Two dangerous new “Riot Bills” that would punish people for peacefully protesting are making their way through Wisconsin. They are retaliation for last year's racial justice protests -- and would give police the power to criminalize anyone at a "riot" with a $10,000 fine and up to 9 months in jail. We have to stop this!
Today tech is dominated by a few mega-companies. We’ve watched Facebook, Google, and Amazon get bigger and bigger. These monopolies leave us at risk; it's why we still have to deal with misinformation and voter suppression online. It's time for antitrust reform!
Police foundations are a threat to democracy and Black lives. And you know their sponsors: Verizon, Walmart, Starbucks, Amazon, Bank of America, Target, AT&T, Uber among others. We can't let companies say they support Black people while giving to those who hurt us.
14 people have lost their lives in NYC jail custody this year. 64-year old Victor Mercado caught COVID-19 and died from it in jail because he couldn't afford the $100,000 bail set for his case. This is a humanitarian crisis. Tell Manhattan DA Cy Vance to free people from Rikers now.
By funneling private money into policing without oversight, police foundations bankroll violence against Black people. A year after the NYPD promised to disclose its contributions, we still don't know how much they get through the NYC Police Foundation.
Monopolies are why healthcare and medication costs continue to skyrocket, why misinformation is still rampant on Facebook, and why small Black-owned businesses struggle to compete. We're asking Congress to invest in antitrust laws that will help promote racial justice.
Republicans have unleashed a serious attack on voting rights across the country. Democratic Senators need to pick a side: protect the Jim Crow filibuster or the voting rights of the Black people who got them elected. Pass the Freedom to Vote Act.
AirBNB Launches Project to Expose & Reign in Discrimination on its Platform
After a year of Color Of Change working with AirBNB to address housing discrimination online, the company has launched Project Lighthouse—an initiative to expose, track, and stop discrimination by people renting or reserving apartments on their site. Its goal is to figure out how names and profile photos create a perception of a person's race, then use that information to develop new features that ensure people of color are treated fairly and equally on AirBNB. The company plans to create a tech team whose job is to fight bias, have hosts confirm reservations before seeing guests’ photos, and recruit more people of color to host. AirBNB also set new benchmarks for increasing the number of people of color on their staff and Board of Directors to boost diversity there.
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Target Raises Minimum Wage, Making COVID-19 Pay Increase Permanent
After Color Of Change sent a demand letter urging Target to pay their frontline employees a living wage, the company agreed to raise its base wage to $15 an hour. That means full-time and part-time employees will benefit from the $2 “hazard pay” increase announced during COVID-19. While Target saw a surge in sales and largely kept stores open during the pandemic, their workers have raised concerns about hazard pay and health benefits. This is part of our ongoing work to show companies pledging to fight racism and injustice how they can start with the way they value and compensate their own employees, many of whom are people of color. Before we spoke out, Target’s salary bump was slated to expire in July—as many retailers are phasing out their pandemic bonuses.
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DoorDash to Drive Business to Black-Owned Restaurants Hurt by COVID-19
After Color Of Change led a survey on how Black and Latino businesses are faring during the pandemic, DoorDash agreed to create a new feature highlighting Black-owned restaurants. They will be working with us on a program to support and drive customers to Black merchants on the app and to reduce bias on their platform.
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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.
After George Floyd, many Democratic voters and politicians found themselves getting a crash course in racial inequality. Biden, who was responsible for the 1994 crime bill that spurred mass incarceration, is now vowing to make confronting systemic racism and uplift Black people a tenet of his administration. Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson is quoted in this New York Times’ article on how Biden is evolving with the country when it comes to race and justice. “Biden is actually being Biden by being inside of all of the ways in which the current landscape is sending him messages. That is good, but I don’t want to be classifying this as some sort of out-front radical leadership. That would really not represent everything that could be possible if we leaned in more.” There’s still so much at stake from overhauling policing and investing in public safety to student loan forgiveness.
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.”