[Blackstudies-l] Race/Related: Tackling Systemic Racism One Strategy at a Time

Maria Lima lima at geneseo.edu
Sat Sep 5 12:10:40 EDT 2020


Color of Change, an online racial justice organization, was born in the
wake of Hurricane Katrina.
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[image: More Race/Related]
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September 5, 2020
Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change and a civil rights
leader.Michelle
V. Agins/The New York Times
Spotlight on Color of Change

By Pierre-Antoine Louis

Color of Change, an online racial justice organization with 1.7 million
members, was born 15 years ago in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, an epic
storm that devastated New Orleans and left hundreds of Black people dead.

Shortly after a televised concert to raise money for victims — a live
performance where Kanye West said that “George Bush doesn’t care about
Black people” — the men who would become the founders of Color of Change
sent an email to 1,000 people with the subject line, “Kanye was right.”
That email grew into a movement that created the organization.

At the time of Katrina, in August 2005, social media was in its infancy.
Twitter did not exist and the first iPhone was still nearly two years from
its release date. Few technology tools were available to channel the
concerns and outrage of Americans. And so the website was built.

“We lay the infrastructure so that when a crisis hits we can give people
ways to respond,” said Rashad Robinson, who has been at the helm of Color
of Change for nine years.

Fast forward to this summer, and the organization — which has built
campaigns to fight systemic racism and has taken on Hollywood, tech
companies, the prison industry and elected leaders — has been a crucial
force in organizing demonstrations against police violence and holding the
powerful to account.

It has also been instrumental since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic
in pushing for better health care options and financial resources for the
Black community, which has been disproportionately affected by the health
crisis.
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“I think at every phase, it’s because we’ve taken risks, but we’ve been
smarter about who we are and we’ve, in many ways, had to walk into rooms
where people expected one thing from us and we’ve been able to do a lot
more things,” Mr. Robinson said. “And that’s the story of Black people in
America.”

The organization put together a guide for Black patients who contracted the
virus
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that includes best practices and resources for combating Covid-19. Color of
Change also collected data on the lack of Paycheck Protection Program
<https://nl.nytimes.com/f/newsletter/JhTLmPh77INtOBBW7j14Ew~~/AAAAAQA~/RgRhNfToP0TuaHR0cHM6Ly93d3cubnl0aW1lcy5jb20vMjAyMC8wNS8xOC9idXNpbmVzcy9taW5vcml0eS1idXNpbmVzc2VzLWNvcm9uYXZpcnVzLWxvYW5zLmh0bWw_Y2FtcGFpZ25faWQ9MzcmZW1jPWVkaXRfcnJfMjAyMDA5MDUmaW5zdGFuY2VfaWQ9MjE5NDQmbmw9cmFjZSUyRnJlbGF0ZWQmcmVnaV9pZD00Mjc0MDg5NyZzZWdtZW50X2lkPTM3NTEwJnRlPTEmdXNlcl9pZD0zOTM4ZjE3ZDgxODJhMjJmZGUxNDY3ZmY5ZDBiYjVjNVcDbnl0QgoALOhvU1-oLu08UhBsaW1hQGdlbmVzZW8uZWR1WAQAAAAA>
funds going toward Black, Latino and other nonwhite business owners. It
released research
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on the impact of the virus on Black-owned small businesses that included
interviews with 500 business owners and 1,200 workers, and it put together
the Black Response
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which outlined failures and demanded accountability from the federal
government on behalf of Black communities.

Corporate accountability has been a big part of the group’s mission, and it
has demanded racial justice policies from leading technology companies. The
group has pushed Facebook to make its civil rights audit publicly
available, drawn attention to Twitter, Google and Facebook for
misinformation on their platforms, and succeeded in getting payment
services to stop processing funding for identified white supremacists. Most
recently, Color Of Change pressured major wedding planning platforms to
stop promoting the locations of former slave plantations.

In 2013 — long before George Floyd’s killing while in the custody of
Minneapolis police officers prompted a summer of protests — Color of Change
led an organized campaign to urge advertisers and executives to not renew
the show “Cops.”
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A few years later, the organization partnered with the Norman Lear Center
at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles for a report that
looks at the role that crime shows have in normalizing injustice.

Early this year, they released the Normalizing Injustice
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report, a comprehensive study on how television’s most popular genre
excludes writers of color, fails to educate people about the criminal
justice system and makes racial injustice acceptable. The report received
some interest, but it did not get the traction that they had hoped for.

Then Mr. Floyd was killed and an uprising happened. The group re-upped the
report and a new level of energy swelled.

“Color of Change was being invited into writers’ rooms of a wide range of
shows,” Mr. Robinson said, “while at the same time, we ran some very clear
campaigns to get those cop-reality shows off the air, because those shows,
at their core, could never show reality.”

Color of Change believes the nation is in an era of cultural change.

“This is not just about the George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor
moments that we’ve been inside of,” Mr. Robinson said. “It’s also about the
Amy Cooper video in Central Park. We are in a moment of deep cultural
reckoning, where some of the rules are changing about what is acceptable
and what is possible.”
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Mr. Robinson said the organization had channeled the aspirations and
resoluteness of not just Black people, but also allies across race and
ethnicities. At its core, he said, the group intends to hold institutions
accountable.

“At Color of Change, we’re not focused on ‘How do we fix Black people and
Black families,’” he said, “but on ‘How do we fix the systems and the
structures that have hurt, harmed and held us back.’”
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unrest, others question why he is racing at all.

By Joe Drape
<https://nl.nytimes.com/f/newsletter/cd2bFyQAlZvUhwkdL3XicQ~~/AAAAAQA~/RgRhNfToP0T4aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cubnl0aW1lcy5jb20vMjAyMC8wOS8wMy9zcG9ydHMvaG9yc2UtcmFjaW5nL2tlbnR1Y2t5LWRlcmJ5LWJyZW9ubmEtdGF5bG9yLWhhcmJ1dC5odG1sP2NhbXBhaWduX2lkPTM3JmVtYz1lZGl0X3JyXzIwMjAwOTA1Jmluc3RhbmNlX2lkPTIxOTQ0Jm5sPXJhY2UlMkZyZWxhdGVkJnJlZ2lfaWQ9NDI3NDA4OTcmc2VnbWVudF9pZD0zNzUxMCZ0ZT0xJnVzZXJfaWQ9MzkzOGYxN2Q4MTgyYTIyZmRlMTQ2N2ZmOWQwYmI1YzVXA255dEIKACzob1NfqC7tPFIQbGltYUBnZW5lc2VvLmVkdVgEAAAAAA~~>
[image: Article Image]

Mary F. Calvert for The New York Times
<https://nl.nytimes.com/f/newsletter/Yu8lVWwD344OTM25Z5WYUw~~/AAAAAQA~/RgRhNfToP0TYaHR0cHM6Ly93d3cubnl0aW1lcy5jb20vMjAyMC8wOS8wMy91cy9qZXNzaWNhLWtydWctZ3d1LXJhY2UuaHRtbD9jYW1wYWlnbl9pZD0zNyZlbWM9ZWRpdF9ycl8yMDIwMDkwNSZpbnN0YW5jZV9pZD0yMTk0NCZubD1yYWNlJTJGcmVsYXRlZCZyZWdpX2lkPTQyNzQwODk3JnNlZ21lbnRfaWQ9Mzc1MTAmdGU9MSZ1c2VyX2lkPTM5MzhmMTdkODE4MmEyMmZkZTE0NjdmZjlkMGJiNWM1VwNueXRCCgAs6G9TX6gu7TxSEGxpbWFAZ2VuZXNlby5lZHVYBAAAAAA~>
  University Investigates Claim That White Professor Pretended to Be Black

George Washington University said it was looking into a blog post written
under the name of Jessica A. Krug detailing a long history of deception
about her racial identity.

By Michael Levenson and Jennifer Schuessler
<https://nl.nytimes.com/f/newsletter/Yu8lVWwD344OTM25Z5WYUw~~/AAAAAQA~/RgRhNfToP0TYaHR0cHM6Ly93d3cubnl0aW1lcy5jb20vMjAyMC8wOS8wMy91cy9qZXNzaWNhLWtydWctZ3d1LXJhY2UuaHRtbD9jYW1wYWlnbl9pZD0zNyZlbWM9ZWRpdF9ycl8yMDIwMDkwNSZpbnN0YW5jZV9pZD0yMTk0NCZubD1yYWNlJTJGcmVsYXRlZCZyZWdpX2lkPTQyNzQwODk3JnNlZ21lbnRfaWQ9Mzc1MTAmdGU9MSZ1c2VyX2lkPTM5MzhmMTdkODE4MmEyMmZkZTE0NjdmZjlkMGJiNWM1VwNueXRCCgAs6G9TX6gu7TxSEGxpbWFAZ2VuZXNlby5lZHVYBAAAAAA~>
[image: Article Image]

Gabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times
<https://nl.nytimes.com/f/newsletter/obrdwIcS274FOuxehTyj9g~~/AAAAAQA~/RgRhNfToP0TlaHR0cHM6Ly93d3cubnl0aW1lcy5jb20vMjAyMC8wOS8wNC9vcGluaW9uL2xhdGlub3MtZWxlY3Rpb25zLXRydW1wLWJpZGVuLmh0bWw_Y2FtcGFpZ25faWQ9MzcmZW1jPWVkaXRfcnJfMjAyMDA5MDUmaW5zdGFuY2VfaWQ9MjE5NDQmbmw9cmFjZSUyRnJlbGF0ZWQmcmVnaV9pZD00Mjc0MDg5NyZzZWdtZW50X2lkPTM3NTEwJnRlPTEmdXNlcl9pZD0zOTM4ZjE3ZDgxODJhMjJmZGUxNDY3ZmY5ZDBiYjVjNVcDbnl0QgoALOhvU1-oLu08UhBsaW1hQGdlbmVzZW8uZWR1WAQAAAAA>
  There Is No Route to the White House Without Latino Voters

Republicans and Democrats alike seem to rediscover us every four years,
then forget about us. It is called the Christopher Columbus syndrome.

By Jorge Ramos
<https://nl.nytimes.com/f/newsletter/obrdwIcS274FOuxehTyj9g~~/AAAAAQA~/RgRhNfToP0TlaHR0cHM6Ly93d3cubnl0aW1lcy5jb20vMjAyMC8wOS8wNC9vcGluaW9uL2xhdGlub3MtZWxlY3Rpb25zLXRydW1wLWJpZGVuLmh0bWw_Y2FtcGFpZ25faWQ9MzcmZW1jPWVkaXRfcnJfMjAyMDA5MDUmaW5zdGFuY2VfaWQ9MjE5NDQmbmw9cmFjZSUyRnJlbGF0ZWQmcmVnaV9pZD00Mjc0MDg5NyZzZWdtZW50X2lkPTM3NTEwJnRlPTEmdXNlcl9pZD0zOTM4ZjE3ZDgxODJhMjJmZGUxNDY3ZmY5ZDBiYjVjNVcDbnl0QgoALOhvU1-oLu08UhBsaW1hQGdlbmVzZW8uZWR1WAQAAAAA>
[image: Article Image]

Russell Contreras/Los Angeles Public Library, via Associated Press
<https://nl.nytimes.com/f/newsletter/ctNh-IiS8QHXD-9IR0YKsA~~/AAAAAQA~/RgRhNfToP0TzaHR0cHM6Ly93d3cubnl0aW1lcy5jb20vMjAyMC8wOS8wNC9vYml0dWFyaWVzL2NoYXJsb3R0YS1iYXNzLXZpY2UtcHJlc2lkZW50LW92ZXJsb29rZWQuaHRtbD9jYW1wYWlnbl9pZD0zNyZlbWM9ZWRpdF9ycl8yMDIwMDkwNSZpbnN0YW5jZV9pZD0yMTk0NCZubD1yYWNlJTJGcmVsYXRlZCZyZWdpX2lkPTQyNzQwODk3JnNlZ21lbnRfaWQ9Mzc1MTAmdGU9MSZ1c2VyX2lkPTM5MzhmMTdkODE4MmEyMmZkZTE0NjdmZjlkMGJiNWM1VwNueXRCCgAs6G9TX6gu7TxSEGxpbWFAZ2VuZXNlby5lZHVYBAAAAAA~>
  Overlooked No More: Before Kamala Harris, There Was Charlotta Bass

She was the first Black woman to run for vice president, in 1952. She was
also a pioneering journalist.

By Jessica Bennett
<https://nl.nytimes.com/f/newsletter/ctNh-IiS8QHXD-9IR0YKsA~~/AAAAAQA~/RgRhNfToP0TzaHR0cHM6Ly93d3cubnl0aW1lcy5jb20vMjAyMC8wOS8wNC9vYml0dWFyaWVzL2NoYXJsb3R0YS1iYXNzLXZpY2UtcHJlc2lkZW50LW92ZXJsb29rZWQuaHRtbD9jYW1wYWlnbl9pZD0zNyZlbWM9ZWRpdF9ycl8yMDIwMDkwNSZpbnN0YW5jZV9pZD0yMTk0NCZubD1yYWNlJTJGcmVsYXRlZCZyZWdpX2lkPTQyNzQwODk3JnNlZ21lbnRfaWQ9Mzc1MTAmdGU9MSZ1c2VyX2lkPTM5MzhmMTdkODE4MmEyMmZkZTE0NjdmZjlkMGJiNWM1VwNueXRCCgAs6G9TX6gu7TxSEGxpbWFAZ2VuZXNlby5lZHVYBAAAAAA~>
[image: Article Image]

Graham Bezant/Toronto Star, via Getty Images
<https://nl.nytimes.com/f/newsletter/RPtsFs1ehQhYvx-OlY8XFg~~/AAAAAQA~/RgRhNfToP0TUaHR0cHM6Ly93d3cubnl0aW1lcy5jb20vMjAyMC8wOS8wNC9hcnRzL3NhbG9tZS1iZXktZGVhZC5odG1sP2NhbXBhaWduX2lkPTM3JmVtYz1lZGl0X3JyXzIwMjAwOTA1Jmluc3RhbmNlX2lkPTIxOTQ0Jm5sPXJhY2UlMkZyZWxhdGVkJnJlZ2lfaWQ9NDI3NDA4OTcmc2VnbWVudF9pZD0zNzUxMCZ0ZT0xJnVzZXJfaWQ9MzkzOGYxN2Q4MTgyYTIyZmRlMTQ2N2ZmOWQwYmI1YzVXA255dEIKACzob1NfqC7tPFIQbGltYUBnZW5lc2VvLmVkdVgEAAAAAA~~>
  Salome Bey, Soulful Singer, Actress and Playwright, Dies at 86

Ms. Bey, known as “Canada’s first lady of the blues,” broke ground in her
adopted country by creating opportunities for Black people in the theater.

By Catherine Porter
<https://nl.nytimes.com/f/newsletter/RPtsFs1ehQhYvx-OlY8XFg~~/AAAAAQA~/RgRhNfToP0TUaHR0cHM6Ly93d3cubnl0aW1lcy5jb20vMjAyMC8wOS8wNC9hcnRzL3NhbG9tZS1iZXktZGVhZC5odG1sP2NhbXBhaWduX2lkPTM3JmVtYz1lZGl0X3JyXzIwMjAwOTA1Jmluc3RhbmNlX2lkPTIxOTQ0Jm5sPXJhY2UlMkZyZWxhdGVkJnJlZ2lfaWQ9NDI3NDA4OTcmc2VnbWVudF9pZD0zNzUxMCZ0ZT0xJnVzZXJfaWQ9MzkzOGYxN2Q4MTgyYTIyZmRlMTQ2N2ZmOWQwYmI1YzVXA255dEIKACzob1NfqC7tPFIQbGltYUBnZW5lc2VvLmVkdVgEAAAAAA~~>
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