Dear Donald Trump: We Shall Not Be Moved

movedMoved [The We Shall Not Be Moved March on Washington, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. (Image: Black Enterprise/Selena Hill)]

 

It was cold and wet. My fingers were numb. I could feel my boots sink into the mud, as I stood with thousands of Americans at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., Saturday afternoon. However, despite our level of discomfort, we remained outside in the frigid winter rain in order to let Washington know that we would rather protest in the cold than watch healthcare, jobs, and progress towards criminal justice reform get rolled back under the incoming Trump administration.

About 2,000 people reportedly participated in the We Shall Not Be Moved March on Washington, organized by Rev. Al Sharpton and his organization, the National Action Network (NAN). Held on Martin Luther King weekend, activists vowed to continue to fight for Dr. King’s dream to bring jobs, economic equality, and freedom to marginalized Americans. Protesters also came out to demand the protection of civil rights and the legacy of President Barack Obama, as Congress works to repeal his signature healthcare law just days before President-elect Donald Trump comes to power.

“We march in the driving rain, because we want the nation to understand that what has been fought for and gained, you’re going to need more than one election to turn it around,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Dominique Sharpton, the Director of Membership at NAN and Rev. Sharpton’s oldest daughter, told Black Enterprise that the march and rally were held to send a strong message to the incoming administration.

 

 

While addressing the crowd at the podium, Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, reiterated the purpose of the march.

“Just because an election has taken place, it does not change what we believe in, what we stand for, and what our vision for this nation is.”

 

 

In addition to protesting, Rev. Sharpton called for demonstrators to take direct action by demanding that elected leaders to stand up for our interests, and reject the nominees Trump has selected to fill positions in the White House, like Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions.

“We need to make some house calls. We need to stay a little while,” he said.

 

The veteran civil rights leader also sent a fierce warning to congressional Democrats and moderate Republicans that concede to Trump’s extreme conservative agenda.

“Get some backbone! Get some guts!” cried Sharpton. “We didn’t send you down here to be weak-kneed, and get in the room, and try to make friends. We sent you down here to stand up for senior citizens, to stand up for students that can’t pay their bills, to stand up for victims of police abuse. If you can’t do the job, than we’ll come here and bring you back home.”

A video posted by Ms. Hill (@msselenahill) on Jan 14, 2017 at 9:30am PST

Other speakers at the rally included NAACP President Cornell William Brooks, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, Georgetown University professor Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. In addition, family members of slain victims Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin and Walter Scott, were also present.

 

Although Sharpton admitted that the rally was almost canceled due to weather conditions, organizers agreed to press on. “We are not fair-weather activists. We march in snow and the rain.”

This Week in Tech Racism: January 8-14, 2017

week

This Week in Tech Racism looks back at the summer home of Martin Luther King Jr. in San Francisco, where black natives are routinely shut out of tech jobs. Also, with the resignation of tech CEO Ursula Burns and Rosalind Brewer’s retirement as CEO of Sam’s Club, there are no more black females in the C-suite at any major corporation. Check out these stories and other news that stands at the intersection of technology and racism.

 

Study: Not One Single Unicorn is Black

 

Mercury News examines the fact that there is not one, single “unicorn”—a startup with a valuation of $1 billion and up—founded or led by an African American. The articles cites example of exemplary tech talent and concludes, “A track record like that should produce a lot more investment in the 450,000 African American technology professionals.”


African Americans Denied Access in the Land of Tech

 

The San Francisco Chronicle poses the question, “Would Dr. Marin Luther King, Jr. recognize San Francisco today?” Dr. King routinely spent summers there in his youth. Today, many African Americans do not have access to tech jobs in San Francisco, as they do in the smaller tech hubs of other cities.


Charles Hudson’s Quest to Diversify the Startup Scene

 

USA Today interviewed venture capitalist Charles Hudson, who was a speaker at Black Enterprise’s inaugural TechConneXt Summit two years ago. Hudson’s VC form, Precursor Ventures, is on a mission to make “sure more entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds get an equal shot at venture capital dollars and their Silicon Valley dreams.”


This Is the End of Black Female CEOs In Corporate America

 

Ursula Burns recently resigned as CEO of Xerox, not long after the company split into two business units. Now, Rosalind Brewer has retired as CEO of Sam’s Club. Black Enterprise’s senior business editor, Carolyn M. Brown, offers why it’s so troubling that there are currently no black women as C-level executives at major companies, any longer.


How Companies Get Diversity So Wrong

 

Black Enterprise’s digital managing editor, Maryann Reid, outlines how companies, as well-meaning as they may be, get their diversity goals and initiatives all wrong.

 

More than 50 Percent of U.S. Employers Do Not Honor Dr. King Day

Martin Luther King Jr, closeup shot

King_Jr_Martin_Luther_093.jpg

Image: File

According to Bloomberg BNA’s Holiday Practices survey, just 37% of U.S. employers grant their employees with a paid day off in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Making a slight improvement from the 35% of employers in 2014, survey results show that despite Dr. King’s birthday being considered a federal holiday for more than 30 years, companies are still slow to honor his legacy in the workplace.

“After three decades as a federal holiday, getting Dr. King’s birthday as a paid day off seems to be plateauing as those U.S. workers getting the day off with pay has hovered between 30 and 37 percent the past five years,” said Molly Huie, Bloomberg BNA’s Manager of Survey and Research Reports. “In fact, while not a federal holiday, the Friday after Thanksgiving was given as a paid day off in 2015 by nearly twice as many employers (71%) as Dr. King’s birthday and 46% of employers provided a paid day off for Christmas Eve.”

[RELATED: The Best Online Resources for Learning about MLK]

When compared to other federal holidays, Dr. King’s birthday lags behind drastically when it comes to being recognized in the professional arena. Based off the results, which surveyed over 350 human resource professionals, 98% of employers provide paid leave for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day; 97% provide paid leave for Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day; and 94% honor paid leave for New Year’s Day.

Employees who work for non-business organizations such as healthcare, government, and educational institutions are more likely to receive a paid day off for Dr. King’s birthday, rather than employees working in the manufacturing industry. According to the survey, just 10% of manufacturing companies provide paid leave in honor of the late civil rights leader.

In the past, a few tech companies have come under fire for their Dr. King leave policies. Apple, for example, received mixed reactions after it was made public that rather than giving their workers the day off, the company donates money to charity for every hour their employee commits to volunteering.

“As we reflect on the significance of Dr. King’s contributions, there is no greater way to celebrate his legacy than to serve the communities where we live and work,” wrote Apple’s head of human resources, Denise Young Smith, in an email to staff last year.

To see a breakdown of the industries that are giving employees the day off for Dr. King Day check the infographic below.

Dr. King infographic

Image: Bloomberg BNA

 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Events Happening Around the Nation

Dr. Martin Luther King Day is Monday, January 18, 2016, and cities across the nation are planning a series of events to honor his life and legacy. From service project opportunities and concerts to lectures, museum exhibits, and concerts, there are several ways you can get involved.

[RELATED: President Obama Honored Dr. King With Day of Service]

Below is a snapshot of events happening in New York, Atlanta, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia. For additional events in your area, check your local news website, National Service.org, Eventbrite or Meetup.com.

New York
Race and Privilege: Exploring MLK’s Two Americas
Apollo Theater, Sunday, January 17, 2016
WNYC and Apollo Theater Presents Race and Privilege: Exploring MLK’s Two Americas. The panel includes WNYC’s Peabody Award-winning host Brian Lehrer and Jami Floyd, local host of WNYC’s All Things Considered, who will moderate an open discussion on disparity in America, looking at the persistence of institutional racism and how individuals can combat racism everyday on multiple fronts. RSVPs are mandatory at www.ApolloTheater.org/event/uptown-hall/

30th Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, Fort Greene Monday, January 18, 2016

BAM presents the 30th annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., New York City’s largest public celebration of the great civil rights leader. Michael Eric Dyson, author of April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Death and How It Changed America, is the keynote speaker at BAM’s yearly celebration. Following his presentation, a community art exhibition and a series of musical performances will also be held by Kimberly Nichole and The Brooklyn Interdenominational Choir. Visit BAM.org to learn more.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Historic Harlem Walking Tour
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Harlem. Monday, January 18, 2016

Big Onion Tours hosts a walking tour of Harlem honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “The Historic Harlem Walking Tour” includes stops at Abyssinian Baptist Church, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Striver’s Row, the Apollo Theater, the Big Apple Nightclub, and sites associated with W.E.B. Du Bois, the Harlem Renaissance, Madame C.J. Walker, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, and many others. To learn more visit Big Onion Tours. To learn more about NYC events visit, Time Out NYC.

Atlanta, GA
MLK Day5 K Drum Run
Piedmont Park, Saturday, January 16, 2016

MLK 5K race is a 3.1 mile Drum Run held at Piedmont Park. Beyond the celebrate MLK Day race day, the organization is working with Atlanta, Georgia, area schools, churches, community organizations, and businesses to use the race as a fundraiser for their community-oriented initiatives. $5 of each registration from an approved organization will be returned to that organization for use in community efforts of its choice. To learn more visit, MLKDay5k.com.

MLK Tribute Concert
Atlanta Symphony Hall
1/15/2016

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra honors MLK’s dream and celebrates the legacy of this great man with a special concert on his birthday, led by Music Director Robert Spano and ASO Assistant Conductor Joseph Young, and featuring our ASO Artist-in-Residence, Morris Robinson. The evening will also feature special guest Ambassador Andrew Young. To learn more visit AtlantaSymphony.com.

MLK Celebration at the Children’s Museum of Atlanta
1/18/2016

Events include a story time, MLK music & movement with the MLK Unity Day and more. The Children’s Museum of Atlanta will host a special day of learning for children, including a special story time, open Art studio and MLK music & movement with the MLK Unity Day Parade. To learn more about Atlanta events visit Atlanta.net.

Philadelphia
Citywide Volunteer Opportunities
Date: January 18, 2016
In 2015, more than 135,000 volunteers of all ages participated in over 1,000 service projects, and this year is expected to be bigger than ever, according to VisitPhilly.com. With over 1,000 volunteer opportunities to choose from at organizations such as the Awbury Arboretum, Unitarian Society of Germantown, United Way, and more. Search for service and volunteer projects on the official MLK Day of Service page.

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Annual Free Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Concert
Date: January 18, 2016, 1:30 p.m.
Join the Philadelphia Orchestra annual celebration of MLK’s life and legacy. The concert is free but tickets are required. To learn more check out VisitPhilly.com.

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Remembering Julian Bond As A Champion of Black Enterprise

When iconic Civil Rights activist Julian Bond passed away at age 75 on Aug.15, we lost a leader, scholar, warrior, and gentleman. Also, like so many others, I lost a loyal and steadfast friend, one who believed in the potential of Black Enterprise from the very beginning and stood by my side to bring it to fruition. It is both timely and fitting that I pay tribute to my friend Julian in this, the 45th anniversary issue of black enterprise.

Bond’s legacy as a brilliant and passionate champion of social justice and civil rights is well known and established. He served as co-founder and communications director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the 1960s and was the Southern Poverty Law Center’s president from 1971 to 1979, later becoming a member of its board of directors. As founder of the SPLC, he also spent a decade as chairman of the NAACP. It was during his tenure as NAACP chair that I was recognized with the civil rights organization’s highest honor, the Spingarn Medal, in 1999.

Bond served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1967 until 1975, after making headlines when he went  to the U.S. Supreme Court to force state representatives to allow him to take the office he’d been elected to. He would go on to serve in the Georgia Senate from 1975 to 1986, writing more than 60 bills that were ratified into law. A leader in education as well, he was a professor of history at the University of Virginia and an scholar in residence at American University.

Against that backdrop of activism and achievement, it could be easy to forget that Bond was also a consummate journalist with a keen understanding of the importance of black-owned media as a voice of empowerment and self-determination for African Americans. At Atlanta’s Morehouse College he helped found The Pegasus, a literary magazine, and interned at TIME magazine. In the 1990s, he was an original co-host and long-time senior commentator of the public affairs television program America’s Black Forum.

He also made his mark as a champion of Black Enterprise, serving as an original member of the magazine’s Board of Advisors at its founding in 1970. However, he did more than just show up at meetings in the executive boardroom of our New York headquarters to passively offer his opinions. Bond was also by my side in the battle for advertising revenue, accompanying me to meetings with the CEOs of companies such as Hertz Corp. to convince them to take the bold step of spending advertising dollars on the pages of a magazine for black businesspeople—a concept most could hardly fathom 45 years ago. He always made an effective, undeniable case for why being responsive to the African American consumer is key to the bottom line for corporate America, and why black-owned media is the most authentic way to do so.

In 2006, when I was inducted into The HistoryMakers African American oral history archives, during a live audience television interview in Chicago for An Evening With Earl Graves, which aired nationally on PBS, I could not have been more pleased to have Bond as my interviewer.

I am proud to have known, and to have served the cause of African American civil rights and empowerment with, Julian Bond. Like many, I have been blessed by his loyalty, support, and faith in me and in the potential of black enterprise. Even more, I am glad to have been his friend.

Earl G. Graves Sr. is the Founder and Publisher of Black Enterprise.

‘Selma’ Scores Two Oscar Nominations, Gets Snubbed in Other Major Categories

(Image: Paramount Pictures)

It’s almost that time of year again where some of the best and brightest in Hollywood gather together to celebrate the makings of the industry’s greatest films.

Thursday morning in Los Angeles, the highly-anticipated Academy Award nominations were announced, sparking several mixed reactions from moviegoers and critics alike. One of the biggest disappointments came with the nominations, or lack thereof, for one of this year’s most talked about films, Selma.

Despite a nomination for best picture and best original song, the film’s director and actors were shut out of what many people feel to be their much deserved categories. The film’s leading actor, David Oyelowo, was snubbed from a best actor nomination and director Ava DuVernay was shut out of the best director category.

With DuVernay’s omission from this year’s list, critics are pointing out that once again the awards show is shaping up to have little to no diversity. Throughout the Oscar’s 87 year history, the only female to win an award for best director is Kathryn Bigelow in 2010. If DuVernay were nominated, she would have made history as the first African American female director to be in the running for an Oscar.

With today marking what would have been Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 86th birthday, DuVernay sent out a heartfelt tweet that showed both her appreciation for the film’s two nominations and her honor for a man who’s legacy gave inspiration to the film.

SOURCE: The Washington Post

 

Oprah Announces Month-Long Celebration to Honor Civil Rights Legends

Earlier today, the Oprah Winfrey Network announced that as January approaches, there will be continual celebrations taking place in honor of civil rights legends throughout the month. With the 50th anniversary of Selma on the horizon, we must recognize and reflect on what these heroes have done for each and every one of us to be where we are today. The marches that took place from Selma to Montgomery led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. changed the future of America forever.

The monthlong celebration will include special television programming that will begin on New Year’s Day, as Tamron Hall hosts Race on The Oprah Winfrey Show with Tamron Hall, at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Other special airings will include Oprah Prime on Jan. 4, when Oprah will commemorate the life of King and talk about the importance of the Selma marches. She also sits down and talks with David Oyelowo, who plays King in the eagerly awaited Selma film. Oprah’s Master Class will air on Jan. 4 as well, where powerful “masters” recall their firsthand accounts, such as Berry Gordy Jr., Cicely Tyson, Maya Angelou, Diahann Carroll and many more.

On Sun. Jan. 18 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, the network will air the television event Oprah Winfrey Presents: Legends Who Paved The Way. The gala of events will recognize what these amazing men and women of the civil rights movement have achieved. Honorees include Ambassador Andrew Young, Berry Gordy Jr., Rev. C.T. Vivian, Diane Nash, Dick Gregory, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., Congressman John Lewis, Rev. Joseph Lowery, Juanita Jones Abernathy, Julian Bond, Marian Wright Edelman, Myrlie Evers, Quincy Jones, Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte.

In addition, the world television premier of Light Girls, the OWN original documentary, airs on Jan 19. The show looks into the untold stories of lighter-skinned women from around the world. Celebrities on Light Girls include Russell Simmons, Iyanla Vanzant, and India Arie, just to name a few. As we transition into January, let us all join in the celebrations and honoring of our brave, selfless, civil rights leaders.

View the schedule of events below (all times Eastern):

THURSDAY, JANUARY 1

9 p.m.             “Oprah: Where Are They Now? Civil Rights Special”

10 p.m.          “Race On The Oprah Winfrey Show with Tamron Hall”

SUNDAY, JANUARY 4

9 p.m.             “Oprah Prime: Celebrating Dr. King and The Selma Marches 50 Years Later”

10 p.m.           “Oprah’s Master Class: Civil Rights Special”

SUNDAY, JANUARY 18

9 p.m.             “Oprah Winfrey Presents: Legends Who Paved The Way”

MONDAY, JANUARY 19

9 p.m.              “Light Girls”

‘Black Techies’ Hosts Hackathon to Honor Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK Dream Code organizer Kyle Wanamaker addresses hackers at Tumblr headquarters (Image: Kevin Steck)

Seeking to mobilize technophiles in hacks that further Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s values, Black Techies joined forces with Tumblr to organize the MLK Dream Code Hackathon.  Beginning the morning of January 18, the 30-plus-hour coding event attracted a mixed crowd of approximately 30 programming newbies and seasoned developers, graphic and interface designers, and engineers, among others to Tumblr headquarters in the Flatiron District in New York City’s Silicon Alley.  In true collaborative spirit, organizations such as All Star Code, Blacks in Tech and Silicon Harlem showed their support for Black Techies’ first overnight event.

The brainchild of Tumblr engineer Kyle Wanamaker, Black Techies was birthed in 2011 in response to the lack of tech startup founders and techies of color at meetups. In an effort to diversify the space, specifically engineering, Wanamaker created Black Techies to create a comfortable landscape where programmers could build and learn from one another.

“If you’re in an environment where you’re the only Black programmer, it’s really tough to say, ‘Hold up! I don’t understand this,’ because you don’t want to be seen as incompetent,” said Wanamaker to BlackEnterprise.com. “I wanted there to be a safe place for people to learn, for people to admit sort of what they don’t know, and to build a community of learning and mentorship and entrepreneurship so that hopefully in the next 10-15 years, we can create wealth through startups and have an intellectual vision that’s going to come through technology.”

Wanamaker’s vision was evident during the weekend event, where seven teams hacked it out in the name of social good.

Web developer Georgianna Pinto and team members created Our Black Box, a site that would visualize statistics like graduation rates, the wealth gap, and other data involving the African-American demographic via an interactive map. The sextet envisioned an online portal that housed this data so that solutions can be made. As Pinto phrased it, the platform would highlight the small marches in your community that you can participate in.

Forest Whitaker as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?

He once played a role of an evil man in the film, The Last King of Scotland, while portraying Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. This was an Oscar-winning role for Forest Whitaker. Now, he may be set to portray another world-known figure, but this time, a man of peace in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

According to a report in The Guardian, actor Forest Whitaker is currently in talks to play the iconic civil rights leader in a film, titled Memphis. It will focus on the final days of King’s life.

British director, Paul Greengras, who shot United 93, which focused on the 9/11 tragedy, will purportedly film Memphis in a similar docu-drama style. This movie project is different from the one the King family have in the works.

Greengrass’s film will also shadow the FBI agents who wiretapped King over suspected communist sympathies at the time of his death.

Another film, which will try to tackle the King assassination, Orders to Kill, is also reported to be in the works and is a conspiracy theory drama with Hugh Jackman as lawyer Barry Pepper and Lee Daniels is directing that project.

Cornel West Disappointed in President Obama’s Use of MLK’s Bible

cornel west posingCornel West sat on a panel, titled Poverty in America, at George Washington University in Washington D.C. last week, and readily expressed his upset and disappointment that President Obama would be sworn in during the 57th Inauguration using Martin Luther King Jr.’s bible. Mr. West was clear in stating that using Dr. King Jr.’s bible brought in “political calculation,” and “made his blood boil.”

“I got upset because you don’t play with Martin Luther King Jr. and you don’t play with his people,” said West. “By his people I mean, people of good conscious, fundamentally committed to peace and truth and justice, and especially the Black tradition that produced it.”

Known for his activism in racial, religious and political issues, the current Princeton professor feels that the use of the late Dr. King’s bible diminishes everything King stood for and shows a blatant disrespect for his work. According to Cornel West, “using Martin’s bible is personal to me … it’s a tradition that is connected to my grandmother’s prayers and my mother’s tears and my father’s smile.”