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You Can't Solve if You Can't See (#BLM)

As recently as one month ago, it seemed that no event could define the story of our time more than COVID-19. And yet, the global lockdown was eclipsed by the murder of George Floyd and the quick acceleration of the Black Lives Matter movement, which opened the world's eyes to longstanding, under-acknowledged systemic racial injustice. It's become the biggest story in the most world-changing news year in modern history.
This collective outrage led me to do a great deal of soul-searching in the last few weeks. That it took such a jarring, cruel display of police brutality and the subsequent outpouring of frustration and anger to shine a wider light on the issue is unacceptable for me personally, and for others who have the ability to make a difference in our companies and communities. I commit to doing better, learning more, and acting beyond the urgency of this moment. 
We created Media Genius to zero in on the zeitgeist of media — a focus that has largely been tech-oriented. We must now look at media, our systems, and platforms, through a critical, more introspective lens. Candidly, we haven't done enough of that. There is no shortage of media stimulus to draw on, from empirical studies on systemic disadvantage, to online discussions with leading authors such as
Dr. Eddie S. Glaude Jr. and Robin DiAngelo, to advocacy campaigns galvanizing people to make a difference. Below is a non-exhaustive collection of sources that my colleagues and I have been exploring and talking about.

Read: As many Americans have sought to better educate themselves on the societal and historical issues at hand, Black authors have surged to the top of the latest New York Times’ bestseller list, marking the first time the top 10 entries on the “combined print and ebook non-fiction list” are primarily books that focus on race issues in the US. Titles include Ibram X. Kendi's “How to Be an Antiracist,” Robin DiAngelo's “White Fragility,” and Ijeoma Oluo's “So You Want to Talk About Race.” Other books to check out include Beverly Daniel Tatum's "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria," Bryan Stevenson's "Just Mercy," Austin Channing Brown's "I'm Still Here," and so many more. Support Black-owned bookstores when ordering any of these titles.
Listen: Podcasts about race are also topping the
charts. Check out NPR's "Code Switch," The New York Times' "1619," Reni Eddo-Lodge's "About Race," Bethaney Wilkinson's "The Diversity Gap," AAPF and Kimberle Crenshaw's "Intersectionality Matters," DeRay Mckesson's "Pod Save the People," TED Radio Hour's "Confronting Racism" and John Biewen's "Seeing White" for a start. 

Watch: There are some incredibly eye-opening films and documentaries about race, many of which platforms like Netflix have started
curating for easy discovery. A few include Ava DuVernay's "13th" and "When They See Us," Samuel D. Pollard's "Slavery By Another Name," Raoul Peck's "I Am Not Your Negro," Justin Simien's "Dear White People," and Peter Kunhardt's "King in the Wilderness."

Follow: The people and organizations that have long been leading the fight for racial equality are constantly sharing important news and updates. On Instagram, follow @Rachel.cargle, @reclaimtheblock, @iamrachelricketts, @thegreatunlearn, @teachandtransform, @britthawthorne, and @tiffanymjewell. On Twitter, check out @EqualityLabs, @AntiracismCtr, @ColorOfChange, @consciouskidlib, @eji_org, and @NAACP.

Go Deeper: The open-sourced Google docs and curated lists circulating are some of the greatest examples of collective learning to ever exist. For countless more resources, dig into Dr. Nicole A. Cooke's Anti-Racism Resources
project, this Open Source Anti-Racist Lesson Plans & Resources for Educators, this amazing Black Lives Matter PDF, this list of resources for white people, this allyship starter pack, this thread of Black-owned businesses, this anti-racist packet, this Black history library, and this collection of petitions and donations. 

These resources carry the necessary depth to better understand an issue as complex and entrenched as race relations. I've said that "
you can't solve if you can't see." Now is the time to acknowledge where we've been blind. To really listen and learn about what people of color and specifically the Black community have been experiencing. To turn these learnings and unlearnings into actions. To address systemic injustice by doing more than just talking about it. I'm committed. 

Chris Perry


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What We're Reading
How Black Lives Matter Reached Every Corner of America
By Audra D. S. Burch, Weiyi Cai, Gabriel Gianordoli, Morrigan McCarthy and Jugal K. Patel, The New York Times

George Floyd's death has unleashed one of the most explosive trials of American racism in modern times. Within 24 hours of his killing on May 25 in Minneapolis, demonstrations were organized in at least 5 US cities. In the weeks that followed, hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in more than 2,000 cities and towns across the US, with turnouts that ranged from dozens to tens of thousands. 

Modern Content Canvas
BLM Activists Devised a Brilliant Way to Raise Money From YouTube’s AdSense
By Tre Vayne
, OneZero

A new form of clicktivism dubbed "Views for a Vision" is being pioneered on YouTube. Creators upload videos, usually of Black artists and musicians, and donate any AdSense revenue they generate to causes supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. The project is legitimizing and monetizing passive protesting by allowing people to participate without spending any money or leaving their homes (just remember to turn your ad blockers off and let it play on loop in the background). 

Modern Content Canvas
TikTok Serves as Hub for #blacklivesmatter Activism
By Rachel Janfaza, CNN

TikTok users of color and their allies are using the #blacklivesmatter hashtag on the app for social advocacy, providing tips on how to protest safely, sharing educational resources, and speaking out on racial injustice. The hashtag is trending on TikTok, with more than 4.9 billion views, as waves of protests sweep the nation in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

Modern Content Canvas
How Fair is Zoom Justice?
By Lauren Kirchner, The Markup

Court hearings are going virtual in response to COVID-19, and last month a court in Texas held the country’s first wholly online jury trial. Court administrators are saying the video system saves a significant amount of time and money, leading some to believe they may never go back to doing everything in person. But studies show virtual hearings might lead to harsher outcomes for defendants.

There’s No Going Back to ‘Normal’
By Ekemini Uwan
, The Atlantic

George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s final breaths fanned the flames of the Black Lives Matter movement. Protesters nationwide and around the globe are risking their lives to demand an end to police violence. In this movement, parts of society are beginning to look more to the future and less to reclaiming an old way of life. The only way to move forward is to grieve the life we once knew and to shift our mindsets to radical acceptance of our present reality in order to create a new normal that is better than our pre-pandemic life.

Data Ethics
Black U.S. Adults Follow Many COVID-19 News Topics More Closely, Discuss the Outbreak More Frequently
By Amy Mitchell and Mark Jurkowitz, Pew Research

Black Americans, a group that has been hit disproportionately hard by the coronavirus outbreak, have been paying closer attention to many elements of the outbreak – and discussing it more frequently with other people – than other U.S. adults, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted before nationwide protests began over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Media Intelligence
Protest Misinformation is Riding on the Success of Pandemic Hoaxes
By Joan Donovan
, MIT Technology Review

On the digital streets, a battle over the narrative of protest is playing out in separate worlds, where truth and disinformation run parallel. In one version, tens of thousands of protesters are marching to force accountability on the US justice system, shining a light on policing policies that protect white lives and property above anything else — and are being met with the same brutality and indifference they are protesting against. In the other, an alternative narrative contends that anti-fascist protesters are traveling by bus and plane to remote cities and towns to wreak havoc.

Emerging Technology
From a Durag Festival to Virtual Celebrations, Here's a List of Events Commemorating Juneteenth
By Tomas Kassahun
, Blavity
It's been 155 years since slavery ended in the United States. The annual celebration — which commemorates the date two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed when enslaved people in Texas were finally freed — is known as Juneteenth.

Some of the events will be held online because of the coronavirus, and some celebrations will look to build on the momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement protests. From walks to musical battles to online festivals, here are some of the Juneteenth events happening around the country this week. 
Deep Take
Voicing Erasure
By Algorithmic Justice League
Automated speech recognition (ASR) systems, which use sophisticated machine-learning algorithms to convert spoken language to text, have become increasingly widespread, powering popular virtual assistants, facilitating automated closed captioning, and enabling digital dictation platforms for health care. There is concern, however, that these tools do not work equally well for all subgroups of the population. This concern and new research led by Allison Koenecke inspired the Algorithmic Justice League to create “Voicing Erasure,” a project by champions of women’s empowerment and leading scholars on race, gender, and technology.
Copyright © 2020 Weber Shandwick

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