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Artwork: Raquib Adbal-Khabir, African American, 2021
There’s a lot to feel joyful about, especially after these last few days. School's out, Juneteenth became an official federal holiday, URL Media received a big grant (read on)...
WURD teamed up with Reasons to be Cheerful to celebrate Black Music Month, in conversation with U-Penn professor and music historian Guthrie Ramsey to share the stories behind some of the most joyous Black freedom songs. What are some of your favorite Black freedom songs?
“Well, the thing that I think about personally is that we have to move beyond the lyrics of a song to understand if something is denoting or connoting freedom to us.
Photo: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library
[We always talk about] freedom songs that say 'let my people go,' or, 'mother, mother there’s so many of us dying,' you know, we want it to be this didactic idea that ...the song lyrics say something about freedom. I like to push it a little further though, and say that we can think of music that we’ve made in this country [itself] as being symbolic of the search for many different kinds of freedoms... in this quest for equality, that we’ve been on for the last 500 years.” - Guthrie Ramsey
The Haitian Times held a Facebook Live discussion with Abner Louima about surviving police brutality and his activism around police reform and social justice. Check out our thread from the powerful conversation. You can catch the replay here (it starts around the 14:10 mark); notably, Louima publicly backed New York City mayoral candidate Eric Adams, a former police officer who is the current frontrunner in that city's primary election.
Speaking of elections, don't miss Felipe De La Hoz's takeaways from Tuesday's hotly contested primary. He's been covering the New York City primary for URL Media and reminds us that it's not over yet, we'll have a better picture in mid-July, that Adams has been "gunning for this post for decades, and it's easy to forget just how formidable a force a political machine can be... and decent name recognition."
Epicenter launched a new membership program last week! Did you know that the very basic level of membership (Neighbor, $4.99/month) gives you weekly access to virtual yoga starting in September. The instructors include the co-founder of the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance, a veteran yogi in Queens and a classical Indian dancer. Also, anyone else out there have an Auntie membership program for $299/year?
Photo: Katherine Tam
Also Epicenter highlights a vaccine clinic during a Juneteenth celebration last weekend. Here’s what some people had to say about why it took them a while to get their shots.
It’s Abolition Week over at Scalawag! This week, the Scalawag team has been publishing work by or about incarcerated writers, artists, and thinkers in an effort to center their experiences and their humanity.
In a piece co-published with The Guardian, Documented’s Aldana Vales talked with undocumented immigrants of New York to learn about their pandemic stories. What kept people going through some of the hardest months of the pandemic? Their answers: “brothers, sisters, family, neighbors, God.”
Hugo Balta, for Palabra, wrote about his family’s experience as his daughter Isabella told everyone she was bisexual “sometime between the appetizer and ... main course.” Balta hopes that it may help other families, especially Latinos, navigate often challenging waters in the community.
¿Quieres leer este artículo en español? Puedes leer "Joven, Fuerte, Honesta" aquí.
Photo: Jeffery Erhunse
Some joyful tweets:
The urls on URL:
URL Media was awarded a $100,000 grant from the Knight-Lensfest Local News Transformation Fund to help our growth both nationally and in Philadelphia! Stay tuned for more coverage of jobs and the economy, as a result. (Here are two pieces already made possible: WURD's Juneteenth story with business leaders saying they hope this holiday is truly felt and not a fad AND Epicenter's podcast interview with an actor on how she got through the pandemic.)
Don’t miss us on The Laura Flanders Show this Sunday, on YouTube at 11:30am EDT followed by a live talkback. This week’s theme dissects Black and Brown joy (from music to “In the Heights”) and our guests are the aforementioned Guthrie Ramsay and Saida Pagan, an L.A.-based freelancer for palabra.
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 here.