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Friday, May 19, 2023
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Today is Friday, and we’re highlighting stories from across the URL Media network about a Native American high school grad suing her school district, the complexity of South Asian American identity, and how to be a more responsible bystander.

Be sure to keep an eye on your inbox tomorrow for reporting about the history of redlining and the impact it continues to have today.

— Alicia Ramirez

Uplift. 🙌🏼 Respect. 💯 Love. 💛

Uplifting our Communities

Compton’s only community garden fights to save its space: Things couldn’t have been going more fruitfully for the Compton Community Garden. Since 2013, the garden has operated as a beloved and reliable blueprint for urban, regenerative gardening, feeding up to 100 families per week. But on April 1, Realty Group Advisors put up a “for sale” sign in front of the lot and, a few days later, a bid from a developer came in at $488,000. Prism has the story here.

Cherelle Parker set to make history in Philadelphia: Temple University professor Linn Washington Jr. joined Wake Up With WURD’s Solomon Jones to talk about Cherelle Parker’s historic win as the Democratic nominee in Philadelphia’s mayoral race. If Parker is elected to office in November, which seems likely, she will become the first woman to hold the position. 🎧 Listen to the full conversation here.

Calif. university prepares medical students to support healthcare needs of the Black diaspora: Last March, the University of California Riverside’s School of Medicine welcomed six first-year medical students to PRIME. The goal of PRIME is to produce physicians specifically trained to support and address the healthcare needs of African, Black and Caribbean communities in the Inland Empire. This month, that first cohort welcomed the program’s incoming group of PRIME students. Read more here from Black Voice News.

Former President Obama names Tulsa a My Brother’s Keeper Alliance model community: A program of the Obama Foundation, the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance recently announced that Tulsa is one of its four model communities. The city was selected from a network of hundreds that have an evidence-based track record of success in positively shifting outcomes for boys and young men of color. The Oklahoma Eagle has more here.

Native American high school graduate sues district for forced removal of sacred eagle plume at graduation: High school graduate Lena’ Black, a member of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and of Osage descent, filed a lawsuit on May 15 against the Broken Arrow School District for violating her rights to freedom of speech and religion. She says school officials attempted to forcefully remove a sacred eagle plume that she wore on her cap. Native News Online has the story here.

How does the Detroit Housing Commission’s leader explain agency failures?: Multiple developments owned and controlled by the Detroit Housing Commission have been failing property inspections since at least 2019. Outlier Media that reports hundreds of tenants have experienced flooded basements, no running water, broken windows, roaches and mice. Read more here.

Fla. passes a harsh anti-immigrant law. Will other states follow suit?: The Florida legislature recently passed one of the most anti-immigrant laws in the last decade. The bill known as SB-1718 provides $12 million to relocate undocumented immigrants away from Florida, but how likely is it that other states like North Carolina will follow suit? La Noticia has more here.

How one Fla. nonprofit is reducing the academic and financial gaps for farmworker families: At the nonprofit Farmworker Coordinating Council of Palm Beach County, caseworkers tailor services around a family’s needs, providing everything from financial literacy to computer classes and English skills designed to boost families’ self-sufficiency. Read more here from palabra.

The complexity of South Asian American identity: Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial or ethnic group in the United States, and people of Indian descent make up the largest population of America's South Asian diaspora. The latest episode of Our Body Politic dives into that complexity while exploring history, political representation and a pressing issue for the South Asian diaspora: caste discrimination. 🎧 Listen to the full episode here.

East African Business Association aims to strengthen immigrant business owners: The East African community in Minnesota is growing by the year, but those businesses might not always get the support they need to be successful. The Minneapolis-based East African Business Association is hoping to change that. Sahan Journal has more here.

The difference between reforming and abolishing prison: Even though both prison reformists and abolitionists tend to support many of the same socio-political and cultural changes, such as ending the death penalty, there are very real differences between the two. PushBlack breaks it down here.

‘I am always enough just being’: In this week’s throwback episode of Immigrantly, host Saadia Khan talks with the founder of Brown Girl Therapy Sahaj Kohli, about the passion project that has since turned into a worldwide community. 🎧 Listen to the full interview here.

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Respecting & Honoring Arts & Culture

U.S.-Mexico border reinterpreted as steel monument in Brooklyn Bridge Park: Nicholas Galanin is the artist behind a 30-foot-tall, 34,000-pound steel sculpture made from metal that was used to construct the U.S.-Mexico border wall. Read more here from Documented.

Altars for the alter-life: Destiny Hemphill's latest poetry collection, 'motherworld: a devotional for the alter-life' opens portals that transcend capitalism, imperialism, patriarchy, and anti-Blackness. “This isn't just a collection of poems,” Mónica Teresa Ortiz writes for Scalawag. “These are songs of the South, lit up with magnolias, finches, dandelions, rivers, ‘testaments/of the cosmic & telluric.’ Read the full review here.

Centering Love

Haitians in Ind. celebrate Flag Day with top acts: Haitians flocked to Indianapolis over the weekend for the city’s 15th annual celebration of Haitian culture ahead of Haitian Flag Day on May 18. Read more here from The Haitian Times.

More: Haitians in New York City began celebrating Flag Day over the weekend with a parade and decorative float down Brooklyn’s Nostrand Ave. See the photos here.

What We're Loving This Week From Our Partners

How to be a more responsible bystander: In the aftermath of Jordan Neely’s public execution, Epicenter-NYC spoke with the president and cofounder of Right to Be, a nonprofit dedicated to providing resources to respond, prevent and intervene in incidences of distress and violence, about how to be a more responsible bystander. Read more here.

The URLs on URL

URL Media CEO S. Mitra Kalita talks news industry hardships

Founded in 1994 by Shane Smith, Suroosh Alvi, and Gavin McInnes, Vice Media filed for bankruptcy on Monday. S. Mitra Kalita, co-founder of URL Media and founder and publisher of Epicenter-NYC, was interviewed by The New York Times to talk about the difficulties of running a news organization.

“There are definitely commonalities in the hardships media organizations have been facing and Vice is no exception,” she told The Times. “We now know that a brand tethered to social media for its growth and audience alone is not sustainable.”

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.

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