URL Media Weekly
Friday, February 24, 2023
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 What We're Talking About

Singer, songwriter, pianist and civil rights activist Nina Simone

To be young, gifted and Black’  

For the final newsletter of Black History Month, I want to amplify work published by URL Media partners Black Voice News, Sahan Journal and WURD Radio about everyday Black folks doing what they can to make the world a better place.

First is Amanda E/J Morrison, founder of Mented Cosmetics and co-founder of Julie, which is a new FDA-approved emergency contraceptive brand. Black Voice News recently talked with her about the importance of providing women of reproductive age a safe space to talk about emergency contraception.

“Our belief is that by giving people a box that is beautiful and approachable and looks like anything else they would have picked up in personal care, that will help reduce the shame at the store, meaning more women will find it more comfortable to buy the product,” she told Black Voice News. “We also think by providing content and education online, dispelling a ton of myths, we can empower people to really make the best decision for themselves because they understand what they’re buying and they understand how their bodies work.”

Bonus: Black Voice News also published this great piece celebrating the contributions of Black LGBTQ+ folks that you don’t want to miss.

Next is Dr. Brooke Cunningham, the first Black woman to head the Minnesota Department of Health. Sahan Journal recently spoke with Cunningham about her goals to dismantle racism through patient care.

“I did not have [being the] commissioner of health on my radar,” she told Sahan Journal. “For me the thing that’s been important is to move into those spaces that are just an opportunity for me to have a greater positive impact.”

Bonus: In partnership with MPR News, Sahan Journal republished this story about pioneering Black journalist and civil rights activist Charlayne Hunter-Gault and her years covering Black lives.

Lastly, we have Mazzie Casher, co-founder and executive director of Philly Truce, an organization and mobile app that seeks to prevent gun violence among young Philadelphians. WURD Radio recently spoke with Casher about the organization’s impact so far as it prepares to celebrate its third anniversary.

“We’ve been able to access a number of schools in West Philly to do gun violence prevention assemblies,” Casher told WURD Radio. “We have a movie, a film, a short film called, It Starts in the Home, and we play that. It’s all directed to challenge the no-snitching culture and all of that.”

Through these school assemblies, Casher said the organization has been able to mediate situations between young people that might have escalated to grave violence.

And while Black History Month is soon coming to a close, I encourage you to continue to celebrate the achievements of folks in your community like Morrison, Cunningham and Casher throughout the year. As Nina Simone sang, “To be young, gifted, and Black is where it’s at” — and I'd add that Black ingenuity at any age is where it's at. —Alicia Ramirez

Uplift. Respect. Love.

How to get remote working right
Sponsored by McKinsey & Company

How to get remote working right: Having the option of working from home two days per week is as valuable as an 8 percent pay increase. For a deep dive into remote work and what practices can make working from home more effective going forward, listen here.

 Uplifting our Communities 

Megan Thee Stallion and why abolition can’t wait: In the summer of 2020, recording artist Tory Lanez shot and injured hip-hop star Megan Thee Stallion — but the harm didn’t stop there. The public, media, industry and the judicial system twisted Megan’s trauma into a narrative that failed to support her and hold Tory accountable. Read more here from Scalawag.

CoreCivic sues N.J. governor over law banning ICE contracts: CoreCivic, the corporation that manages Elizabeth Detention Center in New Jersey, is asking the court to declare a law prohibiting new or renewed ICE immigration detention center contracts in the state unconstitutional, claiming that the legislation is preempted by federal law. Documented has the full story here.

The truth behind ‘deputy gangs’ inside the LA sheriff’s office: There are at least 18 documented gangs inside the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Our Body Politic host Farai Chideya speaks with award-winning journalist Cerise Castle about her investigative series that explores the complex history of ‘deputy gangs.’ 🎧 Listen to the full interview here.

Here’s what happens when Black people work across generational lines: When Charles P. Adams graduated from Tuskegee University (then called Tuskegee Institute), he was fully prepared to pursue a law degree. But a request from his mentor, Booker T. Washington, changed not only the trajectory of his life, but the lives of Black students for generations to come. PushBlack has more here.

Birthing health: In over 20 states, noncitizen immigrant persons do not have access to prenatal and postpartum care. Maternal care legislation for undocumented and lawfully present immigrant persons, such as green card and visa holders, depends on state laws, but advocates are pushing to change that. Read more here from palabra.

Actor Mark Ruffalo tweets for Native land rights: Actor and activist Mark Ruffalo took to Twitter on Monday to voice his support for Native Americans by restoring stewardship of federal lands to tribal nations. Native News Online has more here.

New Philadelphia tech training center fills unemployment gap for young adults: A few months after opening its doors, Hopeworks has filled every seat at its center and even has a waiting list. By the end of the year, the nonprofit anticipates it will place about 60 young adults in full-time jobs. Read more from The Plug here.

Flood damage, black mold, code violations plague Detroit building: Joel Landy, a Detroit real estate investor who specialized in restoring historic buildings, had the rare respect of both developers and tenants. But since his passing in August 2020, at least one of the apartment buildings in his portfolio has remained in a state of disrepair. Outlier Media has the full story here.

How worrisome is the US debt?: The national debt is essentially a political issue based on collective decisions about spending and taxing. If spending and tax revenues don’t match, borrowing fills the gap. But how concerned should we be? Read more here from La Noticia.


 Respecting & Honoring Arts & Culture

A group of young women wearing uniform jerseys hug each other in a circle.

Haiti qualifies for Women’s World Cup in historic first: For the first time in its history, the Haitian women's soccer team has qualified for the FIFA Women's World Cup after defeating Chile 2-1 on Tuesday. The Haitian Times has the full story.

Every Tuesday this New York record store transforms into an underground music venue: Every week, the Downtown Music Gallery (DMG) in Manhattan’s Chinatown transforms from a store to an underground music venue. But with sales declining, owner and co-founder Bruce Lee Gallanter says the business is having a hard time making rent. Read more from Epicenter-NYC.

 Centering Love 

Micha Cooper-Edwards is this week's guest on the narrative Immigrantly podcast. 

Our stories redefined: Micha Cooper-Edwards, a native of Trinidad and Tobago and the founder and CEO of Soleil Space and Soleil Entertainment, recently joined Immigrantly to talk about the weight of underrepresentation in Hollywood and why she prefers the term transculturalism over multiculturalism. 🎧 Listen to the full episode here.

 What We're Loving This Week From Our Partners 

The movement for media reparations must include the entertainment industry: As advocates demand that news media reckon with how they have benefited from and further perpetuate anti-Black violence, the world of TV and film can’t ignore its culpability in doing the same. Read more here from Prism.

The URLs on URL

Blaxit: Ghana — Repatriation to Africa: Studying, Living and Working in the Motherland

Blaxit (a play on "Brexit"), is a term that has been used to describe what could be the next Great Black Migration — a Black exit from the West and a return of African Americans/diaspora Africans to their ancestral homeland. Ghana has emerged as one of the most popular destinations for those in the African diaspora.

Last Wednesday, Christa Sanders-Bobtoya and Muhammida El Muhajir — two African American women from Philadelphia who have expatriated to Ghana — shared their experiences studying, living, working, starting a business and investing in Ghana with WURD Radio President & CEO Sara Lomax. You can watch the full conversation here.

The Underground Railroad of Queens

In partnership with the Underground Railroad Consortium of New York State, Epicenter-NYC will offer a tour of the Bowne House led by one of the museum educators on Feb. 26 from 11-12:30 ET p.m. The Bowne House is one of the few accessible abolition landmarks in NYC and also serves as a research library for that history.

The event is free for Epicenter-NYC members and $25 for non-members. Get your ticket here.

Held Captive In A Free State, She Plotted Her Freedom

Biddie Mason’s feet were blistered from the long walk to their new home, but California was a free state and she would soon join other residents as a free woman — or so she thought. 

Learn how this hero fought back against her enslavers and built a life as a free entrepreneur and leader in 19th century California. 🎧 Listen to this “2-minute Black History” episode from URL Media partner PushBlack.

 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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