URL Media Weekly
Friday, December 3, 2021
(Above) A rally in Brooklyn protesting the government's zero tolerance policy. Photo Credit: Mazin Sidahmed for Documented

This week, immigrant families gathered for a vigil demonstration at the Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting ceremony, where they urged U.S. Senate Democrats to offer a pathway to citizenship in the Build Back Better Act.

 What We're Talking About 

The Future of Roe vs. Wade: This week the Supreme Court signaled that it will uphold an abortion ban in Mississippi. If the ban in Mississippi is to stay in place that means that at least a portion of Roe vs. Wade will go. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked, "Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the constitution and its reading are just political acts? I don't see how it's possible."  

Rittenhouse Trial Analysis: Former Philadelphia Tribune contributor Paul A. Bennett and attorney Carmela Monk-Crawford, editor of Message Magazine, joined WURD Radio's Nick Taliaferro on "Evening WURDS"  to discuss the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict.

 Uplifting our Communities 

Mental Health Crisis Among Students: In Minnesota, school administrators are experiencing first-hand the toll the pandemic lockdown has had on the mental health of their students. Since the beginning of the academic year, many schools have seen a dramatic increase in depression, stress, and fighting among their students. The Sahan Journal explores the long-lasting effects of the pandemic lockdown on students, and the long road ahead.

Access to Quality Education: A highly rated private school in New York City announced plans this week to shut its doors. The school serves a largely international student body and has been a bedrock for immigrant communities. Epicenter NYC talks to the parents behind the fight to keep the school the open.
Student Health and Safety in the Political Crosshairs: In Florida, 26 children and 107 educators have died from COVID-19 since July 2021, according to data from The Florida Education Association. In this story from Scalawag, read how schools across the South are at the epicenter of conflicting and confusing local and state COVID-19 protocols. Many say local politicians are using families — and children — as political bargaining chips.
"Bring Back 6th:" The construction of the Olson Memorial Highway in the 1940's cut right through a vibrant Black neighborhood in Minneapolis -- disconnecting its residents and businesses from the main commercial district. The Sahan Journal  explores how the highway adversely impacted an early hub of Black life in that city. Now, 80 years later, community organizers are embarking on a project called "Bring Back 6th" to restore the neighborhood.
How the Taxi Medallion Crisis Impacted Immigrants:
Last month, the De Blasio administration finally agreed to a taxi medallion debt restructuring plan — a major win for the 25,000-member New York Taxi Workers Alliance. What was the cause of the years-long crisis in the first place? Drivers were deceived in the early aughts, forced into bankruptcy the following years, and the city was a big part of the problem. Documented wrote an explainer you won’t find anywhere else. Read more at Documented.

 Respecting & Honoring Arts & Culture 

The Tainos' Enduring Legacy: The Taino Indian, a nearly extinct native tribe from the Caribbean, has left an indelible mark on Haitian culture. The Haitian Times digs deeper on the Tainos' influence on Haitian customs and culture. 

Black English: In her new book “Gumboyaya,” poet Aurielle Marie explores Black English and explains —no translation necessary. Check out Scalawag's profile of Aurielle and her writing. 

Forest #1, 2010, Collagraph Print, 9″ x 12″

Brooklyn, New York based artist and educator Ianthe Jackson explores the notion of place and perception and our connection to nature through her dynamic artwork and sculptures. Check out Epicenter NYC's feature on Jackson and her work.

 Centering Love 

Ethiopian immigrants gather at the Target Center in Minnesota in 2018. Credit: Evan Frost | MPR News

The Ripple Effects of Political Upheaval: Ethiopian immigrants in Minnesota are keeping a close watch on the civil rest unfolding in the country they once called home. This week, Ethiopian troops recaptured the historic town of Lalibela from Tigarayan rebels. Minnesota is home to the largest Oromo diaspora --and many in the diaspora have left loved ones behind. The Sahan Journal dives deeper into the origins of the conflict, how the diaspora is mobilizing to help and what is next for the African nation.

 What We're Loving This Week From Our Partners 

Accessing the Kids' COVID-19 Vax: Epicenter NYC's report on why a supply-demand imbalance for the COVID-19 kids vaccine is adversely impacting families is a must read. During the initial rollout, some families were turned away as vaccine providers tried to balance a surge in demand with the logistics of storing and allotting doses. The report shines a light on the trouble plaguing one of the city's under vaccinated zip codes. 

Recording Police Stops: Kent Julye was driving on Germantown Pike in Pennsylvania when he saw a Black man lying on his stomach on the ground, surrounded by three police officers. Concerned about what could happen next, Julye pulled out his cellphone to record the incident. He and Michael Coard joined WURD Radio's Andrea Lawful-Sanders on "The Source" to discuss technicalities regarding cell phone privacy and recording police interactions.
Omicron 101: Are you worried about COVID-19's Omicron variant? The Sahan Journal interviewed a top Minnesota medical researcher who gives us more information, guidance and, yes, reassurance.

URL Media Happenings

Meet Melanie Figueiredo. We're excited to welcome her to URL Media as the inaugural VP of Sales and Sponsorships.

URL Media: Welcome! What’s your happiest place? 

Melanie: I have so many: Big Sur, Patagonia, Varca Beach. My bed, with a notebook and pen—and nothing but time on my hands. 

URL Media: You'll essentially be building URL Media's ad strategy and network. What does this mean? 

Melanie: URL Media is coalescing at such a pivotal moment in history—particularly as it pertains to corporate partnerships. Companies are moving from performative allyship into real investments in BIPOC communities. We'll be working with brands who want to partner in more deeply authentic ways to amplify Brown and Black voices; companies dedicated to equity will have a chance to put their dollars to work, funding media content through sponsorships that reflect a BIPOC lens. 

URL Media: What piece of your identity do you bring to URL Media? 

Melanie: Humans are such beautifully complex beings. I don't think we can exist anywhere, without bringing all of the nuanced and layered pieces of ourselves that make us whole. For me, that means I exist as a mother, a first generation Goan, a lover, a daughter of East African immigrants, a patriot, a sister, an activist, a niece, a poet. The list goes on, and I marinate in all of those identities simultaneously. 

Get to know Melanie and learn about our growth and expansion plansread more on our Scrollstack page.

 The URLs on URL 

Critical Race Theory and Politics: Our co-founders Sara Lomax-Reese and S. Mitra Kalita joined The Laura Flanders Show over the weekend to breakdown critical race theory (CRT), and explain CRT's effect on elections. They also looked into their crystal ball on what this all means for the midterms. If you missed it, you can watch here.

 Join URL Media Events 

Journalism by, from and for Incarcerated People: Scalawag hosted a workshop and training centered on prison journalism. Watch and download its guidebook here. "The Press in Prison" is a guidebook and training from Scalawag featuring insights from incarcerated writers and the editors who work with them. A supplement to Scalawag's second-annual Abolition Week, this new resource is now available to help journalists integrate reporting from prison into their regular reporting cycles.

WURD Radio's Empowerment Experience: Mark your calendars for Friday, Dec. 17, when WURD will host its 2021 Empowerment Experience! This year's theme is "The Power, Purpose and Possibility of Black Women: Conversations on Healing and Wholeness." Stay tuned for more details on this all-virtual event.

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 & Partners 

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., has worked at Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, LA Times, and has launched brands like Mint and Quartz.
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