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URL Media Weekly
Friday, June 10, 2022
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 What We're Talking About

Photo: Marvel Studios

The Marvelous Ms. Marvel

Ms. Marvel is everywhere. My feeds might be wildly exuberant over the Disney+ miniseries focused on a Pakistan-American teen raised in Jersey who is an artist, gamer, and fan fiction writer. (Yes, this one hits close to home for me: an Indian-American partly raised in New Jersey who also used to write fan fiction.) To better understand the hype, I turned to Sheraz Farooqi, an original member of the URL Media familia (he used to run our social accounts). You can catch him weekly on the Cinema Debate podcast. Edited excerpts of our chat: 

So, Ms. Marvel, it's a pretty big deal, huh? Why?

Ms. Marvel is the first [Marvel] superhero story to feature a main Muslim character. A teenage Pakistani American from Jersey City, Kamala Khan, is unique in our lives' abundance of superhero content. In an age where representation on both sides of the camera is demanded, Ms. Marvel answers the call with a majority Desi cast and a writing room with a Muslim picture. 

What do you think of the show?

Ms. Marvel hits the similar beats we have come to expect from a Marvel offering. Humor, levity, and heart are present throughout the episode. At the same time, it is speaking to a specific audience. I believe this show will work with the teenage audience and will particularly resonate with young Muslim women, who will feel represented.

As a Pakistan American comic book expert, how is this show landing with you and yours?

It's hard to put the Muslim-American experience in a silo, and it would be impossible for Ms. Marvel to accurately display every Pakistani’s or Muslim’s affairs. Ultimately, this is a series where an awkward teenager obsessed with heroes becomes one. She happens to be a Pakistani American and Muslim, but neither her ethnicity nor religion is top of mind. So based on the episodes I’ve seen thus far, the series is not necessarily the best Marvel offering, but it is fun to watch. Iman Vellani is fantastic as Ms. Marvel.

Thanks, Sheraz. Sounds like precisely the type of content that I need right now.

Other celebrations and reflections: it’s Pride month, Black Music Month and we gave the staff off for Juneteenth. Next week, we’ll get to the Jan. 6 committee hearings and all the ways we’re still learning about democracy under assault. But I’m clinging to the joy. 

- S. Mitra Kalita
CEO of URL Media
Publisher Epicenter-NYC

Uplift. Respect. Love.

 Uplifting our Communities 

Saturday night's mass shooting on South Street left three people dead and 11 injured and sent shockwaves throughout the Philadelphia area. Our partner WURD radio hosted several key conversations this week following the violence:

Tune in today, June 10, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. ET for a special WURD Roundtable on Violence led by Groundings host Brother Shomari, Wake Up With WURD host Solomon Jones and Black Women's Leadership Council host Joann Bell. Guests will include Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, District Attorney Larry Krasner, City Council President Darrell Clarke, City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart, journalist Ernest Owens, WURD President & CEO Sara Lomax-Reese and Evening WURDs host Nick Taliaferro. Listen on 96.1FM, 900AM, wurdradio.com, the WURD Radio app and on WURD TV via Facebook @ForWURD or Twitch @WURDRadio.

A Dome of Insecurity: Amid the public speculation about the causes that may have motivated a young man to kill third- and fourth-graders in Uvalde, Texas – video games, bullying, and mental illness are all listed as possible factors in the massacre. But what is it like to grow up near the US-Mexico border? Journalist Michelle Garcia examines for palabra. the massive border security apparatus,the violent political ideology that hangs heavy over South Texas and its potential connection to the mass shooting.

Young People Demand Accountability: “I wish people understood how afraid we were. We're not face first in our phones and ignoring the world, we look at these devices half the time to hide from the horrifying landscape that has been created for us,” explains Dover, a 16-year-old in North Carolina.  Scalawag turned to Southern youth to get at the heart of what they need from the adults in their lives —from politicians to principals. Read the first in Scalawag’s series Schooled, part one: The risks of being a Southern student in today’s world.

Substance Abuse Treatment at the Mosque: Somalis in the heart of the Twin Cities seeking substance abuse treatment can find it in the unlikeliest of places – a mosque. During a volunteer stint in college, nursing student Munira Maalimisaq realized that alcohol abuse among some Somali community members was an issue that goes underreported because of the stigma attached to it. And for many Muslims, that is often magnified because Islam prohibits alcohol consumption of any kind. Sahan Journal reports on how Maalimisaq founded a program that creates a safe space for recovery at local mosques.

Reclaiming Land: In the largest land back agreement in Minnesota and one of the largest ever in Indian Country, the Bois Forte Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe restored more than 28,000 acres of land within its reservation boundaries back to tribal ownership. Native News Online details how the Bois Forte Band prevailed.

A Wage Theft Scheme Grows in Brooklyn: When JLM Decorating hired Miguel Tapia to paint apartments in Manhattan and Brooklyn, they told him he would receive $800 in cash per week for his work. Tapia was paid half that amount. When he complained to a supervisor to no avail he decided to show up at the company’s address to demand his stolen wages. What Tapia and his coworkers did not know at the time was that over 2,000 companies are registered at the same address. Documented details of the sprawling scheme and how advocates and workers are fighting for justice.

Dog Days of Summer: There’s nothing like summer in New York city — ice cream trucks on every corner, swimsuit-clad New Yorkers lounging in Central Park, and a steady stream of outdoor festivals and parades. But the reality is that the heat feels different depending on your housing situation and which neighborhood you live in. Epicenter-NYC explains how your zip code can affect how you experience summer – in some neighborhoods summer can feel much hotter and potentially deadly.

An Assessment of Black Life in the U.S.: California’s Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans recently released an interim report detailing the history and legacy of slavery across the nation and in California. The report, nearly 500 pages long and divided into 13 chapters,  examines the role and influence of slavery through the lens of a series of economic, political, social, and cultural experiences,  and scrutinizes how the remnants of slavery continue to generate barriers to African American prosperity. Read this analysis from Black Voice News.

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 Respecting & Honoring Arts & Culture
 

Meet Brooklyn, NYC artist and educator Kirk Maynard – a second-generation Guyanese American. Maynard’s paintings and drawings detail the political undercurrents of culture and identity in America through portraiture and composition. Read about his inspiration and experience his art in Epicenter-NYC.

 Centering Love 

Author An Duplan used his pen to create a safe space for the Black trans community. “‘Blackspace’ was one of the first times that I even wrote about being trans. For a while there was no reason for me to write about it,” he recently explained to The Haitian Times. Duplan is the recipient of the Whiting Prize for Literature — a $50,000 award to writers in the process of completing a book-length work of nonfiction that is both researched and imaginatively composed. The Haitian Times explores how the author is changing the narrative.

 What We're Loving This Week From Our Partners 

Ode to Joy: In Our Body Politic’s latest podcast episode, host Farai Chideya revisits some of OBP’s most joyous interviews. First Chideya revisits her conversation with two publishers of color: Elizabeth Méndez Berry, vice president and executive editor at One World, an imprint at Penguin Random House, and Lisa Lucas, senior vice president and publisher at Pantheon and Schocken Books, on celebrating the work of BIPOC authors and critics. Then public health professionals and sisters Nilufar Kayhani and Nazineen Kandahari share the inspiration and beauty behind starting the Afghan Clinic, an online space that serves the health needs of fellow Afghans. Chideya then speaks with Rue Mapp, founder of Outdoor Afro, about finding joy in the great outdoors and encouraging others to do the same. And in the weekly roundtable Sippin’ the Political Tea, Chideya talks with fellow women of color journalists S. Mitra Kalita, founder and publisher of Epicenter-NYC, and Jenni Monet, author of newsletter Indigenously, about what it means to identify as women of color and why identifying as one can evoke powerful personal and political implications. Listen to the full episode here.

 The URLs on URL 

Congratulations, Sahan Journal! Sahan Journal will be honored with the Rising Star Award from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press celebrates the accomplishments of leaders in the news media and legal fields whose work embodies the values of the First Amendment. At the Oct. 11, 2022, awards, Sahan Journal and founder/CEO Mukhtar M. Ibrahim will be honored along with Wendi Thomas, Azmat Khan, Judy Woodruff, and Kevin Baine.

URL Media is hiring! 
We are seeking two exceptional leaders to help us plot the next phase of our growth and help scale our newsroom, partner newsrooms and collective audiences. 

💡Editorial Director 
💡Audience Manager

If interested, please email us a cover letter outlining your interest in either position and a CV to hello@url-media.com

URL Media Inclusive Recruiting: Are you looking for your next challenge? Or simply want to explore what could be next? Review our open jobs and find out how to join URL Media's inclusive talent pipeline. We work with many newsrooms, media adjacent nonprofits, and other national organizations to find and source talent at every level. Read and subscribe to our latest newsletter.

URL Media Events 

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 on the stories, issues and concerns that our BIPOC media partners are following. Click here to check your local TV listing.

Save the Date - Scalawag’s Abolition Week:

As part of Scalawag's 3rd annual Abolition Week, pop justice will exclusively feature perspectives from currently and formerly incarcerated folks. Tune in from June 20 - 25 for a rollout of essays, videos, podcasts, and letters from the inside that:

  • Bust myths you’ve seen on prison TV shows

  • Break down copaganda from Family Matters to The Simpsons

  • Examine the role of journalism in spreading police lies

  • Shed light on the history of abolition and how media downplays it in present day

Then on Thursday, June 23, at 7 p.m. Eastern / 6 p.m. Central, we're taking the big screen and the small screen to the Zoom screen for pop justice Live!: Copaganda from Cocomelon to SVU.

Hosted by Scalawag’s Race and Place Editor Ko Bragg and Scalawag Editor-at-Large Da’Shaun Harrison, this event is an invitation for us all to imagine what a mediascape less infiltrated by copaganda might look like.

 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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