In the weeks following George Floyd’s death, and the subsequent protests, my e-mail has been overwhelmed with black-focused products and services that we should be reading/watching/buying.
This is not a complaint, mind you, though it is a bit overwhelming. It is amazing how quickly American business has been able to pivot to a Black Lives Matter theme. It’s similar to how 90% of the TV ads seem to have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The cynical among us might have asked, “Where were these resources back in April?”
Many businesses across the country experienced theft and damage during the aftermath of the earlier protests. But despite another significant setback after months of financial strain due to coronavirus, some are siding with the protesters voicing outrage over police brutality, choosing to use the moment to help amplify the message of the Black Lives Matter movement.
BTW, if you’re unfamiliar with Juneteenth: a quick summary: “June 19, 1865, marks the date that Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, TX, and announced the end of both the Civil War and slavery.” Now that a certain party has deigned to co-opt it, before bumping his rally to a day later, I find the need to mention it.
Here are just a handful of black-focused resources, beyond ones I’ve already mentioned. You are welcome to add your links in the comments.
Black Lives Matter: Anti-Racism Resources Streaming for Free. “In light of the nationwide outpouring of support for the Black Lives Matter movement, movies like Just Mercy and I Am Not Your Negro are available to stream.”
Mea culpa abound
Name changes: Lady Antebellum became Lady A, stepping on the trademark of an existing black singer. The pancake syrup maker Aunt Jemina is changing its name, apparently confounding people I know IRL who are oblivious to its racist history.
Racism is a public health crisis in Boston. Mayor Martin Walsh will seek to transfer 20% of police overtime budget to social services.
Alexis Ohanian says he left Reddit board to help make a “real positive change.” He recognized his privilege with help from wife Serena Williams. “Reddit made good on its promise to hire a black board member, appointing Y Combinator CEO Michael Seibel.”
Google commits $175 million to racial equity with focus on black-owned businesses; Plus announces plans to improve representation and support within the company.
From 23andme: “As a leader who really cares, I feel the responsibility to not just talk about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, but to make meaningful changes and contributions through my own actions and how we operate at 23andMe. Our management team, Board and employee base must have greater diversity. I am ashamed to say I do not have a single black employee who is at Director level or above. Our product is euro-centric but must expand to be inclusive and equitable. We absolutely have the potential to be better. Despite our efforts, I have to honestly say that we are also part of the problem.
“I’m holding myself accountable. I’m holding 23andMe accountable. And I’m asking that our customers hold us accountable. This will include making sure that we change our hiring practices, that we make sure we give greater promotional opportunities within the company, that we dedicate resources to evolve our product to better represent all communities, and that my management team and Board have more inclusive. representation.”
Of course, some of these apologies have fallen on deaf ears. When Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman admitted, “I didn’t do enough’ when it came to diversity,” folks are saying, “Duh – we told you that at the time.”