2023 Civics Edition
January 24-25, 2023
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A View From the Ground

We provide you with news and information about politics, government, civic participation and engagement from URL Media's network of Black and Brown publishers.
A group of people holding bags and their belongings stand in line at Port Authority in New York City.

Migrants waiting outside New York's Port Authority after arriving on buses from Texas. Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio for Documented

The two-sided nature of New York’s immigration policy and politics: Documented’s Fisayo Okare ruminates on one of the biggest challenges for New York’s current mayor Eric Adams: immigration. One year into his term, Okare writes that advocates have noticed Adams’ changed attitude toward migrants, and that his support for them has reached its peak. ‘It’s unfortunate that we’re now seeing [Eric Adams] take this line excluding part of the immigrant community,’ said Murad Awawdeh, the executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition.

The failures of our immigration system: The process of becoming a U.S. citizen and permanent resident is complicated, convoluted, and downright messy. The asylum process moves slowly, writes Epicenter-NYC's Felipe De La Hoz, and it is up to the applicant to prove that they will suffer persecution in their home country if they get sent back. It can also be challenging to apply for refugee status, and there are no practical alternatives.  

+: How your school can apply for an Open Street

Biden parole program not that great for diaspora or Haiti: The Biden administration recently announced its humanitarian parole program that will allow 30,000 Haitians, Venezuelans, and Cubans to enter the U.S. per month if they have sponsors. However, this op-ed by Haitian Times publisher Garry Pierre-Pierre, outlines that the new program has created plenty of skepticism among Haitians in the diaspora and leaves many questions unanswered.

Among them: “When you sponsor a person to parole to the United States, what are your fiduciary responsibilities? What happens if things go sour between you and the parolee? Are there penalties if your financial conditions change and you cannot help the person?”

+: New ‘Welcome Corps’ program raises questions for Haitians seeking parole
Keeping up with Black consumers
Sponsored by McKinsey & Company

Keeping up with Black consumers: In a new article, McKinsey experts say Black Americans “have long set and influenced broader tastes and trends in fashion.” Learn how companies can effectively serve Black consumers here.
Faced with homelessness, tenants of a Minneapolis apartment building are receiving help from the city: Sahan Journal reported last week about a recent flooding incident at the historic Bell Lofts in north Minneapolis that displaced 50 residents. Before the weekend, the publication reported that the city of Minneapolis provided tenants with Renter Relocation Assistance, or three months rent, as many lived in hotels nearby and faced homelessness — while dealing with an unresponsive landlord and building developer. Two organizations, It Takes a Village and Documenting MN, also stepped in to raise funds and cover tenants’ food, clothing and shelter.

ICYMI: Tenants flooded out of historic Bell Lofts in north Minneapolis fault landlord, plea for help; Bell Lofts tenants displaced by flood could lose temporary housing 
The hallmarks of Gov. Newsom’s first budget under Black director: In a press conference held in Sacramento on Tuesday, Jan. 10, Gov. Gavin Newsom presented the Legislature with his first draft of the state's budget for 2023-2024. Black Voice News reports the proposal, totaling $223.6 billion, is the first budget developed under the supervision of Joe Stephenshaw, the first Black director of the California Department of Finance.

+: Keeping it Real: Arrogant and self-assured, Sheriff Chad Bianco begins new term

🎧 In an interview with Nick Taliaferro on WURD Radio's Evening WURDS, Daphne L. Taylor, a columnist and reporter for Florida Courier, discussed the local opinions of Black Floridians about Gov. Ron DeSantis. “Our governor has gone in all manner of ways against people of African descent. "He's staunchly anti-African American," Taylor says, mentioning the governor's opposition to Black history education in Florida schools. This week, the Union League of Philadelphia will present Gov. DeSantis with the Gold Medal Award.

Canada to pay survivors of Indian residential schools more than $2B: Approximately 150,000 First Nations children were forcibly removed from their homes between the late 1800s and the 1990s to assimilate into Canadian society, reports Native News Online. After decades of abuse, the Canadian government has agreed to pay over $2 billion to hundreds of Indigenous communities. 

"The residential school system decimated our languages, profoundly damaged our cultures, and left a legacy of social harms,” Shane Gottfriedson, Representative Plaintiff and former Chief of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said in a statement. “The effects go beyond my generation. It will take many generations for us to heal.”

When she arrived in Charlotte as a laborer, failure was not an option: Today she is a leader and champion for her community: Gina Esquivel arrived in Charlotte, NC in 1995. As a 22-year-old, she started working in a factory manufacturing tables and desks. She already had a bachelor's degree from Costa Rica at that time. "It took me two years until I could better understand English, even getting to the point where I could make jokes in English," Esquivel told La Noticia

She eventually earned a master's degree in Change Management & Leadership from Pfeiffer University while working for different organizations. Yet, despite Esquivel's success in business, she still found English difficult. "I was nervous during some of my first projects because I was afraid that if I failed, it was as if my Latino community was failing.”

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