URL Media Weekly
Friday, February 10, 2023
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 What We're Talking About

A woman with dark hair holding a smiling child on a blue love seat.
Iryna Petrus and her daughter, Polina, entered the United States last March through Mexico after fleeing Russia’s war on Ukraine. Because she entered on a tourist visa, she was unable to legally work until receiving temporary protected status seven months later. Credit: Drew Arrieta for Sahan Journal

The human price of failing to act on immigration reform  

On Tuesday night, President Joe Biden delivered the annual State of the Union speech, calling the nation “strong.” But in the speech that lasted a little more than an hour, he spent less than a minute talking about immigration. Most of that discussion focused on securing the border from unlawful migration, arresting human smugglers and seizing drugs.

You can watch the full address here and read his prepared remarks here.

But what he failed to mention in his speech are the people, and the human price of failing to act on immigration reform.

When Russia first invaded Ukraine, more than 20,000 Ukrainian refugees used Mexico as a transit route to enter the United States. This happened two months before Biden announced a program that would streamline the process for Ukrainian citizens to immigrate to the United States through a sponsorship program, Sahan Journal reports. During that time, Ukrainians were able to cross into the U.S. and apply for asylum, humanitarian parole or a tourist visa. 

But the problem is that those who entered the country without sponsorship are now excluded from receiving federal benefits available to other Ukrainian refugees who arrived under Biden’s Uniting for Ukraine program.

“Our system is set up to dissuade that kind of migration to the U.S.,” Edmundo Lijo, the director of St. Paul’s immigrant and refugee program, told Sahan Journal. “And the way we do that is to make it really hard to get employment authorization.”

The same is true for those trying to flee gang violence in Haiti. In 2023 alone, The Haitian Times has published numerous stories attempting to make sense of the Biden administration’s new immigration rules for Haitians, Nicaraguans, Venezuelans and Cubans.

“This [parole process] seems much more of a gamble and much more of an iffy situation,” potential sponsor Karen Wires of Virginia told The Haitian Times.

And the hardship doesn’t end once immigrants arrive in the U.S., with states like North Carolina introducing anti-immigrant bills in their state houses, as La Noticia reports.

Late last month, 41 state legislators (all white and all Republican) introduced a bill that would require local law enforcement agencies to collaborate with federal immigration agencies to enforce immigration law. 

And while proposals like this have been blocked by the state’s governor in the past, we must continue to talk about the negative impacts they will have on our communities, especially our most vulnerable neighbors. —Alicia Ramirez

Uplift. Respect. Love.

Employee Well-being: The Holistic Way
Sponsored by McKinsey & Company

Employee Well-being: The Holistic Way. Thinking comprehensively about health can help workers live longer, better, and more productively. See how here.

 Uplifting our Communities 

Is it time to reform the current police state system?: It has been 31 years since the public saw four white Los Angeles police officers brutally beat Rodney King. Decades later, African Americans continue to live with the threat and trauma of police brutality. Read more in this op-ed from The Oklahoma Eagle.

Essie Justice Group demands an end to police-conducted traffic stops: Recent tragedies, including the deaths of Tyre Nichols and Keenan Anderson, serve as reminders that policing and punitive policies are a threat to the safety of Black individuals, Essie Justice Group says. The group, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting women with incarcerated loved ones, has called for an end to the nation’s mass incarceration policies. Black Voice News has more.

‘White fragility’ takes center stage in Pa. township: Eddie Graham, president of the Cheltenham Area Branch NAACP, recently joined The Source with Andrea Lawful Sanders on WURD Radio to talk about “white fragility,” and how it impacted his decision to resign as president of the Springfield Township Board of Commissioners. 🎧 Listen to the interview here.

The growing crisis of US gun violence: Our Body Politic host Farai Chideya interviews senior news writer and founding staffer at The Trace, Jennifer Mascia, on the recent shootings in California, and the failure of gun regulation in the U.S. She then speaks with Dr. Thema Bryant, president of the American Psychological Association, on how to identify individuals who are likely to commit acts of domestic terrorism and how affected communities can heal. 🎧 Listen to the full episode.

CW: Mentions various types of gun violence and suicide

Candlelight vigil honors Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay mass shooting victims: The vigil was a night for attendees to denounce gun violence and advocate for support of gun regulation, but organizers said it was also a reminder to grieving Asian Americans across the country to ask painful questions about the long-neglected mental health issues in the community. Read more from Documented.

Supreme Court rulings undermine Indian law: Indian law is a framework for making decisions about Indigenous sovereignty and peoples, but more recent Supreme Court rulings like Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta has created new debates despite centuries of precedents. Prism has more.

ICYDK: In 2022, the Supreme Court reversed the decision by the Oklahoma Court of Appeals and remanded Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta for further proceedings, holding that “the federal government and the state have concurrent jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed by non-Indians against Indians in Indian Country.”

Oglala Sioux Tribe v. United States trial begins this week: Oglala Sioux Tribal President Frank Star Comes Out is scheduled to hold a press conference after the trial to discuss the merits of the case, and specifically, how the U.S government’s failure to keep their treaty promises has created a crisis of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) on Pine Ridge. Learn more about the case from Native News Online.

Exclusive funding for HBCU founders launches with $5M from Costco: Nex Cubed, a global accelerator that invests in  founders from underrepresented backgrounds, has launched its latest accelerator fund, the HBCU Founders Fund, which will invest in startups where at least one founder is an HBCU student, alumnus or faculty. Read more from The Plug.

Inspector general declines to further investigate funds missing from Detroit Public Library: Detroit’s inspector general Kamau Marable is declining to further investigate $685,000 stolen from the Detroit Public Library, stating it is an “internal dispute” between the OCFO and library officials. Outlier Media has the full story.


 Respecting & Honoring Arts & Culture

Artist Mari Uchida

‘You are valid’: Artist Mari Uchida recently joined Immigrantly to talk about photography, why she chose it as a passion and her projects, including the inaugural Broadway Asian Men calendar “Unapologetically Asian,” with East Side Stories and Collaborazians. 🎧 Listen to the full episode.

Black resistance through street art: For decades, street art has brought Black history to the streets. “Our murals are for the people, by the people,” writes Briona Lamback. Read more from PushBlack.

 Centering Love 

A mother and her child who are both wearing masks hold up signs in English and Chinese in New York City.
Lessons on the meaning of justice: Being of Asian descent has allowed attorney Jennifer Wu to connect with the families she works with on a deeper level. A partner at a law firm by day who does pro bono work for victims of hate crimes at night, Wu says cultural understanding is key. “I don’t come in and tell them what they should do, but I come in and try to listen to what they need. It’s a different approach.” Read the full interview with Epicenter-NYC.

More: Carolina Valencia, a longtime media executive who has worked at the New York Times, Univision and most recently The Recount, is joining Epicenter-NYC as its inaugural director of partnerships and communications. Learn more about her story.

 What We're Loving This Week From Our Partners 

A flashing image of individuals and groups of people in rural communities.
Communities on the front lines of pesticide exposure fight for change: This three-part series about pesticide use in California shows how rural communities of color and farmworkers are disproportionately exposed to some of the most dangerous chemicals used in agriculture, and how those same communities have taken strong efforts to enact stronger, more protective rules. Read the series produced by palabra. and Environmental Health News.

More: This week palabra. debuted the first episode of Así Fue, a podcast where journalists make connections between their personal histories and the work they do. 🎧 Listen to the full episode.

The URLs on URL

La Noticia joins URL Media network 🎉 

For the past 25 years, La Noticia has been the longest-running Spanish-language news organization in North Carolina. The publication provides 400K+ Latinos throughout the state with general news and information on topics such as business, immigration, health, education and entertainment. Read more about URL Media’s newest partner.

URL Media CEO S. Mitra Kalita takes on ChatGPT

URL Media CEO S. Mitra Kalita recently spoke with Axios about the impact generative AI tools like ChatGPT could have on media companies and the ways in which journalism has, to some extent, already become robotic. Read the full piece.

Sick and Tired of Abusers, 'The Help' Became the Power Holders

A woman wearing pearls and a dark dress receives an award.

Dorothy Bolden was taken into police custody for refusing to wash another dish after hours. The white family who employed her assumed “the help” was too dumb and helpless to exercise her rights, but they never suspected she’d called her sisters for backup. 

Learn the incredible story of Dorothy Bolden, founder of the National Domestic Workers Union of America. 🎧 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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