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In the Media

Every 8 Seconds, an American Turns 65. How Do We Care for Everyone?

Heather McGhee, chair of Color Of Change’s Board interviews Ai-jen Poo on the prospects of public economic investment in child care, elder care and paid family leave. Ai-jen is a MacArthur Genius grant winner and author of the book “The Age of Dignity.” They discuss public policy at the intersection of race, inequality and social policy on the Ezra Klein show. Ai-jen is quoted, “It is essentially a house of cards for everyone. And what’s holding it together is the unpaid work of women in our families and the underpaid work of women and majority women of color as professional care workers. And it is completely unsustainable.”

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Democrats to Target Section 230 in Haugen Hearing

House Democrats are using a hearing with the Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen to bolster calls to scale back legal protections for social media companies based on accusations that tech giants are failing to remove hate speech and misinformation. Although Republicans and Democrats are on polar opposite sides of the debate, they’re unified in support of the Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen, speaking out. Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson is quoted. “I think her expertise at really cutting through some of the lies that we hear from the platforms has been really encouraging.” Haugen will warn lawmakers not to fall into Facebook’s trap and “get caught up in a long, drawn out debate over the minutiae of different legislative approaches,” according to a copy of her opening remarks.

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Holding Big Tech Accountable – Much More To Be Done, Especially With Social Media

This week lawmakers from the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Communications and Technology (of the Committee on Energy and Commerce) continued to hear testimony from witnesses on the state of “Big Tech,” notably the social media platforms. Whistleblowers explained the problems that still need to be addressed at Facebook. Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson was one of the witnesses at the testimony. He is quoted discussing the lack of regulation for Facebook. “Somehow they exist on a completely different plane and are allowed to have a completely different set of rules than everyone else. The fact of the matter is freedom of speech is not freedom from the consequences of speech.”

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Conspiracy Theories Are an Election Security Threat

Conspiracy theories and phony fraud claims are one of the biggest threats to secure elections whose results are accepted by the American people, a new report argues. The report from the Aspen Institute think tank’s Commission on Information Disorder urges a surge in federal funding to combat the sort of conspiracy theories promoted by former president Donald Trump and his allies. Given the new attacks on democracy, election officials need to be given more resources and more communication capabilities. Co-chairs of the commission are longtime TV journalist Katie Couric, Chris Krebs, and Rashad Robinson, president of the Color Of Change. Election officials have spent roughly $1 billion making elections more secure against hacking and other manipulations since 2016. But that hasn’t protected the public against a wave of phony claims aimed at degrading faith in the electoral process.

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Report: ‘Whole of Society’ Must Fight Misinformation

Misinformation is jeopardizing efforts to solve some of humanity’s greatest challenges, be it climate change, COVID-19 or political polarization, according to a new report from the Aspen Institute backed by prominent voices in media. Recommendations call for new regulations on social media platforms; stronger, more consistent rules for misinformation “super spreaders” who amplify harmful falsehoods and new investments in authoritative journalism and organizations that teach media literacy. “Hundreds of millions of people pay the price, every single day, for a world disordered by lies,” reads the report’s introduction, written by the commission’s three co-chairs: journalist Katie Couric, former White House cybersecurity official Christopher Krebs and Rashad Robinson, president of Color Of Change. “The path to making real change is going to require all of us,” Robinson said.

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The Jury Selection Process Is Rigged in Favor of White Supremacy

In the Ahmaud Arbery case, justice arrived despite a rigged jury selection process: 11 of the 12 jurors were white, and that was no accident. During jury selection, the defense dismissed 11 of 12 potential Black jurors. When the prosecution challenged these dismissals, the judge acknowledged that they were likely rooted in racism but refused to do anything about it. Over and over, we see the same thing, and the problem is not with the judges or lawyers — but the law. Scott Roberts, Color Of Change’s Sr Director of Criminal Justice Campaigns points to the case of Judge Olu Stevens in 2016, who threw out an all-white jury on racial grounds. “He recognized that discrimination was happening, … and he was suspended for 90 days.” In addition, “If you’re barred from registering to vote, then you’re barred from juries by default. Given that our criminal justice system is so racially biased, … this is a vicious cycle.”

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Thought Leadership

BLAVITY OP-ED: It’s Not A Debate: TV And Film Content Clearly Impacts Real World Behavior

Color Of Change weighs in on the latest debate concerning hateful content and Netflix. TV creators have the unique opportunity to reinforce beliefs in audience’s consciousness. When these beliefs are rooted in racist, sexist, xenophobic or transphobic stereotypes, it’s a problem. Hollywood execs have the power to change the rules of content — and change culture. But that can’t happen when they think their stories don’t have the power to incite hatred or violence. First-of-its-kind research from the Center for Media & Social Impact shows how comedy can focus a critical lens on injustice. It’s also a way to cut through traditional media and noise to engage people.

Full article at https://bit.ly/3ITFkUr.

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THE GRIO OP-ED: Without Action from Lawmakers to Extend the Child Tax Credit, Millions of Children Face Immediate Danger

Color Of Change’s Chief of Campaigns Arisha Hatch writes about how legislators are backing out on the promise of the American Rescue Plan, the largest child tax credit legislation in American history. The bill would give families monthly payments of $250-$300 per child, but due to the inaction from elected officials like Sen. Joe Manchin and racist tropes about “spending aid wisely,” 10 million children will likely not be covered and stuck in poverty. She writes, “Poverty is not an accident or a series of poor decisions. It results from many factors like corporate greed, exploitative labor practices, and unjust policies or actions by elected officials.”

Full article at https://on.thegrio.com/3fqGOJ0

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CNN Video: New Report Suggests Solutions to ‘Information Disorder’

Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson recently joined the Aspen Institute’s Commission of Information Disorder along with national and global media celebrities from Katie Couric to Prince Harry. Based on a new report, they have just come out with practical solutions to try to tamp down misinformation on the Internet. Robinson is interviewed. “Information and disinformation have always existed. What we’re dealing with now is because of technology, and the prevalence of technology, it is moving at a pace we’ve never seen before. We’re calling on leadership across government and private sectors to engage in dealing with this problem.” He clarifies, “If the platforms say that they actually want to deal with these problems, then they have all sorts of tools at their disposal.”

You can watch the full video at https://cnn.it/3HjHA7n

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BLAVITY OP-ED: Countless Corporations Looked In During the BLM Uprisings. The Country Music Association Didn’t Even Pretend To Address Its Racism Problem.

This year, Black artists appear in only 3 of the 12 Country Music Awards categories. For decades, decision-makers in Nashville have worked to shut out Black artists — it’s time the CMA be held accountable for its racist culture and exclusionary bylaws and eligibility requirements. The CMA hardly even reacted when Morgan Wallen used the n-word; he was nominated this year. Meanwhile Lil Nas X, who took the world by storm with “Old Town Road,” which topped the charts for a record-breaking 19 weeks was inexplicably kicked off the country charts by Billboard. Then there’s the time Beyoncé and The Chicks did a surprise performance at the CMA Awards. It devolved into fans talking about how Beyoncé isn’t what country music represents ’til the CMA had to scrub their socials due to the abundance of racist comments.

Full article at https://bit.ly/30pjpU7

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BLAVITY OP-ED: To Protect Black Women, Media Needs To Play Its Part

R. Kelly’s trial illuminates a disturbing fact: reporters, TV producers, and media outlets are comfortable vilifying Black women and discrediting the stories of survivors rather than holding celebrities accountable. The Color Of Change team writes, “It has become increasingly apparent that streaming, media and recording companies have made their stance on survivors of sexual violence — and they’re siding with the abusers.” Spotify, Apple Music, the Shade Room, and dozens of entertainment shows continue to profit off of abusers like T.I., R. Kelly, and Tory Lanez. We’re past due for a transition in the way media report on sexual violence. “Thousands of other women watching this negligence carried out by the media are discouraged from sharing their stories. When we create a culture of supporting predators and abusers, Black women survivors are pushed to the margins while their aggressors continue to thrive and make money.”

Full article at https://bit.ly/3m9cSFo

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THE ROOT OP-ED: Senate Democrats, Why Are You Silent on Voting Rights?

Scott Roberts writes about the work that Color Of Change and other racial justice groups are doing to fight back against the barrage of attacks on our right to vote. “This coordinated attack is white supremacy at work. They are doing everything they can to silence us,” he explains. “We’re at a quintessential moment in our democracy. So much of our future depends on our ability to have access to the polls and the levers of power it holds. Yet Congress went on recess with no voting rights legislation passed. Black voters must hold our representatives accountable to ensure this legislative session does not end without the House of Rep. and Senate passing the Freedom to Vote Act.”

Full article at https://bit.ly/30ipSQs

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