Within hours of Musk taking over Twitter, use of the n-word rose 500%. Hate speech skyrocketed. Musk himself tweeted a baseless conspiracy theory about the attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband. He's supported restoring Trump's account. We cannot trust him to protect users from hate, harassment and misinformation. GM and L'Oréal have suspended their advertising. Let's push Disney and Coca-Cola to follow suit!
We can create an Internet where Black people thrive. Check out the Black Tech Agenda — a roadmap for racial equity in tech regulation. Big Tech has chased profits no matter the cos: cyber-bullying, misinformation, real world violence to Brown and Black people. But these 6 principles lay the groundwork for accountability.
Thanks to T-Mobile, conservatives now have the power to ban Black and LGBTQ history from classrooms in Texas. T-Mobile rents its cellular towers and infrastructure to Patriot Mobile, a far-right wireless provider that funded racist school board candidates in Texas. Write to T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert and tell him it's time they #DropPatriotMobile
The cost of groceries has risen 12% in a year. Why? Corporate greed. Tyson Foods, one of the largest food production companies, has artificially increased prices, out-tracking inflation and manufacturing costs to nearly double its profits. This especially hurts Black families. Ask them to roll back prices to pre-pandemic levels.
In Oklahoma, pregnant women are facing felony charges for using prescribed medical marijuana during pregnancy. Even though their babies are born healthy, they're facing possible life sentences. Black, Brown, and poor women bear the brunt of this criminalization.
After serious pressure by Color Of Change, the LA Times agreed to drop the paywall around COVID-19 coverage. Public health messages, especially tied to the dangerous pandemic we’re all living under, ought to be available to everyone, not just those able to pay for a subscription. The LA Times first wanted to keep coronavirus articles behind a paywall, but when we organized a number of groups to speak up, they relented. This helps reinforce an industry standard that media companies need to put public health information above corporate profits, especially now – and do everything in their power to make sure people understand how to stay safe, where to get tested, and what to do if they get sick.
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Barbie Gets Onboard with Black History
Dolls are a powerful way children learn about race and identity. When Mattel came out with a Black Barbie modeled after Rosa Parks, we pressed the company to share her full story rather than make a token nod to Black people’s struggle for equality. Mattel had originally whitewashed Parks’s story, saying she “led an ordinary life as a seamstress” until an “extraordinary moment” in 1955 when she refused to sit at the back of the bus. In truth, Parks was a community organizer and tireless fighter for justice for most of her life. Mattel worked with Color Of Change to revise Barbie’s story, giving children a fuller truth about Parks and recognizing women’s contributions to the civil rights movement.
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Facebook Bans White Nationalist Content
Following intense pressure from COC members and direct engagement with our team, Facebook announced it would no longer allow white nationalist content on its platform. Banning white nationalism and separatist speech on Facebook and Instagram is a huge blow to efforts to spread white supremacy, raise money for anti-Black hate groups, and recruit others. It sets an important new standard to keep racist, violent philosophies off of social media and out of mainstream media. While Facebook still has more to do to ensure this policy is properly enforced, it is a significant step forward that will help keep us safer on and offline.
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Color Of Change helps people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by 7 million members, we move decision makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people, and all people. Until justice is real.
Only 4% of Black-owned businesses in the U.S. survive past the startup stage, even though 20% of Black Americans start businesses, according to a new report by McKinsey and Company. The pandemic has forced many businesses to close their doors, and about 58% of Black-owned businesses were at risk of financial distress before the pandemic. This is consistent with what Color Of Change’s survey found last year: 40% of Black businesses said they could only last another six months, compared with 55% of their white business owner counterparts. The wealth gap, Color Of Change explains is reinforced by many factors from access to capital, bank loans, and relief programs like PPP that mean Black entrepreneurs have a much tougher time sustaining their businesses.
Salon reports how corporations including AT&T, Target, and Starbucks have embraced racial justice rhetoric while continuing to funnel millions of dollars to police. While claiming to stand with Black employees, corporations pour money into law enforcement through police foundations. Because they are nonprofits, police foundations can raise unregulated slush funds from undisclosed sources, which they often use to buy special weapons and equipment not covered by city budgets. Color Of Change Vice President Arisha Hatch says, “Police foundations are really good at hiding what they’re actually spending their money on. These foundations exist completely off the books.” It’s a problem.
Last year, the academy announced a plan requiring films to meet diversity criteria to be eligible for a best-picture nomination, starting in 2024. Still, those who have been critical of the way the film industry operates are not ready to heap too much praise on the academy. Rashad Robinson, behind Color Of Change’s #ChangeHollywood initiative is quoted. “What we have to constantly recognize is that an institution like the academy didn’t give anything to Black people. What the academy has done over the years is have a system and a set of rules that has stalled Black careers and prevented people from being fully seen. Now that they are working to make some changes, let’s acknowledge those changes but let’s not give them any awards that they haven’t earned.”
This is accountability, but not justice many have said in the wake of the guilty verdict against Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd. Common Dreams surveyed leaders at 20 organizations fighting for change. Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson is quoted saying, “Nine minutes and 29 seconds will forever be supplanted in our hearts and memory… we use this moment to push for real change because the fight for accountability and justice in America is far from over. The Chauvin trial may be over, but what comes next will be the consequential moment in our history. We need to do more than raise our voices; we must demand action now.”
A new survey by the Anti-defamation League reveals that Asian and Black people are experiencing serious increases in harassment online, while LGBTQ+ people face the highest rate. Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson said the results of the study were “unsurprising”, as it’s proven that online hate disproportionately affects communities of color. “For 5 years, Color Of Change has campaigned to bring attention to this growing threat, and we’ve implored Facebook to prioritize addressing the dangers of hate proliferating on their platform. At this point, only sweeping oversight and enforcement from the federal government will force Facebook to change its broken business model and violence-driven algorithm that incentivizes hate for profit.”
Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, joins WNYC host Brian Lehrer to talks about how corporate America is reacting to legislation that restricts voting rights – in Georgia, Texas, and other swing states – and what COC members are doing about it. Rashad says, “Corporations play an outsized role in advocating the terms of our democracy… We are engaging in the free market the same way they do — by telling them that they can’t come for our money by day and take away our vote or make us unsafe by night.”