URL Media Weekly
Friday, January 20, 2022
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What We're Talking About

Union of Southern Service Workers

When We Fight, We Win

Being deeply involved in the labor movement since 2018, I feel a special energy this year concerning labor rights — or what I call capital "L."

Earlier this month, more than 7,000 nurses across New York City went on strike against two private NYC hospital systems: Mount Sinai and Montefiore Health System.

According to Epicenter-NYC, the nurses were seeking a better contract after staffing shortages left nurses overworked, burned out and unable to adequately care for their patients. After three days on the picket line, the hospitals provided the nurses with an updated contract that included raises totaling 19% over three years and “concrete enforceable safe staffing ratios.”

And just this week, Prism reported that striking workers at the HarperCollins Union have received much-needed support from several authors such as Sarah Ruiz-Grossman, whose debut novel will be released by the publishing company in 2024.

Ruiz-Grossman has donated to the strike fund and sent emails to the human resources department at HarperCollins expressing her disgust with how they are treating their staff. She is planning to withhold new book submissions until workers get a fair contract.

And in the South, there’s a new union — the Union of Southern Service Workers (USSW). Formed last November by a group of mostly Black women nearing retirement age, USSW is the first-of-its-kind cross-sector union that seeks to represent service industry workers across North and South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.

If this new union of the South can successfully get service workers a seat at the table to fight for fair pay, it would give the largest and most marginalized workforce in the South a real chance at financial stability — and better health outcomes — according to reporting by Prism.

If history (and my own experience) has taught me anything, it’s that better pay and working conditions are rarely given freely, but must be demanded. And the best way to do that is by standing in solidarity with one another. —Alicia Ramirez

Uplift. Respect. Love.

What is Davos?
Sponsored by McKinsey & Company
 


What is Davos? What it is, who's attending, what’s the agenda, and every other question you have about 2023's annual gathering in Switzerland is answered here.

Uplifting our Communities

Exclusive: Haitian man in viral Del Rio photo looking for US sponsor: Mirard Joseph, the Haitian man pictured in last year’s viral photo of Border Patrol agents on horses grabbing asylum seekers crossing into Texas, is looking for a financial supporter to help him enter America, he told The Haitian Times on Monday. He is among scores of Haitians living in countries across the Americas who have reached out to the news outlet requesting help to find a sponsor. Get the full story.

Brooklyn Center’s diverse schools have cut suspensions and absenteeism in half. What’s their secret?: When Brooklyn Center Middle and High School returned to full-time in-person learning in the fall of 2021, school leaders knew they would need to make some changes. Attendance had been low while students were participating virtually and via a hybrid learning model. Read more to learn how teachers reengaged students on Sahan Journal.

Native American tribe wants to take over former boarding school and reclaim its history: When Shawnee Tribal Chief Ben Barnes walks through three aging buildings in Fairway, Kansas, what was formerly Shawnee Indian Mission Manual Labor School —which operated in the 17th century — he thinks of his own family. But he prefers to see the former boarding school renovated and for the history of the site to be told from a Native perspective. Read more from Native News Online.

Supreme court cases against affirmative action don’t make the grade: Amid the Supreme Court's anticipated decision to dismantle affirmative action policies at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina (UNC), the future of race-conscious admissions policies is more precarious than ever. According to the plaintiffs in these cases, considering race as a factor in college admissions is disadvantageous to white and Asian applicants, but a 2022 report found nearly 7 in 10 registered Asian American voters expressed support for affirmative action policies. Prism has more.

Okla. Gov. Stitt replaces the only African American and educator on state board of education: This week, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt removed Tulsan Carlisha Williams Bradley as the only African American member and educator from the seven-member Oklahoma State Board of Education. The Oklahoma state board overseeing the state's 509 public schools will be without African American representation, even though more than half of the state's public students are nonwhite. Read more from The Oklahoma Eagle.

A long overdue apology: Hosts of WURD Radio’s The Source broke the news story regarding the apology from the city of Philadelphia for the unethical medical experiments performed on mostly Black inmates at its Holmesburg Prison from the 1950s through the 1970s. 🎧 Listen to learn more about this story.

North Carolina’s lack of workplace inspections is a decades-old issue: The Dilworth construction site on East Morehead Street in Charlotte, N.C., where three men fell to their deaths on Jan. 2, had never been inspected by the state's labor department. But in a state that has about one compliance officer per county to conduct safety inspections, it’s not all that uncommon. In fact, many work sites rarely get inspected. Read more from La Noticia.

Squatter removal services help Detroit landlords avoid courts: By the time Jessica Coleman, a mother of five, got a visit from a stranger accusing her family of squatting last month, she was already in a fight with her new landlord over her right to stay in her family’s home. The stranger, who was wearing a bulletproof vest and a badge around his neck, said he needed to make sure Coleman was a lawful renter. The next day Coleman found a note taped to her door signed by “Whole Armor Protection LLC, squatter removal service.” Outlier Media has the full story.

These survivors can now sue their abusers past the statute of limitations: On November 24, 2022, the Adult Survivors Act finally went into effect in New York, which enables survivors of sexual assault to file a lawsuit even if the statute of limitations has passed. Read more from PushBlack.

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Respecting & Honoring Arts & Culture

Where to celebrate 2023 Lunar New Year in NYC: Starting this weekend, there are many ways to celebrate Lunar New Year in New York, including lion dances, firecracker ceremonies and parades. Documented has all the details.

“Living the Dream” San Bernardino Martin Luther King Parade and Extravaganza: This past Monday, the city of San Bernardino in California gathered at “Living the Dream,” a Martin Luther King Parade and Extravaganza sponsored by the Southern California Black Chamber of Commerce. The event held space for the community to watch performances from groups like Grammy-nominated J.J. Fad and hear inspiring messages from local officials. Read more from Black Voice News.

Embracing creative action in culture and society: Our Body Politic host Farai Chideya interviews conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas and art curator, Rujeko Hockley, about building an artistic legacy as life partners. She is then joined by Washington Post columnist Karen Attiah and entertainment correspondent for Scripps News Casey Mendoza to discuss the latest in entertainment and pop culture, including Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle’s quest to control their narrative. 🎧 Listen to the full episode.

Centering Love

Grandma’s Place spreads the joy of literacy one toy at a time: Harlem is where Dawn Harris Martine was born, raised, and has lived for the past 83 years. And, since 1999, it’s where she has run a literacy center that has now become a book and toy store with rare yet diverse finds. Read more from Epicenter-NYC.

What We're Loving This Week From Our Partners

The Plug and Omidyar Network launch new Black Tech Effect Report: This week, The Plug released a first-of-its-kind report analyzing 100 high-growth, Black-led technology companies and founders that are making a significant impact in their industries and communities. Tayler James, director of research, and her team utilized an innovative methodology that looked not just at a company’s total funding and years in operation, but their social impact as well. Find out more.

The URLs on URL

The Oklahoma Eagle joins the URL Media network 🎉

URL Media is excited to welcome award-winning publisher The Oklahoma Eagle as its seventeenth media partner. 

Founded in 1922, The Oklahoma Eagle is a Tulsa-based Black-owned newspaper hailed as “the voice of Black Tulsa.” It succeeded the Tulsa Star, which was destroyed in the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The publication remains the longest-running Black-owned newspaper in Oklahoma – and tenth oldest in the nation. Read more about our latest partnership here.

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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