Slate interviewed 7 powerhouse Black women from Team USA on the racism they’ve endured — and how they are pushing back to move professional sports forward. Gwen Berry set off a firestorm for raising her fist on the podium of the Pan American Games and is sponsored by Color Of Change. She says, “We can start off with the corporations because, you know, they were the ones donating the most money… I feel like we haven’t seen enough. The problem is people care when it’s relevant, but they will move on after 48 hours or after a month or two, they don’t care about the actual results. Now, the reason that I work with Color of Change is that they have literally been doing everything in their power to make sure we see some type of changes we’ve been advocating for.”
In the Media
As part of its #ChangeMusic initiative, Color of Change is partnering with Diverse Representation to launch the Black Music Executives Pipeline Program to increase the number of Black executives in the industry. While nearly 50% of professionals artists are Black, less than 10% of music executives are. T change this, the Black Music Executives Pipeline Program will select 12 participants for a three-month training program that will provide them with the tools and resources needed to build a successful career later this year. Ryan Butler, DEI Director at the Recording Academy is quoted. “As leaders in the music industry, it is up to us to usher in a new age in vision and set a new tone.”
The Recording Academy announced next year’s Grammy Awards will be produced using an inclusion rider, an important step toward making the awards more diverse. An inclusion rider is a contractual requirement designed to ensure equity and inclusion at all levels of production. Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson, who helped created the #ChangeMusic initiative and is promoting the new inclusion rider, is quoted. “There are a lot of unwritten rules in the entertainment industry that create racial exclusion, and at Color Of Change, we know that to change society you have to change the rules. This inclusion rider is a written rule that will change the culture of hiring at the Grammys, and will make inclusion the norm.”
After years of getting next to nowhere with Mark Zuckerberg, rights groups like Color Of Change and the Anti-Defamation League are shifting strategy – turning from corporate engagement toward legislation to stop hate and misinformation on social media. Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson says years of conversations haven’t led Facebook to make substantive changes, and there is “nothing worse than to go and beg a billionaire to stop hurting us.” So now advocates are increasingly pushing Congress and the Biden administration to force tech companies to take more aggressive steps to moderate their sites for bigotry, misinformation, voter suppression and discrimination, rather than pleading with the companies.
Alarmed by a wave of bills sweeping state legislatures and a Supreme Court decision many say will dismantle voting rights, Black women are taking courageous steps to fight back. Over four days of collective action, leaders held a town hall, rally, and protest on Capitol Hill. After being arrested and released, some of the women sat down with Vice President Kamala Harris about the “moral” and “spiritual” imperative to protect voting. Rep. Jackson Lee underscored that the filibuster was not part of the Constitution – and instead was created specifically to block equal rights and voting rights as far back as the 1800s. Color Of Change continues to lead a campaign to get rid of the filibuster, which has been invoked time and again to stop laws affirming the rights of Black and Brown people.
Congressman Hank Johnson was arrested with Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson, and Cliff Albright, founder of Black Voters Matter for protesting the Senate’s failure to protect voting rights. Their protests are meant to direct attention to the For the People Act, Democratic legislation blocked by Senate Republicans as GOP lawmakers in a number of states pass a series of voting restrictions. Rashad is quoted, “It was worth the risk to use our power to demand voting rights protections for Black people, and all communities, in our country.” Seven states have passed laws to expand officials’ ability to purge voters from registration rolls or put voters at risk of having their names improperly removed – all swings state where Black people turning out has changed the outcome of elections.
Scott Roberts, Color Of Change’s Sr. Director of Criminal Justice Campaigns, explains why we cannot accept tinkering with the current model of policing in place of real change. In Minneapolis, communities are coming together to make the city safer and Color Of Change launched Safety Not Fear. “The campaign gives Minneapolis members a platform to highlight what works and what doesn’t to keep communities safe. It’s clear that police reform and new police training requirements are not working. What we’re doing isn’t working for Black & Brown communities facing police violence, for families concerned about crime, for folks who don’t consider the place they call home safe.”
Full article at https://bit.ly/3zbey4x
The Hill reports on how Color of Change has become a leader in the push to hold tech giants accountable. “Part of what we’ve had to do over the last several years is translate presence into power,” President Rashad Robinson says. He’s been pivotal in pushing social media platforms—especially Facebook, to conduct a civil rights audit. “My work every single day is working to build the infrastructure to get people lined up to fight — so we can have more people fighting for change, more people holding these companies accountable, and more ways to right the balance of power.”
Full article at https://bit.ly/38RLlkk
Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson made the Hollywood Reporter’s top 10 list of LGBTQ changemakers this year. After George Floyd was murdered, his renewed efforts to make the entertainment industry confront its portrayals of cops had a huge impact. COPS and Live PD were canceled, and more than a dozen TV shows brought on Color of Change to rethink depictions of policing, the justice system and racism. Next Robinson wants to see people of color get their due in LGBTQ stories.
Full article at https://bit.ly/2X3i587
WASHINGTON POST INTERVIEW: Rashad Robinson Is an Intersectional Leader Fighting for Equity & Justice
Columnist Jonathan Capeheart sat down with Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson – who he calls “a civil rights leader you should be paying more attention to” – for Pride month. Rashad calls what’s happening now “a deep cultural shift in America” and explains what it is means that racial justice has become a majoritarian issue in America as racial justice that moved people to the streets. He talks about how to transform the presence of Black people into real power, and what cues we can follow from the LGBTQ movement.
Full audio interview at https://wapo.st/3yYadl7
The guilty verdict against Derek Chauvin for murdering George Floyd is just the beginning of a long journey for officials to step up and enact real solutions that change the conditions Black people face at the hands of police, and move us towards true justice and reinvestment in our communities. Color Of Change is running campaigns to support the Department of Justice’s investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department’s practices, to fund non-policing public safety programs, and end qualified immunity once and for all. Full article is at https://bet.us/3Cfxa64.
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 – and what more he thinks they could be doing. 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.”
Full interview at www.wnyc.org/story/the-brian-lehrer-show-2021-04-16/