essay from our media partner Scalawag deeply resonates, and one line in particular, “Remembering Black History is an everyday practice, unconfined to any one social movement or month of the year.” We take this month as an opportunity to look back on our past, reflect on the present and shape our collective future through our storytelling and coverage — spotlighting and highlighting community journalism with impact. 
 
This year's Black History month theme is centered around Black Health and Wellness; it pays homage to medical scholars and health care providers and is especially timely as we enter the third year of the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has disproportionately affected minority communities and placed a one-of-a-kind burden on Black health care professionals. 
 
All month long
— and well beyond — our partner WURD Radio in Philadelphia will highlight a few of the African American medical professionals and organizations that greatly impacted Western medicine. This playlist features vignettes and music that represents the era of the featured doctors and organizations.
 
Here are a few more coverage highlights from our partners:
 
Scalawag:
 
WURD Radio:

We remember, honor and celebrate all year.
 
Uplift. Respect. Love.

 Uplifting our Communities 

Reclaiming Indigenous Land: More than 500 acres of forest on the northern coast of California have been returned to Indigenous stewardship — and name. Save the Redwoods League, a nonprofit aimed at protecting and restoring California redwoods, purchased the swath of forested land in Mendocino County in 2020 for $3.6 million. Native News Online reports that the League transferred its land ownership of the 500 acres to InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council, a tribal consortium made up of 10 federally recognized tribes from northern California. In its first move as Indigenous stewards under the law, the Council renamed the forested area—​​ most recently called Andersonia West— back to the Sinkyone language name Tc’ih-Léh-Dûñ, meaning Fish Run Place. 

Waiting for a Transition of Power: For many Haitians Feb. 7 is an inauspicious day. Similar to the way Jan. 20 marks the transition of national political power in the United States — Feb. 7 in Haiti is designated as "inauguration day." But as the Haitian Times reports, for many Haitians the date is now deeply associated with violence or political unrest which has plagued Haiti’s political transitions for over the last decade. So as Feb. 7 approaches many in the Haitian diaspora watch warily as the calls to replace Haiti’s transitional leadership grow louder. 

Northside Strong: In May 2016, Josué Flores, 11, was brutally murdered in broad daylight as he walked home from school. The sixth-grader's murder remains unsolved but has served as a unifying moment for his downtown Houston neighborhood. palabra. reports that Flores' murder is the catalyst for a renewed sense of community unity, the creation of after-school programs and safe spaces for children and families in this predominantly Latino neighborhood.
Centering Black Agency: Solomon Jones of WURD Radio opened Black History Month by exploring the history behind the Kennett Underground Railroad in Kennett Square in Philadelphia. “We continue to make Black History but we stand on some shoulders," says Jones. Jones is joined by Tonya Thames-Taylor, an associate professor of history at West Chester University, who explains that the Kennett Underground Railroad centralizes Black agency. "I want us to remember that the first people who are the abolitionists are those people who put one foot in front of the other. The first people who ran away. In running away, they gave us a story..."  Listen to the full interview here.
Immigration Court Backlog: Documented reports the immigration court backlog in New York state has reached a historic high, according to data recently released by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. According to the latest available data, New York immigration courts had 161,562 pending cases – a 22,000 case increase from the previous fiscal year. The vast majority of those pending cases were in New York City. 

 Respecting & Honoring Arts & Culture 

Food as a Bridge to the Homeland: Where in Minnesota can you find Filipino favorites like malunggay, puto cheese, pan de sal, and prepared meats like chorizo de Cebu? Until recently, the answer was almost nowhere. Craving a connection to the flavors evocative of their homeland, Herman and Faith Rott opened the Filipino Village Grocery Store. The couple, who launched their business in the middle of a global pandemic, talked to Sahan Journal about how they’re making their business a success.

Art meets Social Justice: This week, Epicenter NYC features visual artist and poet Aileen Bassis. Her work is content driven — she explores issues of identity, immigration, income inequality, racial disparities, the environment, migration and displacement through art. Bassis uses a variety of materials but typically her work may include altered books, unique and small editions of artists books, printmaking, drawing and collage. She often uses her own photos to make prints.

 Centering Love 

Ode to a Writer: In December, writer, activist and scholar bell hooks died — leaving a void for many who followed and admired her work. Scalwag's Arts and Soul editor, Alysia Nicole Harris, penned a beautiful tribute to hooks and the indelible mark she left on the literary world. Harris writes, "In a world where our understandings of love have become pat and edgeless, SalvationThe Will to Change, and All About Love are the razor." 

 What We're Loving This Week From Our Partners 

Reporting Dedicated to the Healthcare Gap: Indigenous media outlet Native News Online this week announced the launch of the Native News Health Desk, an ongoing reporting initiative dedicated to covering health care in American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. The national journalism initiative seeks to heighten awareness of the significant disparities in health outcomes between AI/AN and other U.S. citizens by producing high-quality, in-depth coverage on Native American health news, issues, policies and best practices.The Native News Health Desk will produce breaking news, feature stories, wellness tips and investigative projects, as well as quarterly livestream events featuring experts and advocates in AI/AN health. 

How to do Lunar New Year Right: 2022 is the year of the Tiger, an animal that symbolizes bravery, confidence and strength. It is said that anyone who is born this year will be strong-willed, opinionated and stubborn — like a tiger. While the day is based on the Chinese lunar calendar, it’s celebrated throughout Asia and in Asian communities around the world, with lots of exciting events taking place in New York City and Epicenter NYC has a wonderful rundown of what to do and when!
A Black History Month Playlist for the Ages: WURD Radio's Black History Month playlist is emblematic and evocative of the era of the doctors and organizations the Black radio-station is highlighting as part of their ongoing celebration and commemoration of Black history. You will want to bookmark this and play on repeat.

 The URLs on URL 

Our co-founder Sara Lomax-Reese is featured in the latest edition of Business Insider sharing the vision and mission behind URL Media in "How a crop of media startups are trying to fill the news gap for underrepresented audiences."

And our VP of Advertising and Sponsorship Sales, Melanie Figueiredo is featured in Ad Age "How Advertisers have invested in Black-owned media - checking in on their pledges." Figueiredo is a passionate advocate for more equitable investment in BIPOC-owned companies, "We are seeing some companies moving from virtue-signaling to actual investment..." she explains.

 

URL Media Events 

Scalawag Interludes: Who's ready for some new Southern poetry? Join Scalawag live on Instagram Feb. 8 at 5 p.m. EST to hear Christian J. Collier read from The Gleaming of the Blade, an upcoming Bull City Press chapbook that examines Black masculinity in the South.  Hosted by THEE Alysia Nicole Harris, a beloved poet in her own right and Scalawag's Arts & Soul Editor, this session is sure to be a good time—and it's the first installment of our their new series Scalawag Interludes


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 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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