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.
Far too often, prosecutors prioritize conviction rates over the truth, ruining the lives of innocent Black and Brown people. Linda Fairstein prosecuted the Central Park Five, coercing confessions and wrongfully convicting five boys from Harlem for a brutal rape they knew nothing about. They spent years in prison before being exonerated. We went after Fairstein and persuaded Simon & Schuster to stop publishing her popular crime novels, telling the company it can’t profit off someone who reinforces racist ideas of crime and justice.
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Google Bans Bail Ads
Color Of Change has been working to end money bail, which is one of the largest drivers of incarceration of Brown and Black people. People should never be locked up simply because they can’t afford to pay bail. We’ve gone after the predatory bail bonds industry, partnering with Jay-Z on a video, publishing an op-ed in the New York Times, and successfully pressing Google to pull its ads for bail. This makes it harder for bail agencies to exploit people and sets a new norm that major companies should steer clear of those profiteering from mass incarceration. We are now pushing Google to conduct a full racial equity audit of their business policies and practices too.
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RCA Drops R. Kelly
For decades people in the music industry turned a blind eye to R. Kelly’s blatant sexual and emotional abuse of women and girls. We teamed up with dream hampton to promote and elevate her docu-series Surviving R. Kelly, which was streamed 25M times – then went after RCA, successfully pressuring them to drop R. Kelly from their label. This sends a message to all artists and record labels – you can no longer profit off of abusers and hold out artists who exploit women and girls as cultural icons.
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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.
George Floyd’s legacy will determine which America the next generation grows up in: one where record numbers of voters elect a Black woman to the White House or one where Breonna Taylor’s killer doesn’t face trial, but the officer who shot her neighbors’ wall does. As jury selection begins for the trial of Derek Chauvin, the House is set to vote on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. It would ban chokeholds, end racial and religious profiling, eliminate qualified immunity for cops and mandate data collection on police encounters. Erika Maye, Color Of Change’s Deputy Dir. of Criminal Justice says, “It was really heartbreaking to see just how little progress was made to the point where a police officer could kneel on someone for almost 9 minutes, with people videotaping—and they could see folks filming them, with the whole world watching and not care.”
#ChangeFashion invites companies to take responsibility for their impact on the world and provides concrete steps that will ensure the industry is working toward racial justice. Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson is quoted: “Fighting racism can’t just be the trend of the season. And there are two fronts to the fight: ending the longstanding discrimination and mistreatment of Black creators and other professionals working across the industry and ending the longstanding pattern of misrepresenting Black bodies and diminishing Black lives, which perpetuates the dehumanization of Black people in society at large. Color Of Change is proud to work in partnership with any organization that is serious about doing what it takes to drive real change.”
Goerge Floyd’s murder by MNPD led to widespread protests and calls for reform, including hiring more non-white and female officers. But there was little research to back up the idea, until now. In a study on 3M Chicago PD assignments, researchers found Black and Hispanic officers made far fewer arrests and used force less often—especially against Black people. Erika Maye, Color Of Change’s Deputy Director of Criminal Justice Campaigns, eschews the notion that hiring more BIPOC cops is the answer. “Police violence is not an issue of representation. To really protect Black lives, we feel we really need to upend the current policing system.” And invest in healthcare, education, and job training in Black communities.
Color Of Change’s newest survey shows Black voters consider student loan debt forgiveness crucial to addressing racism and inequality. 9 in 10 Black women support some form of debt forgiveness; 5 in 10 support total loan forgiveness. 40% of Black people say they wouldn’t vote for someone who opposes it. Color Of Change Vice President Arisha Hatch is quoted, “The elimination of student loan debt is incredibly related to the eradication of racial wealth disparities. It is impossible to talk about an economic justice agenda that doesn’t include… how Black people in this country are indebted in ways that require them to not realize their dreams, or to stay in discriminatory workplace situations.”
Despite a slew of promises from politicians following massive racial justice uprisings, activists say leaders need to prove they are accountable and make changes that benefit Black and Brown communities. Years of Black grassroots organizing led to record-breaking Black voter turnout in 2020 that propelled Biden and Harris to victory and overturned Georgia’s seats to flip the U.S. Senate. Color Of Change’s Vice President Arisha Hatch is quoted. “The win unlocks the full possibility of the restorative and transformational agenda that Black voters and organizers worked for in November. This improbable and hard-won victory will allow President-elect Biden to pursue the agenda he laid forth in his victory speech, one that centers the needs of Black communities.”
Color Of Change’s President and Vice President Rashad Robinson and Arisha Hatch, two of the moment’s most powerful civil rights leaders, tell us what they’re reading. In recent years, the two have pressed Hollywood studios to diversify their writers rooms, pushed for banks to stop processing payments from hate groups, and helped launch a prominent ad boycott of Facebook last summer for not doing enough to limit hate speech. With an eye toward creating lasting, structural change in America, they hold businesses accountable for the consequences of their products and where they put their money. Here are their book recommendations for understanding how to create change today.