URL Media Weekly
Friday, December 9, 2022
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 What We're Talking About

A decorated entry way of a restaurant with tables and patrons.
Ollin's bright walls and homey decorations remind you of a grandmother’s home. Credit: Andrea Pineda-Salgado, Epicenter-NYC 

Sometimes food is more than just a meal

When the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, all I can think about is my grandmother’s fideo. And while my relationship with my grandmother is complicated (to say the least), I always know that deep down she loved us. She rarely cooked but would always oblige when my sister, dad or I asked her to make this simple dish. Even now, the aroma of toasted noodles never ceases to make me smile.

So this week I wanted to take some time to share a few of my favorite stories from URL Media partners about local businesses that have chosen to share their love of culture through food.

First is Epicenter-NYC with a story of a small family business serving authentic Mexican food in East Harlem, New York. Ollin, which means “the constant movement of the Earth” in the Nahuatl language, cooks dishes that remind co-owner Juan Perez of homemade meals from Puebla, Mexico. In fact, the mole poblano served at the restaurant is made by his mother who still lives in Puebla and ships it to New York.

“For me, it is pretty hard to find good Mexican food being from Texas and [Ollin] just really hits the spot,” one customer told Epicenter-NYC

Next is this piece from The Haitian Times about Chris Viaud, the chef and owner of Greenleaf in Millford, New Hampshire, who this past summer hosted monthly pop-ups called Ansanm at his restaurant. The gatherings were so popular that Viaud has since turned Ansanm, meaning “together” in Haitian Creole, into a family-operated restaurant.

“The cuisine is filled with stories,” Viaud, a former Top Chef contestant, told The Haitian Times. “The time involved in the cooking process — from washing the meats with a citrus marinade to ensure the meat is clean, to the ingredients being used, [the] tons of herbs and spices to be prepared — allows a family to connect and talk about the day while preparing the meals.”

I also really loved this piece from Native News Online about Tulsa, Okla.-based chef Nico Albert Williams, who is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation.

“My interest and passion for Indigenous food has always been in my personal life and community,” Williams told Native News Online. “People knew I was a chef in the community, and knew that I was Cherokee and people would request dinners, or traditional food, on the side.”

After being laid off due to the Covid-19 pandemic, she launched Burning Cedar Indigenous Foods. The business caters to weddings, conferences and other gatherings with a menu that features a selection of speciality dishes like Cherokee bean bread, skillet green chile cornbread and pawnee blue corn mush.

But, the part that spoke to me was learning that she also launched nonprofit organization, Sovereign Kitchen, Inc., in hopes of addressing socioeconomic disparities, health crises, and cultural disconnection affecting Indigenous communities.

An honorable mention goes to this piece from Outlier about Detroit’s informal food stands that serve everything from barbecue to elote

“I like to think of these folks as part of Detroit’s robust informal food economy,” Mark Kurlyandchik, former Detroit Free Press restaurant critic and current editorial director of Frame, told Outlier via email. “It’s existed for a long time and has been an integral part of feeding people, particularly in Black, brown and immigrant communities who’ve had to rely on each other in the face of systemic inequities. Think of the church bake sale or the barbecue block party or, increasingly with the rise of social media, the neighbor selling meals out of their house via their Instagram stories.”

This season, I hope you’re able to share a meal with your loved ones and seek out small businesses in your community that celebrate their culture through food. —Alicia Ramirez

Uplift. Respect. Love.


Even in the metaverse, women remain locked out of leadership roles

Sponsored by McKinsey & Company

Five early indicators of women in the metaverse reveal gender inequality—especially in the leadership creating and setting metaverse standards. Read here.

Uplifting our Communities

A man wearing a black bubble coat stands beside a peanut snack kiosk.

Cold winter days don’t stop street vendors from earning a living: There are more than 20,000 street vendors in NYC selling goods like flowers, hot dogs and souvenirs aimed at tourists, writes Andrea Pineda-Salgado for Epicenter-NYC. These street vendors are the backbone of the hustle and bustle that defines New York. However, during the winter, many of these vendors work outside in below-freezing temperatures, and rough conditions including rain, sleet and snow. 

+: A BIPOC-centered gift guide for food, spirits and cool stuff 🎁

Refining how we view US history, politics and community: 🎧 Our Body Politic host Farai Chideya interviews award-winning journalist Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry of WNYC's "The Takeaway," on how Black women in media and academia shape the progress of our nation. Farai then talks to Tiffany Dufu, the founder of The Cru, a peer coaching platform for women seeking professional advancement and community. 

A man with a candy stripped tie and an orange face stands at the podium.

Federal appeals court rules against Trump in documents case: 🎧 Damon Tyner, a former Superior Court Judge and Atlantic County prosecutor joined Wake Up With WURD’s Solomon Jones last week to discuss the federal appeals court ruling in the classified documents case against Donald Trump

+: 🎧 In an interview with Nick Taliaferro on Evening WURD, White House press secretary Karine Jean Pierre discussed Brittney Griner's successful return from detention in Russia after months of "painstaking negotiations."

A classroom with empty seats and a child's leg sticking out of a black stroller.

Discriminated and invisible: Due to discrimination by the university community and a lack of disclosure of their rights through institutional channels, the University of Puerto Rico has failed to guarantee equitable access to its students with children, palabra. reports.

A bright, green field against a blue sky.

Alaska’s sale of land for agricultural development threatens Indigenous food systems and environmental health: This year, the Alaska state government finalized the sale of 27 parcels of land “for agricultural use” that will threaten hunting and trapping on land stewarded and cared for by the Nenana people, reports Prism. The sale of the land also coincides with the Department of Transportation’s Nenana-Totchaket road development project, which further threatens Native food security and sovereignty.

A man wearing a gray long-sleeved sweater leans against a dark brown drawer.

The perils and pitfalls of renting in Detroit: Renting has gotten increasingly difficult for Detroit's growing population of renters, reports Outlier Media. Many of Detroit’s 300,000 renters living in poor conditions are finding themselves being forced out of their homes. Other lessees also struggle with a rapidly changing rental market, lack of affordable housing and a difficult-to-navigate court system.

+: 🎧 Candice Fortman, Executive Editor at Outlier Media, joined Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to discuss the evolution of Twitter over the last decade.

Canadian man charged with killing 3 more Indigenous women, House Of Commons rejects state of emergency request: Indigenous leaders across Canada are calling for a national state of emergency following one man’s serial murder of four First Nations women in Winnipeg, Manitoba this past spring reports Native News Online. Last week, Winnipeg Centre Member of Parliament Leah Gazan sent a letter to the speaker of the House of Commons requesting a state of emergency “be declared in response to this crisis of violence, and for resources to be immediately provided for the murdered women’s remains.”

Stranded in Central America, LGBTQI Venezuelans face immediate humanitarian needs: In the last few months, many LGBT+ Venezuelans have been stranded across Central America, exposed to the same dangers they had to suffer in the Darién Gap, including sexual assault, survival sex, hunger and fear, advocates shared with Documented. According to the United Nations, more than 5,300 Venezuelans have been expelled from the U.S. since October. Now, Venezuelans can only apply for asylum if they have someone to sponsor them for two years.

People carrying signs with one saying "Haitians are human like Dominicans" in Spanish.

Mass expulsion of Haitians from the DR reignites racial tensions: It took one Haitian man 25 years to build a home in the Dominican Republic for it all to disappear in just one night, he told The Haitian Times. Jeannot, the pseudonym used by the publication to protect his identity, said Dominican authorities came into his home, handcuffed his family, including his pregnant wife and put them in a car (paywalled). 

Somali families and Minnesota health officials confront low vaccination rates — and a cluster of measles cases: Minnesota health officials believe 14 unvaccinated children were infected with measles while traveling to Somalia, Kenya and Denmark, reports Sahan Journal. They infected another eight unvaccinated children in Minnesota. Now health officials are ramping up their efforts to increase vaccination rates for small children.


Respecting & Honoring Arts & Culture

Minneapolis Institute Of Art welcomes Valéria Piccoli as its first curator of Latin American art: For the first time, the Minneapolis Institute of Art will have a curator of Latin American art. After a global search, the museum hired Valéria Piccoli, who, for the past 12 years, was the chief curator of one of the largest art museums in Brazil. In partnership with MPR News, Sahan Journal reports the position was created to reflect the Twin Cities' growing Latino and Hispanic communities.

An older man wearing glasses and a red hat speaks into a microphone.

They stole our stories — but he took them back: PushBlack shares that Nigerian author Chinua Achebe witnessed firsthand the cruelities of colonization in Nigeria. He also understood that almost all of the literature about Africa promoted the colonialist view, justifying slavery and painting Black people in a negative light. As an educator, Achebe used his vision to tell the truth about life under the British colonial government in the classic “Things Fall Apart.”

Centering Love

How the media's obsession with my mother changed my relationship with grief: “There are dozens of articles online about my mother, Tamara Mitchell-Ford,” writes Victoria Newton Ford in an essay for Scalawag. “Since the 1990s, she has been the object of incessant fascination in local papers and news segments in Memphis, Tennessee, my hometown.”

What We're Loving This Week From Our Partners

A man dressed in a dark suit holding a microphone in his hand.

California Congressman Pete Aguilar makes history as third most powerful Democrat in U.S. House of Representatives: ​​Elected by his peers as Democratic Caucus Chairperson, San Bernardino County’s 31st Congressional District Representative Pete Aguilar has risen to the third highest position among Democrats in Congress. When Aguilar begins his fifth Congressional term this January he will not only step into his new role, writes executive editor S.E. Williams of Black Voice News, he will also make history as the highest-ranking Latino in the U.S. House of Representatives.

+: 🎉 Congratulations to Dr. Paulette Brown-Hinds, Publisher of Black Voice News, who has been named the Justus F. Craemer Newspaper Executive of the Year

URL Media Events

Let’s Talk Careers: The What’s Next Workshop

Today at 10 am PT/ 1 pm ET, URL Media will host a virtual workshop for folks at a crossroads in their career — that can mean you are unemployed, were just laid off or in search of a new job, but are worried about how to execute a new job in the current market.

Topics will include: How to think about your resume, build a wealth cushion and a career portfolio, secure benefits after your severance runs out, balance practical needs with purpose-driven work and know what employers are looking for. Register for the workshop here, and don’t forget to subscribe to our career newsletter.

WURD Radio's 2022 Empowerment Experience

WURD Radio invites the public to the 2022 Empowerment Experience, a year-end celebration focused on joy, renewal and fun on Saturday, Dec. 10 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Philly Power Market, located at 1835 W. Oxford St. in Philadelphia. This event will also be broadcasted live on 96.1FM, 900AM, WURDRadio.com and the WURD App, and serves as a kickoff to the 20th anniversary celebration of the founding of WURD Radio. Register here to attend in person.

 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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