Millions cheered as Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first Black woman and first public defender to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Her confirmation was hailed by Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change. “Her perspective as a public defender has long been missing from the court as has her real-world experience addressing racial injustices in sentencing. We must redouble our commitment to redefining the role of judges and prosecutors—to ensure they serve the people rather than corrupt interests and they end racial injustice rather than exacerbating it.” He added, “We must also remember that Black activism—and Black voters—brought us to this long-awaited moment. They made President Biden promise to appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court, and they made him keep that promise.”
In the Media
Alopecia is getting growing recognition following the now infamous Academy Awards where Will Smith went onstage and slapped Chris Rock for making a joke about his wife’s baldness. One type, called “hot comb alopecia,” mostly affects Black women and is a result over-manipulating one’s hair, often to look the part at work and get promoted in corporate America. Color Of Change’s Vice President Arisha Hatch is quoted on how hair discrimination and standards that judge women who wear their hair naturally have got to go. “Every day, Black folks suffering from alopecia and baldness are being robbed of employment opportunities, education, and dignity because employers and institutions can cloak their racism in dress code policies and vague concepts like ‘professionalism’ that were designed to shut us out.” That’s why Color Of Change is working to pass the CROWN Act.
Racial justice leaders lauded this week’s passage of long overdue legislation making lynching a federal hate crime. But more needs to be done on issues that continue to plague Black and Brown neighborhoods from police brutality to attacks on voting rights. Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson is quoted, “It’s important to ensure that we put this legislation in place and that it’s enforced. At the same time, it’s important that we continue to work to deal with all the ways that anti-Black racism shows up, from police violence to the ways in which our votes and ability to express ourselves in a democracy are being stolen…. Lynching wasn’t just a tool of violence. It was a tool of terror to suppress our will and our ability to engage.” Southern Democrats repeatedly used the filibuster, for example, to thwart anti-lynching legislation and many opportunities for progress.
The Senate made history today when it confirmed Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court. After 233 years, she is the first Black woman to ever serve on the nation’s highest court. Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson is quoted, “We have to remember that Black activism and Black voters did brought us this long-awaited moment. We demanded representation and not just in gender and race but in perspective, values and experience.” He says Jackson raises the bar for what voters should expect from the court, and her confirmation process is an indication of how he thinks Republicans will speak about Black and Brown people in the midterm elections.
Color of Change was one of four groups honored at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards which bring together leaders in fashion and film to celebrate a new wave of sustainability in Hollywood. Rashad Robinson accepted the award on behalf of Color Change’s racial justice work for economic inclusivity in Hollywood and for financial equality for Black people in America. The honorees were all selected for representing different pillars of sustainability: environmentally restorative, socially just, and economically inclusive. In the past two years, Color Of Change launched #ChangeHollywood and #ChangeFashion to advance the struggle for equity for Black creators.
What has the federal government done to address violent and racist policing since George Floyd was killed two years ago? With Biden halting a proposed policing order, which itself was a seriously scaled down plan B after failing to get enough votes to pass the George Floyd Act, Trump’s modest changes are the most significant federal policing moves we’ve seen. Under Trump’s order, police agencies must have specific policies on the use of force to receive certain federal grants. Advocates who were promised sweeping reforms are frustrated. Color Of Change’s Senior Director of Criminal Justice Campaigns Scott Roberts explains, “Trump’s order is not significant in and of itself, but it exposes how little Biden has done to deliver on his promises around this issue, and how quickly his administration has pivoted away from this movement for police reform that helped sweep them into office.” Many believe without the mass protests that galvanized millions of Black voters, Biden would not necessarily have won in 2020.
Color Of Change once again made Fast Company’s Most Innovative list, coming in at #5 for our work to hold businesses to their racial justice promises. A year after the uprisings for George Floyd, we launched Beyond the Statement—demanding racial equity audits from tech and Hollywood companies, and calling on Google for promising $100 million for Black creators while preventing advertisers from supporting BLM-related videos on YouTube. We persuaded financial services companies to eliminate practices that disproportionately harm Black consumers and get companies in majority-Black cities to initiate jobs and apprenticeship programs. To drive culture change , we launched #ChangeHollywood, #ChangeMusic, and #ChangeFashion—with roadmaps to help companies create more equity and tools like the Directory of Anti-Racist Trainers.
The full list is at https://bit.ly/3PnyXNb
As Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson writes in this op-ed alongside UCLA Professor Safiya Noble, Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter illustrates a common problem in our media landscape — monopoly control without accountability. Just as we need rules for TV and news media designed to protect people, we need rules for tech companies. “Ownership of communication outlets continues to be consolidated into the hands of a few, which has had an incredibly harmful effect on politics, education and the way we narrate and understand our shared societal challenges.” With Musk making Twitter private, “There is no question that abuses on a platform that has already struggled with racism and harassment will become even more difficult to rein in… A self-regulated company is a non-regulated company.”
Read the whole article at https://lat.ms/3xdSfw5
Color Of Change’s Sr. Campaigns Director Jade Magnus Ogunnaike teams up with SEIU’s Renaye Manely in this commentary on growing pressure for Apple to conduct a civil rights audit. Apple has repeatedly failed to examine its products by racial justice and nondiscrimination standards before they’re released. “It’s become quite clear that the company’s verbal commitments are not matching up with its actions, particularly when it comes to the impact Apple’s own products and practices have on its Black and Brown workers, customers and communities.” The company’s commitment to diversity is also lacking. Nearly 70% of Apple’s global leadership is male. Black and Latino workers in tech positions has never reached 10%. It’s time for change. And in a historic move, Apple’s stakeholders agree. They recently voted for an audit.
Full article at https://bit.ly/3llOsqR
Malachi Robinson, Color of Change’s Criminal Justice Campaigns Director, writes about the convictions against the three of the Minneapolis police officers involved in George Floyd’s death. “A federal jury last month finally recognized what we have always known to be true: the rules of policing are what make U.S. police forces racist, not just individual officers.” Those rules need to change. We now see, he argues, that those changes are not going to come from the Biden administration. And despite a handful of convictions against abusive police, killings by police have gone up in the last year. So what would real justice look like? For starters, follow the money. And invest in Black communities like we currently invest in police departments.
Full article at https://bit.ly/3sfMOLy
Color Of Change Vice President Arisha Hatch joins U.S. Rep. Ayanna in explaining why now is the time for Biden to cancel student debt, and the huge benefits it’d have for Black women. On the campaign trail, Biden pledged to cancel $10,000 of debt per borrower, and has extended the pause on student loan payments twice over pandemic, providing millions of families temporary relief. Now the clock is ticking. “Black women are the most educated and indebted demographic group in our country. Generations of discriminatory policies like redlining and predatory lending have denied our families the opportunity to build wealth.” Canceling student debt would help close the racial wealth gap.
Full article at https://on.thegrio.com/3uGa6vJ
Rashad joins the Takeaway for Black.Queer.Rising., a special series launched this Black History Month that highlights Black Queer people’s impact on American culture and society. Rashad talks extensively about Color Of Change’s work. “When Black people win, the country moves in the right direction. Whether we are operating in Silicon Valley with unchecked power, whether we’re dealing with the images that come out of Hollywood, or the things that happen in Washington D.C., this is all about folks gameplan’ing out what they believe they have to do around racial justice and equity. And they’ll do just as much as they think they have to. So along the way, we’re trying to change the rules.”
Full interview at https://bit.ly/3vehsW5